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Thread: Need help on selecting wood and stain combo - bedroom set

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Western, NY
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    Need help on selecting wood and stain combo - bedroom set

    Hi All, I am slowly graduating into more complex furniture projects. Most of my previous ones have been paint-grade small tables, or outdoor furniture that I wasn't as fussy about the wood/stain design on. My upcoming project is to build a bedroom furniture set. Kind Bed, 2 night stands, two chest of drawers. First up is the bed. I have some preliminary designs mocked up for the bed, which has 6x6 square posts and some basic panels to finish out the headboard and footboard. I have attached a picture of an example for what the bed might look like. Not the exact design, nor the exact color (she wants it a touch more gray than this), but something as a reference at this point.

    Where I need some help is selection of the type of wood that will look good stained or dyed a medium gray. I would like something that I can buy matching plywood to help build the panels and other furniture, but won't clash with the hardwood lumber used throughout the build. My wife is requesting the gray color, and I believe that she prefers cleaner grains as opposed to something highly figured. I think the color is more important that the grain configuration though. So I am looking for a wood species that takes stain or dye reasonably well, would look good in a gray finish, and has a complimentary plywood or veneer available. I have hardwood lumber shops locally that offer a pretty wide variety, and was hoping to pick a few cutoffs from them tomorrow, and a few different stain options to mix and match what might look good together.

    I'd also appreciate any insight or suggestions on types of finish that folks have had good success with relative to gray. Should I look at a gel stain, oil stain, dye?

    Looking forward to any help you might be able to offer. Thanks!

    Bedroom Set Picture.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Western, NY
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    I probably should be specific on the wood that I can get in both plywood form and boards.

    Hickory
    Cherry
    Birch
    Maple
    Red Oak (plain and quarter sawn boards, rotary cut plywood available)
    White Oak (plain and quarter sawn boards, plain and quarter sawn plywood available)
    Sapele
    Walnut

  3. #3
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    Sep 2013
    Location
    Carrollton, Georgia
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    Tony, if your plan is to cover the wood grain with a solid stain or paint you could use an inexpensive grade of wood. Check out something like, say, poplar or soft maple. If you want a heavier, harder wood, ash is fairly inexpensive, as is red oak. The texture of the grain would show through with ash and oak. You could, likely, even mix species.

    ..Should be a fun, educational project. Take pleasure in the execution.

  4. #4
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    Feb 2015
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    Western, NY
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    Hi Yonak, thanks for the reply. I might do a test piece with a solid stain or a paint so my wife can see if there is enough grain and wood look. However, I am fairly sure she doesn't want painted, she wants more of a transparent gray stain and to see the wood underneath of it.

  5. #5
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    Location
    Rochester, MN
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    If you are going for a stain so the grain of the wood is visible, you'll want to choose a species that tends to be more neutral in color. Cherry, for example, will tend to darken and get redder with age and exposure to light. A gray on cherry certainly won't stay gray and will likely get very muddy looking. Red oak varies a lot in color but tends to be more pink. White oak is often somewhat gray already so that might be a good choice. Ash could also be a good choice. Walnut could be bleached to match the sapwood and then stained gray. Get samples of the ones you think you'd use and stain them all.

  6. #6
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    Mar 2003
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
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    I'd start with red oak, and stain it grey. Or stain it grey, and then wipe it with lighter-colored glaze. This is sometimes called whitewash. The idea is that the large, open, pores of the red oak retain more pigment than the rest of the wood, so the whole process colors the wood and emphasizes the grain patterns.

  7. #7
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    Feb 2015
    Location
    Western, NY
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    Ok thanks so much for the suggestions so far. I bought some different stains, and applied a coat onto some ash and white oak. The stains were General Finishes gel stain in Grey, and Sherwin Williams Oil based stain in Rustic Grey. They are drying right now but at first glance they have way more blue in them than I first thought they would.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    SE Michigan
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    You might try a driftwood stain color. I’ve used it on pine and it has a nice soft grey color. I’m not suggestion you use pine on your project, just another stain color to try.
    Last edited by Phil Mueller; 03-12-2018 at 2:29 AM.

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