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Thread: alternative to quartersawn walnut

  1. #1
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    alternative to quartersawn walnut

    My wife has been choosing materials for our new kitchen and all the cabinets she likes are quartersawn walnut.

    Does anyone have a good alternative at a somewhat reasonable price or a, great supplier of reasonably priced quartersawn walnut (I can dream!)

    The other option is veneer rather than solid, but I'm leery of this for slab doors. Am I wrong to be?

  2. #2
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    Quality built veneered substrate panel doors are not anathema in the kitchen cabinetry world. Given many kitchen environments they may even be preferred IMHO.

    I think many of us may dig out those old "secondary woods" and "cheaper impersonators" articles in the woodworking magazines. I moaned and groaned having to move my lumber stash twice in the last few years; why did I buy so much!?! I'm grinning like the Cheshire Cat now.

    I love being able to see into the material and rarely use colorants on my pieces. In a kitchen however, the finish / color can be a bit heavy and fit right in. It may be that you can get the "look" you are after through stains/colorants while giving up the depth of appearance in the QS walnut. Is it the figure she is attracted to or the general look? Consider that angle and discuss the value of a slightly lesser look versus thousands of dollars.

    Will it really matter in 6 months or 6 years? I love walnut and would never try to talk anyone out of what they want. However, in today's price climate we need to be realistic. If this is something she really wants, go for it. If it is open to discussion I would keep looking. People tend to accent the red in sapele but, when allowed to turn to its warm brown state it has a similar look to what I think you are looking at.

    sapele kitchen.jpg
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 05-10-2021 at 11:12 AM.
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  3. #3
    She’s got good taste! QS walnut is sexy and is very popular for good reason.

    Veneer could be a better choice depending on what you are actually doing and will be easier to source in QS state. With rough lumber, you typically need to select specific boards by inspecting the end grain and then rip the QS sections from it, which obviously has a potentially higher waste factor than normal. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen rough Walnut lumber that was specifically sawn and marketed as quartersawn. Rift sawn will also work if it’s the straight grain you’re after.

    What is it in terms of walnut and wood that you’re doing? Cabinets, passage doors, trim/millwork?

    Sapele is not a close color / tone substitute for Walnut, IMO. It’s too red. Walnut starts like chocolate and ages to more of a warmer and lighter but still rich brown. Sapele and the other African “mahogany” types have more red in them, though they do have a similar open grain to walnut.
    Last edited by Phillip Mitchell; 05-10-2021 at 11:28 AM.
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  4. #4
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    Great questions and thoughts!

    She doesn't want the reddishness of mahogany or the like. Attached is the photo she's most enamored with in terms of wood (and cabinet style for that matter). Fairly muted brown (no real red) and understated (but still present) straight grain for the cabinet doors. Could be rift sawn?

    Sides of the cabinets look plain sawn and I think that's a look that could work.

    Assuming this is walnut in the photo, I'm curious about the finish. Most of the walnut I've worked with (finished with either poly or danish oil) has turned out a darker, more chocolate, brown than this.

    94103e0613225e9350a523b425240155.jpeg

  5. #5
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    Horizon Wood sells QS or rift (mainly rift) walnut. I would veneer the panels with shop sawn.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  6. #6
    Veneered slab doors will be arguably more stable than hardwood. I have ordered slab veneered doors from Barker Doors with success.

  7. #7
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    There’s no need to source quarter sawn walnut. If you buy 8/4 or 10/4 flat sawn you get plenty of edges that are quarter and rift if the planks are wide enough.
    Even a completely flat sawn board will have quarter sawn wood in there ready for the craftsman to cut and arrange.
    A bandsaw and accurate jointer is a must.
    Keep attention to sequence of the parts is probably the most challenging and mindful. Slip match would be better looking then book match. I don’t like the light and dark parts standing out .
    Good Luck
    Aj

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Liebling View Post
    Assuming this is walnut in the photo, I'm curious about the finish. Most of the walnut I've worked with (finished with either poly or danish oil) has turned out a darker, more chocolate, brown than this.

    94103e0613225e9350a523b425240155.jpeg
    As black walnut is exposed to light it gets lighter in color with age. It can become almost light tan colored if exposed to bright sunlight every day for many years.

  9. #9
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    Butternut is called "poor man's walnut" for a reason. Grain is similar and with stain looks very good. It is a little prone to "fuzziness", so requires sharp tools.
    Jerry

    "It is better to fail in originality than succeed in imitation" - Herman Melville

  10. #10
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    Maybe you need some "espresso wood". I had a customer come to the sawmill and ask for that a few years ago.

  11. #11
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    The wood in the photo could be anything; doesn't look like walnut to me, QS or otherwise. If it's the color she likes then how about rift sawn white oak? Just gorgeous linear grain, and you can dye it any color you like. Not cheap either, but a lot cheaper than black walnut. But if it has to be walnut I would make veneered panels from shop sawn veneer. Not a lot cheaper than solid wood after you figure in the costs of the substrate and glue, not to mention all the time it takes to make them, but they will be stable and durable.

    John

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by John TenEyck View Post
    The wood in the photo could be anything; doesn't look like walnut to me, QS or otherwise. If it's the color she likes then how about rift sawn white oak? Just gorgeous linear grain, and you can dye it any color you like. Not cheap either, but a lot cheaper than black walnut. But if it has to be walnut I would make veneered panels from shop sawn veneer. Not a lot cheaper than solid wood after you figure in the costs of the substrate and glue, not to mention all the time it takes to make them, but they will be stable and durable.

    John
    I agree with this. If you dont want to pay for walnut then dye a lighter more affordable QS species. If you can find it commercially, butternut or sassafras is a lighter brown than walnut, very similar to your subject photo.

    I feel like ive read a bunch of recent headaches concerning slab doors. The take away from all of those discussions was to use an MDF core for your veneered doors.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by John TenEyck View Post
    The wood in the photo could be anything; doesn't look like walnut to me, QS or otherwise.

    John
    That was my thought too. It is hard to tell from blowing up the photo, but I think it looks more like poplar or birch that has been stained or dyed to look like walnut. There seems to be too much "white" in the grain for walnut, unless it was really badly steamed sap wood. The midcentury walnut dest behind me has lightened to the point where it is lighter than the cherry tables I built last year, and it doesn't have those light spots in the grain.

  14. #14
    Irion Lumber has qs walnut.

    https://irionlumber.com/?s=quarter

    I'm also in the camp that you may be better off with veneer.

    https://certainlywood.com/results-lo...=Submit+Veneer

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