best match for birch

Mom2SFJanuary 6, 2013

My father-in-law is making a custom mantel for us. I always admired his kitchen cabinets which are birch so he got birch for our mantel.

We need to order columns but they don't come in birch - do you think alder or maple would be a better match?

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If you are going to stain the pieces, be aware different species of wood stain different colors with the same stain.

That means that even the same species from different trees can look different.

What you can try---and coloring wood is often experimenting, is to stain the birch and then try different recipes to stain the other wood.

Maple is sometimes difficult to stain evenly. Blotching is a big problem. Using a conditioner(I favor a wash coat of one pound cut of blonde shellac) helps prevent that blotching.

I've never worked with alder.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 11:51AM
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Alder (I just did a countertop and its end caps) turns a reddish brown even with a clear sealant.

Lovely wood. but it's not going to look like birch.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 8:37AM
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I had the opposite problem a number of years ago. I built a large corner cabinet in maple, but the closest crown molding I could buy was birch. In 25 years, no one has ever noted they were different woods.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 7:49PM
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Don't forget there are "Norm Abram" types out there that can make them for you. Find a local hardwood seller (not flooring) and inquire. They should have some names to share.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 9:05AM
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