Ask WWGOA: Choosing a Hardwood for Painted Projects

Question:

I have a pattern for a library ladder but the wood they suggest is red oak. I want to paint the ladder to match the book shelves (white enamel). Is there a wood that is as strong as red oak that I wouldn’t have to waste money on since I’m going to paint it? It seems sacrilegious to paint red oak. Any help appreciated.

Submitted by baxtercl

Answer:

You’ll have better luck painting and feel better about covering the wood, if you use birch for your ladder. Birch is an excellent paint-grade material and much less likely than red oak, to show grain through the painted surface. It’s plenty strong, so you won’t have any compromise of functionality by switching to birch.

George


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