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Contrasting woods to mahogany

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fraser

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Hello everyone,

I am currently in the very early stages of designing a few bits of furniture for my home. The whole place needs refurnishing so there are alot of bits to be made. There is a lot of mahogany in the house, windows, door frames, skirts, staircase, etc etc. It has been stained a few times in the past and is now as a result darker-almost a rosewood colour I would say. There is not a great deal of grain on show anymore.

I wondered if anyone had any suggests on contrasting woods I could use to compliment the mahogany, when I come to design other pieces. I had thought about maple, and possibly ebony or wenge as a third for inlays and little details. Does anyone have any other ideas and perhaps photos using the woods I have mentionned, mahogany included so I can have a look if I like it?

I will say as there is going to be quite alot of it needed, the majority of it will have to be in a fairly inexpensive hardwood and something I can also get in veneered sheet material. Nothing too crazy and rare, no wild exotic grains, blah blah blah.

I don't want to sand back the stain on the mahogany and use a clear varnish if possible, there is a lot of it there and I don't think it would really make much difference anyway.

Any help or suggestions would be great!

Thanks
 

dickm

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Ash? Nice and light, don't personally like it, but ...
Oak - grain probably too prominent?
Maple/sycamore? Nice and light, not very prominent grain, so might make better contrast?
etc, etc.
Depends very much on personal preference.
 

Richard S

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Hi Fraser

for a while a few years back it was very popular when fitting our narrowboats to pair mahogany / sapele with oak. The oak was generally used for the panelling / lining with the mahogany as contrasting cappings and trim. The two timbers do seem to compliment each other but I must say it is not to my personal taste although I've seen literally hundreds of boats with this combination of finishes so someone must like it. If you like I will see if I can dig out some pictures next week when I'm back at work.
If anyone is interested the current fashion for narrowboat interiors seems to be:
Oak with oak trim
Ash with ash trim
Maple with cherry trim
Painted finishes are also becoming more popular now after decades of being seen as only useful for covering evidence of damp.

cheers

Richard
 

condeesteso

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Might I suggest sycamore - same visual effect as maple (a distant relative I believe). There's a very subtle warmth of tone in sycamore which works well with the warm tones of mahogany I think. And also think about ratios, not 50 / 50, so let the mahogany dominate, or the sycamore... the other used as detail (stringing, banding etc).

p.s. sycamore should be a lot cheaper than maple. After all, it self-seeds and grows like fury!!
 

Gerard Scanlan

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I agree with the suggestion Douglas has just made. Sycamore is often overlooked. It is easy to work with planes and scrapers and sands to a nice finish too. Depending on how you cut it you can use it purely as a light colour contrast or if you want a busier inlay you can rotate most pieces a quarter turn to show very nice marking in the timber that really catches the light. And most importantly it is a lot cheaper than maple and under a coat of varnish most people would be hard pushed to tell you what it was beyond a contrasting piece of timber.
 

disco_monkey79

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I had been about to suggest maple (have just made a handle for a knife from mahogany and maple) but what others have said about sycamore is very true. And on the (admittedly only one) occasion I used sycamore, it was a delight to work with.
 

Modernist

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condeesteso":oevvuf57 said:
Might I suggest sycamore - same visual effect as maple (a distant relative I believe). There's a very subtle warmth of tone in sycamore which works well with the warm tones of mahogany I think. And also think about ratios, not 50 / 50, so let the mahogany dominate, or the sycamore... the other used as detail (stringing, banding etc).

p.s. sycamore should be a lot cheaper than maple. After all, it self-seeds and grows like fury!!
+1
 
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