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Contrasting Wood For White Oak

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Forum topic by bilyo posted 06-01-2019 07:38 PM 810 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bilyo

1167 posts in 1985 days


06-01-2019 07:38 PM

I am building a desk out of white oak. I plan to put in some contrasting decorative pieces and could use some suggestions. I have some paduak and the reddish brown color is great. However, I understand that after a while it loses its redishness and turns a dark brown. I have never seen the color in its final state. The desk is for my daughter and, I think she is going to want the oak stained a light to med brown, but I may try to talk her into leaving it the color you get with a natural danish oil and a clear film finish. So, I’m wondering if the paduak is a good choice. I also have some air dried walnut that I think will provide good contrast. I also have some cherry which might look good. Which would you choose?


18 replies so far

View Kirk650's profile

Kirk650

680 posts in 1631 days


#1 posted 06-01-2019 07:53 PM

My workbench is Ash, trimmed in Walnut. Looks nice.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5872 posts in 3234 days


#2 posted 06-01-2019 09:00 PM

Either walnut or cherry goes well with white oak. The cherry won’t show much contrast initially, but it slowly will darken to nice red brown over the course of a year.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View BobAnderton's profile

BobAnderton

311 posts in 3673 days


#3 posted 06-01-2019 09:57 PM

I made these walnut pulls for a white oak dresser I picked up off the curb. Every glued joint in it was coming apart and the finish was wrecked. I disassembled/sanded/glued up/made new upper drawers for it. I think the contrast of the walnut pulls works. It’s not easy for me to get my wife to let me keep some big piece of furniture I drag home off the curb but she made an exception in this case.

-- Bob Anderton - Austin, TX - Nova 3000 lathe, Alaskan Mark III mill, Husqavarna Saw

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bilyo

1167 posts in 1985 days


#4 posted 06-01-2019 10:21 PM

Bob, That looks great. Good job. I’ve had a couple of finds like that over the years. Very satisfying.
I’m about convinced that the walnut will be a better choice. But does anyone have an example of what paduak looks like after it loses its reddish color?

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SMP

2664 posts in 788 days


#5 posted 06-01-2019 10:41 PM

Walnut, or ebonize some of the oak.

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

1167 posts in 1985 days


#6 posted 06-02-2019 12:34 AM



Walnut, or ebonize some of the oak.

- SMP


I thought about that, but some of the contrast work I’m thinking of doing will be some inlay that will need to be planed and sanded flush. So, I think, I need to use a naturally contrasting wood. Thanks.

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SMP

2664 posts in 788 days


#7 posted 06-02-2019 02:16 AM


Walnut, or ebonize some of the oak.

- SMP

I thought about that, but some of the contrast work I m thinking of doing will be some inlay that will need to be planed and sanded flush. So, I think, I need to use a naturally contrasting wood. Thanks.

- bilyo

Well you could fume some of the oak as another option, especially if smaller pieces, easy peesy. I have fumed 3/4 oak and it pretty much goes all the way through.

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bilyo

1167 posts in 1985 days


#8 posted 06-02-2019 02:45 AM

Hmm. I just may try that. Never done it. How dark can you get it?

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

3414 posts in 2681 days


#9 posted 06-02-2019 03:15 AM

Fumed oak is kinda ugly to my eyes . I could not get consist results and the wood was all from the same tree. I can’t imagine how wonky it would look with different boards from many lots.
I think white oak stands alone just fine natural.
Spend time arranging the boards. For instance riftsawn legs and harmony in the flow of the grain on top.
The only other color I would add is black handle hard ware.
Good Luck

-- Aj

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

1167 posts in 1985 days


#10 posted 06-02-2019 03:25 AM



Fumed oak is kinda ugly to my eyes . I could not get consist results and the wood was all from the same tree. I can’t imagine how wonky it would look with different boards from many lots.
I think white oak stands alone just fine natural.
Spend time arranging the boards. For instance riftsawn legs and harmony in the flow of the grain on top.
The only other color I would add is black handle hard ware.
Good Luck

- Aj2


I’m only considering fuming the wood I will use for inlays, stringing, etc.
Thanks for your comments. I agree. There can be a lot of varibility, but I’ve never tried fuming.

View SMP's profile

SMP

2664 posts in 788 days


#11 posted 06-02-2019 05:00 AM


Hmm. I just may try that. Never done it. How dark can you get it?

- bilyo

Well, it depends on strength of ammonia and time. The real weak stuff at big box stores can take days. The janitorial strength like at Ace hardware can take 12-24 hours but can get pretty dark.

As mentioned, only fumed can be kind of a weird greenish brown but a slight sanding and some topcoat makes it look great. And it really adds character if doing any kind of shellac or dye. So for example you mentioned staining the whole piece or even just a danish oil , the fumed will really stand out.

I did similar experiments as this guy, but didn’t really take pics. I just randomly google searched photos and this came up, i had similare results
https://mcglynnonmaking.com/2014/03/24/fumed-oak-experiment/amp/

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

4049 posts in 2105 days


#12 posted 06-02-2019 02:39 PM

Paduak is notorious for bleeding color over to neighboring woods when finishing unless care is taken. Do an image search, plenty of examples of color changes.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

6454 posts in 1457 days


#13 posted 06-02-2019 03:55 PM

2 of my favorite articles about the treatment of Oak were done by Bob Lang. One was by the Schwarz.

First is a look at fumed Oak

But the better piece is where he tells you that a simpler stained treatment looks as good as, and I think much better than fumed.

If it was good enough for Stickley, The Schwarz liked it too.

Just the opposing view point.

As far as contrast, darker I like Walnut, you can do Cherry too, just know on the first days that Cherry will be quite pale, unless you color it. I also like WHITE Maple, and even some Ash if I want to keep the open grain thing going, they end up going slightly different paths.

I also steer clear of colorful imports with Oak. Oak is a working Mans wood, imports are to glitzy for my homespun color palette.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

2619 posts in 3521 days


#14 posted 06-03-2019 01:34 AM

If you sun the cherry, it will go dark fairly quickly.

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

View SMP's profile

SMP

2664 posts in 788 days


#15 posted 06-03-2019 02:51 AM


If you sun the cherry, it will go dark fairly quickly.

- Ocelot

Yes, BLO and a full day of bright sun works well, i tried most of the things in here, and found that easiest/best/safest:
https://www.popularwoodworking.com/techniques/adding_age_to_cherry/

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