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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Interior Wood Species Selection, Continued

I cut some small pieces off the wood samples we bought a couple weeks ago. In order to get a feel for how the species would look 'finished', I sanded the samples to 320 grit and applied three to four coats of our favorite varnish, Epifanes Clear Varnish. After the final coat, I masked off half of the surface, sanded with 320 grit, and applied Epifanes Rubbed Effect topcoat. This topcoat, used for interior finishes, dries to a satin appearance (no gloss). It is hard to tell in the pictures, but the top half of the sample is gloss, bottom is satin. Presented, as best as digital pictures can, in order of dark to light, for analysis .
Teak $35/board-foot

Sapele (quarter sawn) $7/board-foot

Khaya (quarter sawn) $6/board-foot

Cherry $5/board-foot

Beech $5/board-foot

Alder $4/board-foot

Western Maple $3/board-foot
We use Epifanes Clear Varnish, a traditional tung oil varnish, on our small boat (lots of varnished topside teak). We have tested other varnishes in the past, including some two parts, but have always come back to Epifanes as no other varnish beats the gloss. But Epifanes tends to add an orange tint to the wood color, more so it seems, than other varnishes. For that reason, the beech, alder and western maple became a more yellowish-orange color after finishing. The khaya sample became more red (very much so). The sapele sample came very close to the look of teak. So, we have been wondering what a more clear varnish would look like on these samples. Maybe we will finish another set with a different coating.

So far, as for color and grain, I like the cherry. Not too dark, not too light, with a very distinct grain. Though I have been told cherry tends to darken over time.

Readers, feel free to chime in with opinions and recommendations.


Kees said...

If you like the cherry I'm wondering why you aren't looking at oak.

Robert Sutton said...

I dont particularly care for the grain found in oak. The grain in cherry seems to have more contrast.

Robert Sutton said...

Also, besides being too light, I do not care for beech as it looks very much like oak. I like the grain of alder the best, but again it is too light (and difficult to 'work' I have been told).

paul kessinger said...

I've worked a lot with sapele ply for glued lap boats and love its tough surface and tone. But the grain pattern can be really wild which might be sort of fatiguing to the eye on a large surface

For every hour working with maple,count on an hour sharpening tools and be prepared to order sandpaper by the case

I vote for cherry for tone, cost and workability.

Dani said...

I'm more of a fan of the darker top three choices. But only for accent colors. Our boat is mostly dark oiled teak inside, and I'm looking forward to the day we paint/overlay with white plastic/or cover with paintings some of the dark walls.

Lighter is better in your case I imagine.

Anonymous said...

Quartersawn Ash.Sounds weird but I saw it done and it looked great.

Al said...

I'm a big fan of cherry, but it does darken considerably over time because of UV exposure. My cherry dining room tqabel with oild finish is a lot darker niow than when I bought it 20 years ago.

Bill Bishop - Parmain said...

Robert, I like the cherry also, but it does very slowly darken over time (UV exposure)to a warm brown. It slows down at about ten years, and finally stops darkening at about 100 years, so don't worry. It's also a nice wood to work with. It might be a good idea to trim it out in something darker like mahogany for contrast.

Robert Sutton said...

Thanks everyone for your input!

cal ares said...

Robert, We went with the idea of bringing in as much light as possible, for us this meant all the flat panels painted Navaho white in sharp contrast to the existing teak trim. I started with some trepidation but found myself pleased at the result. Keep in mind that this was a factory finished boat so we still have the ash overhead, The teak and holly floor plus the teak ceiling. I always had the feeling that they were trying to replicate a wood boat interior and over did the dark ply business. Keep up the good work. Cal Ares w42 Coyote!