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Correcting contrast in Ash timber vs Ash veneer MDF

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Wouldchuk

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Hello folks,

Having just worked out how to post pictures I've gone wild with the power... :p

Now, I'm in the process of knocking up an alcove shelving unit for my sister - simple enough (he says...) - a cabinet beneath, solid wood top, then shelves above, built in. The cabinet is to be painted, so is currently MDF carcass with Poplar face-frames, doors etc.

The shelves i've started with Ash-veneered MDF, as I had bought a job-lot of Ash timber a while ago for cheap and thought if it comes out to light for her taste, I can maybe use a coloured wax to darken it. I have previously posted about this, but particularly my worry of making the veneered MDF match with the real wood.

My fears have been realised in planing up a couple of Ash boards - the wood is beautiful but incredibly dark in comparison. I'm not particularly experienced with all this, but I am even questioning if this IS Ash... bloody nice, but seeing as it needs to be edging for the MDF im going to have a huge contrast - is this something I can tackle with a pigmented wax??

Thoughts gratefully received...

This is the contrast between the boards I planed to make the cabinet top, and an offcut of the veneered MDF:



And this is how a couple of long Ash (?) boards look when planed - came out nicely, not too hard work, no tear-out, smooth finish (bit of a ripple/snipe...poor technique!)

 

RogerS

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The heartwood from ash is usually a reddy/brown colour like in your bottom picture. Ash also has a very characteristic smell when cut. I can't smell over the internet but looking at the grain I'm wondering if it might be a bit of elm....it's hard to see. Most of my ash pile is the colour of the very pale single board at the front in your top picture...certainly nothing like the colour of the boards behind.
 

jasonB

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The veneer is likely to be american ash and your solid timber looks more european or even olive ash. I'd keep the solid for something nice and buy in some american ash for the current units.

J
 

Wouldchuk

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Thanks both;

Roger - it does smell of Ash, and so i think it must be just a couple of particularly nice figured boards - i have no idea whether its Europoean Ash or what. i paid £150 for a bunch from a joiner who'd gone bust and I went away with a van load of what he claimed was all Ash, although there were a couple of Beech and a Hemlock too. These are the first two i pulled out of the pile. I hope the rest is as good! :D

Im now loathe to try planing up much more, if its all going to be as dark as this. And it looks so good I think i may take your advice - put these back in stock for a project more deserving.

If its American Ash i want, to get that more uniform paleness which better matches the veneered sheets, then that sounds like a plan - i dont need a great deal - enough to make a solid top, then enough to made edging for 5 shelves, and two edging strips to take a moulding running up the verticle sides of the shelf supports, covering the wobbly wall gaps....

There was me hoping i could avoid a trip to the timber yard - hey ho! Maybe finding those figured boards is a bonus! :roll:

Thanks for the advice.
 
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