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Thread: Sapwood? good or bad?

  1. #1
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    Sapwood? good or bad?

    ok whats your take on sapwood in cherry or walnut where the difference in coloring is significant.. if a board had sapwood on one side but not the other is it a good board in your eyes? what if it has sapwood on both sides..tell me what you think and how you use it or not use it...
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  2. #2
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    Dec 2007
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    Larry,
    Since most of my WW is turning, I like the sap wood and the contrast in colors... especially in the Cherries and Walnuts... I had a block of Brazilian Cherry that was just over a foot square and about 3 inches thick... the block was almost half/half heart wood to sap wood... I cut it into 3 blocks for pepper mill blanks... the center block was split almost down the middle where the transition from sapwood to heart wood... made a spectacular pepper mill.
    Chuck
    Tellico Plains, TN
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/TellicoTurnings
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  3. #3
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    bethel springs TN, but was born and raised in north east PA
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    Larry my self i also like the difference in color. Now if i was doing something for a paying customer, and they said to make it out of cherry or walnut. That would be a different story.Example: We did a set of white oak cabs in NM
    (1983).Solid wood boxes, and raised panel doors.Well when she saw them she had a fit.Tryied telling Jerry that he had mixed some red oak in with the white, and she would not except them.They were all natural in color so the finish brought out the different colors of the wood.

  4. #4
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    Larry, Sam Maloof used as much of it as he could get his hands on.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
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    yeah its tought to tell some folk that the two oaks are major difference in color
    where i am leading this is if you or a person and went to a wood store, whats your take on sap wood? do you use it or not and what is ok and what isnt in your opinion..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  6. #6
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    It depends on the piece. Some having a blend of color in the wood is Others not so much.
    Does that help?
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  7. #7
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    To me if I was say to make a kitchen. The styles and rails would be one or the other. I might blend the panels but it would be on a per board type of thing. If I didn't have enough boards to make all the panels with a similar blend than it would be back to straight one or the other.
    You will see the "spalted hickroy" cabinets with one style dark and one white. That to me looks terrible. To think they payed extra for this cabinet and the guy making it couldn't even match the wood up in tone.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    new york city burbs
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    sap adds charactor or flavor to a piece of furniture.

    For me, people who are worried about consistant and exact coloring in wood furniture, should just use poplar and spray paint it any color they want.
    Mother nature makes the wood in a wide variety of color and grains, and thats good enough for me. I dont have to alter what she took 40 years to make. A reason I love mixing woods on all the furniture I build. But thats me ofcourse.

  9. #9
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    What I look for in wood and finished pieces is simply what pleases my eye. I like the contrast of sapwood on a finished piece. I do try and match it up as close as possible though.

    It also depends on the project too I think. I'm starting the flag/display case for my son out of your walnut. Since the parts are only 3 1/3" wide I am trying to avoid the sapwood. However, if it was a larger Piece I would not care.

    On the other hand if I was buying a real expensive piece of wood I would probably pick the one with the least amount of sapwood.

    My explanation is probably as clear as mud.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  10. #10
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    Larry, I think it's very personal and very subjective. If you're doing paid work for a customer I'd discuss it with them first.

    But personally I think the contrast is beautiful. And I respectfully disagree with Chuck above. I think hickory is spectacular. In fact, when I redo my kitchen I want hickory, and I want the kinds of cupboards exactly the way Chuck describes as being hideous.
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
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