In color and grain, chestnut strongly resembles oak. Pinworm infestation of the heartwood results in highly-valued "wormy" chestnut with tiny holes. Due to its coarseness, chestnut does not turn as well as oak. A. Yellow poplar finished to look like black walnut, B. Yellow poplar finished to look like black cherry. As you can see, some of the look-alike woods play their role better than others. Because it's nearly impossible to make wood with one type of grain look like one with another type, select a look-alike wood with the same general grain features as the one you want to imitate. Red gum finished to look like black walnut. In most cases involving the substitution of wood, you'll have to stain or dye the look-alike wood. Nearly identical in grain and natural color, the lauan and the genuine mahogany each received a coat of Dark Wine Cherry aniline dye, a shellac coat, and a clear, spray-lacquer finish. Sighting full-grown chestnut trees in Europe is commonplace. To demonstrate what happens when you substitute one wood for another, we prepared samples of several common woods. That may require some tinting and experimentation before you get the color of the imitator exactly right. Furniture factories also commonly follow wood-substitution practices, turning to such species as alder, hackberry, soft maple, and selected imported woods for frames, legs, trim, and other secondary parts. Lookalikes/Substitutes: Horse chestnut can be confused with other European hardwood species with lightweight, diffuse-porous wood, such as European aspen (Populus tremula), European lime (Tilia x europaea), or crack willow (Salix fragilis). The white ash received a second coat to further enhance the grain. By the end of August, the hard-shelled burrs yielded nuts. A piece of chestnut lumber, however, will be lighter in weight than a comparable piece of oak lumber. No chestnut, no problem. Note the color and grain similarity of the naturally finished samples in the right side of the photographs.A. You can sand chestnut glass-smooth without difficulty, and the wood responds well to any finish. After careful selection of yellow poplar samples to match the figure and grain of black walnut and black cherry respectively, each was dyed with aniline dye. Extensive staining, sealing, glazing, and toning techniques finish these species so that they look the same as the cherry, mahogany, or walnut used on the major parts. If you plan to mix a wood and its look-alike in the same project, such as walnut and red gum, you should stain or dye both woods. However, by first sealing the red alder with shellac, then dyeing it, the result was even closer. Scrollsaw, Carving, and Decorative Projects, Air-drying lumber is more than a matter of time, A very personal experience with Lunar Lumber, How To Make A Translucent Transom with Veneer. They'll replicate a part from sassafras, abundant throughout the South, then finish the wood to match. In the U.S., the experience could be historic. Lumber from downed wood tends to be brittle, so, use fasteners and glue. If the look-alike wood is lighter in color, use two coats of color to darken it, but only one coat on the wood being imitated. With its fine grain, pinkish color, and figure features, the red alder sample came pretty close to matching black cherry when each received one coat of Dark Wine Cherry aniline dye. If you don’t absolutely have to burn it, don’t - sweet chestnut actually has more value when used for things like furniture building, cabinetry, and wood carving. More readily available than chestnut lumber, veneer sells for about $4 per square foot. Knowledgeable furniture restorers sometimes face a piece needing repair that's made from chestnut, once a widely available furniture wood. They'll replicate a part from sassafras, abundant throughout the South, then finish the wood to match. Yellow birch finished to look like maple B. Carefully fitted dowels will trap both air and excess glue when inserted. This has been a common manufacturing practice in moderately priced furniture for more than 50 years. Remember, all wood falls into three basic wood-grain categories: coarse-grained, such as oak and ash; medium-grained, like mahogany and walnut; and fine-grained, as found in cherry, maple, and yellow poplar. At maturity, these burly trees stood 60-80' tall and measured 5-6' around the trunk. Red lauan (Philippine mahogany) finished to look like Honduras Mahogany. Carefully fitted dowels will trap both air and excess glue when inserted. Today the only available American chestnut wood suitable to architecture and interiors comes to us through reclaimed timber resources. If you're looking for a few good stand-ins, you've come to the right place. Each was sprayed with a finish coat of lacquer. The biscuit-colored heartwood, slightly lighter in weight than maple, resists decay. Wood Look-Alikes. A. Want to save some bucks on wood? Early July brought blooms among chestnut's long, thin, toothed leaves, followed by small, prickly burrs. If you decide to do some woodworking with look-alike woods, you'll have more success if you keep the following in mind: A. © 2020 Meredith Corporation. The finish coat for each look-alike sample was lacquer. All Rights Reserved. Chestnut has an oak-like grain, no visible large rays, and the early wood pores will have tyloses. No chestnut, no problem. Researchers at the American Chestnut Foundation have found a thriving stand of chestnut trees at an undisclosed site. You may be better off saving this wood and using some other kind of wood in your fireplace . When it reproduced unhampered, American chestnut grew best on the lighter soils in a range from southern Maine to North Carolina, Tennessee and west to Indiana and Michigan. The biscuit-colored heartwood, slightly lighter in weight than maple, resists decay. As we found out in one instance, the darker, more coarse-grained wood of the two species should get a sealer coat of thinned shellac before coloring so that it won't continually get darker. They have bands of large, circular cells parallel to the bark, which can be seen on the end grain, or cross-section. Then, in the early part of this century, a severe blight swept the chestnut, reducing it to a nearly extinct species. For more related content, subscribe to our newsletter! Introduced to northern Europe and Great Britain by the invading Romans, the European variety of the chestnut tree has been cultivated not only for its nuts but for its durrable, decay-resistant wood. Savvy finishers also know that they can make white ash pass for red oak if need be. The grain is similar and it naturally comes in a variety of hues. All Rights Reserved. Deeply furrowed bark formed broad, flat ridges spiraling up the tree. White ash finished to look like red oak. It was prized as casket stock. Growing to a girth greater than most oaks, the chestnut provided the country's pioneers with wood for every imaginable use. And, antique furniture restorers demand chestnut for replacement parts. In the United States, the native American chestnut once dominated the eastern hardwood forests. It took two coats of Medium Walnut and one coat of Dark Wine Cherry to change the yellow poplar. It and the walnut sample were dyed with a Medium Walnut water-soluble aniline dye, then sealed with shellac to warm up the color. Hobbithouseinc.com is a site with some very good pictures. Castanea sativa, the European species, remains hearty. Today, the available chestnut lumber and veneer comes from blight victims or from European trees. Maple Chosen for its lighter color, the yellow birch was almost a perfect look-alike for sugar maple even before staining with a highly diluted Dark Golden Oak aniline dye and finishing with lacquer.

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