Most woodworkers seem to have a set of favorite wood species that they would prefer to work with. Not all species are readily available in all areas, however, and in some cases the cost of materials becomes prohibitive. To save money and still achieve the look that you are after for your project, you might want to make cheap wood look expensive. It’s not as difficult as it might sound, and Elisha “The Pneumatic Addict” shares some of her favorite techniques to make cheap wood look expensive.
Choose the right “dupe wood” or substitute wood. When you want to make cheap wood look expensive, you want to select a cheap wood with similar characteristics to the expensive wood. Any similarities will be beneficial in helping you to achieve your goal.
Grain matching is important. The grain of the dupe wood is a particularly important attribute. Match a closed grain wood with a similarly closed grained wood, and the same thing with coarse or open grained woods.
All aspects of your finishing approach can make a difference. There are several steps to a successful finishing project, and any of these steps can be manipulated to help you achieve the best possible match. Sanding, pre-stain conditioning, sealing the wood, choice of stain, and top coat can all be contributors to the ideal match. The color, tone, and shade of your final finish can all be affected by subtle variations in your choice of products, your approach to preparing the surface, or your techniques for applying the finishing products.
You might be surprised by how effectively you can make cheap wood look expensive by incorporating some of these ideas. Hopefully you can apply some of Elisha’s techniques into your next project and save a few bucks!