Help with wood selection.

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Meperkins's picture
Joined: 2012-11-07 20:20
Help with wood selection.
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So I'm attempting to start my first project and have been shopping around for wood here in Sacramento CA. I've found plenty of 1 inch pine and white wood boards but I can never seem to find 2x4 or 4x4 in anything but doulis fir. Is it wise to pair these larger Douglas fir boards with the smaller pine or white wood ?


claydowling's picture
Joined: 2011-01-26 17:28
Safe combination

It will be fine to mix pine with douglas fir. Douglas fir is very nice to work with, because it is hard and durable, and makes good crisp cuts.

I wouldn't recommend using the white wood. It can be fine, but especially at big box stores, white wood is a general dumping ground for unsuitable wood that will give you bad warping and twisting problems. Warping and twisting makes for construction problems that you want to avoid.

adventurenmom's picture
Joined: 2012-11-14 21:09
Tabletop thickness

I am wanting to build a dining table with benches and would like to do oak for the top. All that is available is 1" thick oak boards. Is this too thin for a tabletop, esp. one used for a 10 ft table with lots of kids?

Also, what type of wood is good for the legs if I did an oak top, so it would blend well? I wanted to do 4x4s for the leg posts, but would the stain difference look odd? And if I did regular douglas fir or hemlock for the supports underneath the tabletop, would this all blend well? Even though it isn't seen, I want it all fairly uniform.

If it wouldn't blend well, what type of wood would be best for the top and be able to do a light stain? Which type of wood are most of these tables made of? I have seen plenty of dark stained wood on here, but not much light stained wood that isn't rustic so I'm wondering if light stain wouldn't be recommended for the regular 2x4 and 2x6s being used? If I did regular douglas fir 2x6 on the top, would they stain well and would it blend with all the rest of the house being in oak? I want straight wood, not plywood.

Thanks for any advice!

claydowling's picture
Joined: 2011-01-26 17:28
Oak top

4/4 oak is fine for table tops. The wood is quite rigid and will be fine if you support it across the width of the table. Pine is also capable of being used like that.

I would recommend not mixing the woods for the tops and the legs. You can't buy thicker wood at the home center, but a regular hardwood lumber dealer will have 8/4 oak (2 inch thick), and some may have it in greater thicknesses.

Finding a hardwood dealer will be a bit of a challenge. They don't have stores in the regular commercial areas. It's more likely to be near the railroad tracks, or somebody's barn. Look for signs by the highway, or see if Google can find something for you.

fallguy1000's picture
Joined: 2013-01-28 14:46
mixing wood

You can mix wood if the woods are not going to behave together, if you will, and if the wood is good enough to make furniture with to start...dried oak is, a wet 4x4 not so much-a dry one is fine. A cedar or pine 4x4 for the leg would be just fine, although probably not as commercially acceptable. I recently built a cumaru table with a cumaru top. Cumaru 4x4 legs would have required glue up or major expense that wasn't wise use of time or funds, so I still spent plenty on cedar 4x4s and the table is beautiful. You can easily see the difference. I would strongly recommend bringing all the wood indoors for several weeks before construction and pile it nicely; even with weight on the ends of the piles to keep it from twisting up for a table this long. You could stain it the same color as the oak, but I would recommend using a prestain. Another option is to two color the project, and stain them different. They will never look the same, so I wouldn't work too hard trying to get them there.