Padauk and Curly Maple

Hello All!

Im curious if there are any tips or things I should know about using Curly Maple and Padauk. I am looking at building a tabletop with the two of them similar to this (link is to an ebay listing, but best picture to describe what I want to do. Im not selling anything and it doesn't belong to me)

I heard that Padauk is tricky to work with, but I don't know what exactly that means. Any suggestions would be helpful!
 

mdbuntyn

Matt
Corporate Member
I'm a hand tool guy, but I've played a bit with padauk (never again, by hand). It's not impossible to work, but you can't treat it like cherry.

Paduck is hard, dense, and somewhat brittle, which can lead to tear out. Reversing grain is also something to be aware of. If you're tearout is too deep, you'll have to sand quite a bit to get to the bottom of it, so plan on taking lighter cuts than you're used to, in order to minimize it.

Depending on the type of curly maple that you have (hard vs soft, how much curl, etc.), you can run into similar issues.
 

Charlie

Charlie
Corporate Member
Padauk is an open grain wood so it's difficult to get a nice smooth finish.
It will bleed over into the maple when you apply a finish.
It will also turn a chocolate brown over a period of time. Still very pretty, but no longer red.
If you want red use bloodwood or red heart.
I refuse to ever use any more Padauk for the above reasons.
 

Oka

Oka
Corporate Member
I ve worked with Paduk a lot, the biggest issue to me, is your hand planes have to be razor sharp or you can get tear out. So....... a lot of sanding is what will happen.
You can get tearout on a planer or joiner even with helical heads....... still it is a lot of fun to play with because of the color
 

Matt Furjanic

Matt
Senior User
One thing I did not see here, and very important: Padauk will Darken to brown over time, especially when exposed to sunlight. Also, as Charlie mentioned, padauk will bleed when finished, especially when using shellac. I have found that sealing it with spray polyurethane First will minimize or eliminate the bleeding. I would recommend you practice the finishing on a scrap before you stain all your adjacent maple red!
 

Oka

Oka
Corporate Member
Good point Matt, it is weird with Paduk, I have some pieces with the stuff for a long time and it is still close to original color. And, some that faded after a couple of years. One thing that you can do, is get some UV additive from a marine store, there are a few there and they can extend the color several years before it fades to the reddish brown, sometimes a little gray in it.
 
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Bonanza

David
User
woodcraft has some paduk on sale in their flier this month

 
Thank you all for the tips! One thing I was curious about was this - Would it be best to use a biscuit joiner to combine the pieces, or would plain old wood glue work (Titebond II). The wood is currently 1 inch thick and I want to make the table top 51 inches long by 24 inches deep.
 

Fishbucket

Joe
Senior User
I glue edge jointed boards without biscuits or dowels all the time. I figure 30 years ago the biscuit wasn't even invented. And I have cutting boards older than that, that have survived. Even with a ride in the dishwasher a time or two.
 

mdbuntyn

Matt
Corporate Member
Adding to what Fishbucket said, a few sets of wooden cauls will help you keep everything flat during glue-up
 

Matt Furjanic

Matt
Senior User
Fish bucket Joe is right...
Biscuits do nothing for strength. Great for alignment. Do a test yourself. Glue two pieces together with biscuits, then butt joint two pieces without. I guarantee you will not break either at the glue line.
 

chgorugbyref

New User
Jonathan
Hello All!

Im curious if there are any tips or things I should know about using Curly Maple and Padauk. I am looking at building a tabletop with the two of them similar to this (link is to an ebay listing, but best picture to describe what I want to do. Im not selling anything and it doesn't belong to me)

I heard that Padauk is tricky to work with, but I don't know what exactly that means. Any suggestions would be helpful!
I did a project out of Padauk (and walnut) and it turned out great. Sharp tools and patience will make it work.
 

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red

Papa Red
Red
Senior User
I work with both together and have no issues at all. To me those two woods go hand in hand and my clients like it too. I say go ahead with your project. It will be beautiful.

Red
 

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