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Wood Finishing - Maple


I am in the process of finishing a piece of maple, and I would like to apply a tiger stripe pattern to it. I know that a pattern was drawn in ink on the wood, and then stain was applied. What type of ink was used, and how was it applied? Also I have heard of an acid reagent being used to create a sense of movement or shimmering in the wood as it moved in the light. What is it, and how is it applied?

Thank You,

Karl Burning
- Fishkill, NY


Hello Karl!

While I can't answer your specific question, I would like to send you to a site that is magnificent. The Forest Products Laboratory of the US Department of Agriculture has put their superb Wood Handbook on the web, at www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/FPLGTR/fplgtr113/fplgtr113.htm Chapter 15 covers Finishing of Wood, and it seems to be worthwhile reading.

Good luck!

lee gearhart
Lee Gearhart
metallurgist - E. Aurora, New York

September 13, 2009

I am ordering my kitchen cupboards from a large, reputable, local firm. It will be made-to-order in the sense that it is made to my specific measurements; but it will be mass produced in the sense that the factory is set up for mass production methods.

My flooring is real marble with neutral earth tones (beiges) and touches of red/rust. I want very light-colored wood, but ALL the bleached maple I have seen locally is rather PINK.
1) Can bleached maple be neutral (i.e., enough yellow not to be pink)?
2) Does the bleaching process necessarily lose the luminosity/shimmer of maple (in which case it is not an option for me)?

I have before me a sample cupboard door of natural maple they gave me in order to see the color of the wood. The frame is solid maple, while the center panel is maple veneer. I am told the sample door is 'natural' maple = unstained. However, the solid frame is ever-so-slightly reddish, while the veneer panel is ever-so-slightly yellowish. Depending on lighting, this difference changes from hardly noticeable to VERY noticeable.

Would this color differentiation be due to
a) different finishing processes for maple veneer as opposed to solid maple,
b) different effect of same finishing process on veneer as opposed to solid maple,
c) since the veneer and the solid wood are necessarily from different batches of wood, the company can't be expected to match the shade of the solid parts (the frame) to the shade of the veneered parts (the center panel) in a natural=unstained finish---so it's a matter of luck if their last veneer shipment matches their last solid wood shipment or not.

My cabinets will be veneer panels with NO frame. Is it reasonable for me to request that they NOT be ever-so-slightly yellowish? That is, I much prefer the ever-so-slightly reddish color of the solid maple of the sample door. Is it reasonable for me to expect to be able to order this color in a natural=unstained veneer?

Thank you ever so much for any advice!

Janet Berg
private buyer - Jerusalem, Israel

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