Substitute for Cherry?
Michael Dresdner, Ellis Walentine & Lee Grindinger
Q. I am about to start a project building a cherry bed. Obviously, the plan calls to use cherry for this, but cherry is quite expensive. Is there an alternative hardwood (less expensive) I could use and stain to emulate cherry? I am thinking about using yellow poplar.
Michael Dresdner: "You're in luck. Red Alder is substantially cheaper, cuts and sands easily, and has very similar grain and appearance to cherry. Under the right stain and finish, you could easily fool someone into thinking they were looking at cherry."
Ellis Walentine: "Maple and birch are the most common substitutes. Their grain patterns aren't quite the same, but with a dye stain, they can look a lot like cherry, at least at first glance. Cherry's color, of course, goes all the way through the wood, so you won't expose white wood if you chip an edge accidentally. Cherry also darkens with age and acquires a lovely reddish brown color that is tough to copy with stains."
Lee Grindinger: "Alder is frequently used to mimic cherry. In some circles, it's called "corporate cherry" because so much of the "cherry" in offices is actually alder. Soft maple can be used and poplar as well. This will put your skills as a finisher to the test, though. Only cherry really looks like cherry."
This article originally appeared in the Woodworker's Journal eZine.
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