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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.

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