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Beech or Mahogany for French furniture

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rakesh251080

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Hello fellow members

I could do with some expert advice on a query I have with regards response from a manufacture on the type of wood they would use for the style of furniture we are after. Generally, the french style of furniture is available in mahogany but they insist they would do it in beech and it will be just as good. Any thoughts on whether one would be better and/or expensive than the other especially for the style of furniture (dining table and display cabinets)? Thanks
 

rakesh251080

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what is the french style of furniture?
See link below for one of the cabinets

 

Droogs

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Which period style of French furniture are you wanting. I ask as the period often decides on the colouring of the finished article. Earlier furniture is often made with European woods mainly oak, ash, pine and yes beech and then it gradually gets darker/redder as time goes on and more exotic hardwoods from around the world become available within France. For things like dinning tables and cabinetry consider that the epitome was for highly veneered stuff at the upper end of the market the middle being the reddish woods and the lighter being for the oak furniture land market
 

Blackswanwood

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I don’t see any reason why Beech would not be fine for that. It’s finished in gold leaf so the colour of the wood isn’t a factor. I’d also expect Beech to be cheaper ... although the labour cost will be identical obviously.
 

mrpercysnodgrass

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Beech is a very versatile timber as far as finishing goes, in the hands of a good polisher it can be made to look like just about any timber you want and works particularly well as faux walnut or mahogany. It works less well on large flat surfaces so for a dining table you might be better off with mahogany even if it is a fairly bland long grained mahogany.
 

thetyreman

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See link below for one of the cabinets

that style is called Art Nouveau, yes you could use beech.
 

Droogs

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Regarding the casework, if you are having the gold leaf effect then the wood used doesn't matter. But a beech dinning table will look awkward next to it IMHO. A mahogany or ebonized table would be more suited especially if it had gold leaf highlights. such as the examples below to give an idea of the effect:


 

Woody2Shoes

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I haven't got my copy of Roubo to hand, but I think that beech could very well have been used historically in this kind of situation where the item was to be painted. I suspect that beech is a touch more eco-friendly (having travelled fewer miles, and from a possibly more trustworthy supply chain).

I'd call that sort of design a simplified/rustic French Rococo :cool:
 

AJB Temple

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The picture you have shown is an Armoire. Readily available from antique shops specialising in French furniture at around or less than the price you are showing for a new repro one. The antique ones can be beautifully made. They don't sell that well in the UK. One factor is that they are usually much too tall for modern British boxy houses. I can think of three right now in shops in Kent and East Sussex. I would be tempted to trawl antique shops, web sites and auction houses rather than but repro.

Quality is usually reflected in the veneers chosen. This is a minefield and depends on your taste. There are some beautiful walnut and rosewood pieces around.

It is not necessary for all furniture to be matching.....
 

John15

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Isn't 'real' mahogany very hard to come by and therefore very expensive compared to beech.

John
 

sometimewoodworker

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Isn't 'real' mahogany very hard to come by and therefore very expensive compared to beech.

John
What do you mean by “real” mahogany? There are over 600 plants that are in the mahogany family and 15 that are available. Do you mean Cuban mahogany, probably the most common historically, or Honduras mahogany, available now or one of the others?
YouTube video from the USA FWIW Sapele is in the Meliaceae (Mahogany) family
 

John15

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Hi Jerome,
Just to clarify my rather loose statement, I was thinking of the Swietenia species of Mahogany. I agree that there are many other species bearing the Mahogany name.

John
 
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