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Thread: PLEASE Show me your CABINETS! (Espec. stained/dyed Maple, Walnut, Hickory, Tigerwood)

  1. #1

    PLEASE Show me your CABINETS! (Espec. stained/dyed Maple, Walnut, Hickory, Tigerwood)

    I'm redoing my kitchen cabs and still in planning & gathering stages... getting saws & tools together, etc. I've only done a bunch of faceframes and a vertical base cubby cab in maple but the design will be a large overlay which will hide much of the faceframes, so can change species now before I go further.

    I've accrued less than 100BF of hard maple, a few sheets of Baltic birch & Mahogany, <10BF of Tigerwood, some sample size stains and a few bottles of TransTints. I also have a bunch of veneer, much of it figured (curly maple, sapele, anegre, beech, cerejeira, etc), and 1 or 2 curly maple boards. The Tigerwood I fell in love with its orangey color with dark, nearly-black, random streaks, but the supply is dwindling and color matching is tough to get all boards the same.

    The door design is shaker style with a center divider stile, so the panels can be different species as long as they look similar to the rails & stiles (or dye everything.) The layout has two pantries so they will be the focal point entering the kitchen. The panels can be flashier on these two cabs, yet the panel area will only be about 4.5" wide. One thought was using curly maple or curly sapele...if sapele, I'd dye the maple to match the sapele panels.

    I thought of using maple and dying it to get some color besides blonde--maybe a pecan or gunstock color. Then I thought about it and wondered maybe instead of dying maple, is it better or easier to just start with a colored wood? I think I can get walnut for about the same cost as hard maple, but it's air-dried Black Walnut from a very old tree (200+ yrs) and barn rafter drying (stickered) for 7+ years. I am only considering it if I get a great price or will save me work RE: finishing everything.

    Did anybody leave the lighter sapwood natural or does everybody try to dye it to match the heartwood?

    A wildcard is Hickory. It's pretty cheap and I like its mish-mash of colors, but worry I'd get something boring or oak-like without much color or character. I do love mixed colors on boards.

    Maybe if some members here can post pics of these species in use in their kitchens it may help me decide. I have ruled out painted cabinets and would like to stay with natural or stained/dyed cabinets. If this would better fit a different sub-forum, please move if necessary. If you did your cabinets in Maple, Walnut, Hickory, Tigerwood...even Sapele, please feel free to post some pics, links, details or advice--it is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Tomball, TX (30 miles NNW Houston)
    Posts
    2,721
    Here's a finishing job I did with satinwood and walnut. And another job before and after with maple cabinets. These are examples of what can be done. The walnut was 30%sapwood. Maple cabinets cost more to finish than it would have cost to use walnut in the first place. Customer thought she would save money by having them built with a cheaper wood.

    I did not use any pigment stains; only dye and finish. It will be much easier to use walnut than to make maple or birch look like walnut. I did not build any of the items shown.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Scott

    Finishing is an 'Art & a Science'. Actually, it is a process. You must understand the properties and tendencies of the finish you are using. You must know the proper steps and techniques, then you must execute them properly.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Holmes View Post
    Maple cabinets cost more to finish than it would have cost to use walnut in the first place. Customer thought she would save money by having them built with a cheaper wood.
    That is such a good point right there. I guess if you want a lighter finish, then fine. But if you want something to look like walnut, use walnut.

  4. #4
    Thanks guys!

    Scott, great work on those jobs. Did someone tell you what they wanted to end up with and you made suggestions, or did they give you everything and you just applied it?

    I only would go with walnut if the price of the lumber is comparable to other woods--the seller has lowered the price to around $3/BF for 15" wide 4/4 boards 8-10ft long. I'm still waiting to get some pics from him.

    I originally was thinking to match the color of a bedroom set I got second hand about 10 years ago, it has a lot of bookmatched veneer on it, but the color is appealing to me:

    DSC_0405.jpg

    I'm not positive but I think it's pecan.

    I've never used TransTint but a week or so ago, Rockler had a special--$20 off a $50 order plus free shipping--so I bought Dark Vintage Maple, Brown Mahogany, and Honey Amber. Depending on if you use Rockler's color chart,
    21610-01.jpg

    or the colors from the homesteadfinishingproducts page, http://www.homesteadfinishingproduct.../TransTint.htm, the Dark Vintage Maple or the Golden Brown look close. I believe these colors shown are over a curly maple, so may be pretty accurate.

    If I get a better price on the walnut, I'd like to know if people here tone the sapwood to match the heartwood, or if they maybe cut off the sapwood, or just use heartwood boards... I'd like to see some natural jobs, if any, where the sapwood isn't dyed. I've also read that walnut lightens with age and curious to know how aging affects dyed walnut.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Tomball, TX (30 miles NNW Houston)
    Posts
    2,721
    Customer had a 3" thick, solid walnut, breakfast bar on the opposite side of the room and wanted the cabinets to match. She said the finishing cost more than the cabinets
    Scott

    Finishing is an 'Art & a Science'. Actually, it is a process. You must understand the properties and tendencies of the finish you are using. You must know the proper steps and techniques, then you must execute them properly.

  6. #6
    I'm in a similar spot but in regards to tooling--I built an entertainment center when I was a kid/early teens, then never pursued woodworking and went to college for automotive technology... then did hi-perf engine building and classic car restoration & parts. I painted my own cars, that's my limit on spraying.

    Now, after almost 2 years of looking for cabinets, especially RTA cabs, cross referencing, spreadsheets calculating specific brand costs & differences, etc, I couldn't find some that would have certain features I wanted so I'd have to have some custom made, or I could make them myself. If I have to make SOME of the cabinets or add-ons, why not do everything? So the materials may be just a fraction of the cost of the tooling--table saw & blades, routers, router table, bits, workbenches, planer, jointer, jigs, compressor/guns, etc.

    When finished, I can probably recoup a considerable amount on the tools if I go in yet another direction in my life... or maybe woodworking will be my "new" hobby.

  7. #7
    I'm not sure how much more work dyeing is on cabinetry. I think it's more work to grain match and isolate sapwood by picking wood that is necessary when you do not color.

    Further, you will greatly speed your finishing (top coating) buy investing in a basic HVLP sprayer. If you do that, then the marginal effort of spraying a couple dye coats is very small. The dye itself is very cheap, and when sprayed, it affords so much control, you'll realize it's quite easy.

    Dimensional walnut can be very tricky to deal with; the grain is more pronounced and the colors vary substantially more than maple. You may not want that on a large expanse of cabinetry. To avoid that, you may end up with a lot of waste, which will increase your overall cost.

  8. #8
    Thanks for your reply, Prashun.

    When you refer to a "basic" HVLP, do you mean like a Wagner or Rockler $100-$150 corrugated hose type, or a $299-$350 type? All I have now is a Ridgid twin tank Tri-Stack, it's best as a nailer and puts out around 5.6cfm@40psi. I have a LVLP gravity gun I haven't used yet, I think it has a 1.4mm tip.

    My biggest concern with the wide walnut boards is that the majority are flat-sawn, and I fear ripping them from 15" into 3"-3-1/2" boards may leave me with a bunch of warped walnut boards, even though they are air-dried for over 7 years. There are a lot of narrow boards available that are straighter grain than the wide boards too.

    Anybody think I should worry about ripping the flat-sawn wide boards to narrow size, and what would be a good BF price for this walnut?

    widewalnut.jpgwalnutflitches.jpg
    Last edited by Mark Kay; 02-12-2014 at 12:08 PM.

  9. #9
    Matt-
    If you are using walnut, don't color. It will darken so much under any kind of liquid, you will have a hard time hitting a target.

    Maple is not that hard to color. Here's a maple entertainment unit I had to tweak because it was too small. The center of this media console (the case with the doors) was Ethan Allen. I made the two low book cases and the top of the console (the two higher side cabinets are also originals).

    I got a variety of dyes from WD Lockwood; they have powdered dyes that IMHO are better when trying to match because there are so many variants, you can get several in the same family, make your own concentrates and then blend as necessary.

    It's not that hard if you are willing to experiment.

    I have a $100 spray unit from Rockler. I keep wanting to buy a more expensive unit, but this one does a fine job of spraying basic finishes.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
    What would a good price be for air-dried old 4/4 walnut and would flat-sawn warp if I rip it down to narrower widths? This may be the deciding factor on which species I use. I already have some hard maple and lots of figured veneer--virtually everything EXCEPT walnut! I just got some Karelian Burl Birch and some birdseye maple that I can use if I stay with maple. It might be a sin to tint or dye curly or birdseye maple, or, even worse, the Karelian birch. I have never worked with walnut and generally try to stay away from woods with easily recognized heartwood-sapwood demarcations (walnut, cherry, etc.)

    Is that curly maple you used on the tabletop and extensions? That looks nice, did it have a name for that Ethan Allen color you had to match? When Rockler had that big sale a couple weeks ago, I placed 5 separate orders of various items over the weekend to get a total of $100 off--I bought TransTint Honey Amber, Brown Mahogany and Dark Vintage Maple. I wasn't sure if I should have bought the TransTint or the powdered TransFast, but with something like 20-25% off the TT, plus $20 off a $50 order, as well as FREE shipping, I went with the TT. There's black powder on ebay, I wasn't sure what I'd use it for--maybe to make curly maple really pop or bring out its chatoyancy by applying and sanding off the excess? is that how it works?
    Last edited by Mark Kay; 02-12-2014 at 5:58 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    281
    I pay around $3.75-4 for walnut from my local sawmill guys. About 5.50 from the more commercial reseller place.

  12. #12
    Can somebody tell me why I cannot access any pics? I used to the last time I was here (a long time ago.) I get the error popup with a link to click if you can't see pics but it doesn't do anything. Help please. Thanks.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kay View Post
    Can somebody tell me why I cannot access any pics? I used to the last time I was here (a long time ago.) I get the error popup with a link to click if you can't see pics but it doesn't do anything. Help please. Thanks.
    If you are viewing on an mobile, you need to switch your view to "full" (computer mode) in order to see photos. Otherwise you should see them because you are a contributor.

    Jim
    Forum Moderator

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