Matching Wood Grain
Steps 4 - 6
After reading the last tip, you may be wondering what I do with the leftover cathedral-grained stock. I'm as frugal as the next guy, so cathedral-grained stock goes into parts that aren't visible, such as internal components.
Certain woods, such as cherry, walnut, and maple, don't have a lot of straight grain. Much of their beauty comes from wavy-figured grain patterns. That's why mills saw these species to yield as many wavy-grained boards as possible.
When working with these woods, I use chalk to mark the location of project parts on the boards. I orient the chalk marks for the best grain match as shown in Step 3. Doing this, the pieces often come out of the stock at an angle to the board edges. I cut out these marked pieces with a handheld circular saw or jigsaw, then joint one edge. The remaining material goes for parts that aren't conspicuous in the finished project.
are a number of differences between the architectural-grade projects that we feature in WOOD® magazine and the factory-grade furniture you find in stores. For example, on the CD cabinet you'll see that the grain seems to flow without visual interruption from one drawer to another. On the same furniture piece made in a factory, the grain of one drawer likely won't match the one adjoining it, and a single drawer may have both cathedral- and straight-grain.
To make a series of matching drawer fronts, I glue and clamp matching pieces inot an oversized panel as shown in Step 1 of the drawing below. Its length (measured with the grain) should be 1" longer than the length of the drawers to allow for trimming. The width of the panel (across its grain) should equal the combined widths of the drawers, plus 1/8" for each saw kerf, plus 1" for trimming. I crosscut this large panel into drawer fronts as shown in Step 2, below.
This procedure not only makes for great-looking drawer fronts, but you can economize by using narrow pieces (that might otherwise end up as scrap) to make the panel. For example, most of the drawer fronts on the CD cabinet are made of two or three pieces of wood, some as narrow as 1".
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