Q. Can you suggest some alternate species, at lower cost, for oak, maple, walnut and cherry?

A. It is difficult to suggest alternate species without knowing what requirements that you might have, such as color, grain appearance and surface hardness. I do discuss one species in FDMC every month. A larger collection is on our Internet site, woodworkingnetwork.com. Look for “Wood Explorer” and then click on “view all” to see a lot of the collection.

As a start for your species list, for oak, consider hackberry or elm; for maple, yellow birch; for walnut, try cottonwood and use a dark stain; and for cherry, perhaps cottonwood or maybe alder. These suggestions are not identical for all properties, so the first step for you is developing your list of requirements.

Gene Wengert, “The Wood Doctor” has been training people in efficient use of wood for 35 years. He is extension specialist emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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