Which woods looks alikes

Your local hardwood dealer is temporarily out of black walnut and you want to build that headboard this weekend. Why not substitute?

Some woods are very close in color and grain, and can be used to imitate each other. Often the right finish is all that's needed to complete the switch successfully. No one should substitute for deceptive reasons, of course, but there are times when availability and economy can be valid determining factors for replacing one wood with another.

Remember, though, that wood is like fingerprints - no single species is exactly like another in all
respects. Red oak can imitate white oak in furniture, for instance, but you wouldn't build a boat with it because it's not watertight. Before you embark on a substitute wood project, check with a knowledgeable hardwood salesperson to see whether or not the intended use is advisable.

The chart shown lists some examples of wood look-alikes that are commonly available at retail hardwood stores or through mailorder outlets. But if you want to substitute an exotic such as oolemeriballi for mutsekamambole, even the world's largest exotic wood importer may be unable to fill the order, and will probably send you back to your drawing board.

Commonly available look alikes

Traditional Wood









Birch, Beech




Butternut, willow, red gum

Red Oak

White Oak, Ash, Chestnut, Elm

Honduras Mahogany

Phillipine & African Mahogany

Brazilian Rosewood

Indian Rosewood, Cocobolo, Pau Ferro, Morado

8 fire safety tips


As a woodworker, you're constantly exposed to conditions that make practicing fire safety a necessity. Following are some tips that will help you minimize the risk:


Sawdust piles up quickly around a shop. Keep this combustible material at a minimum by sweeping or vacuuming often.


Keep all finishing products and other solvent-based items in sealed, labeled containers. Store them in metal cabinets away from heat sources such as your furnace.


Dispose of oily rags once you've finished a project. If you'll be using the same rag on successive days, spread it over a sawhorse or on a coat hanger where air can circulate freely around it, eliminating any possibility for spontaneous combustion.


Inspect electrical power tools often and replace any frayed cords, bad plugs, and faulty motors. Also, unplug all tools not in use.


Equip your shop with GFCI ground fault circuit protection. These devices, available in plug-in, breaker, or receptacle models, sense even minor changes in electrical lines and shut off the power if necessary.


Provide adequate ventilation in your workshop so you can rid the area of any dangerous vapors.


Install a smoke detector in a room or hallway near your shop. Test it often, too.


Keep a dry chemical ABC fire extinguisher in the shop. It will help extinguish fires resulting from combustible solids, flammable liquids, and electrical malfunctions.

How to make perfect miter joints


The picture-perfect miter joint - is it possible to accomplish?How to make perfect miter joints

We think so, and we're sure you'll agree with us after you master the easy-to-learn tricks and techniques we share with you on the following short article.

Lots of home hobbyists have a terrible time making accurate miter joints. Many a can of wood putty have been forced into the crevices between two "almost accurately cut" pieces of wood.

While that's great for manufacturers of this product, it doesn't say much for the level of craftsmanship.

Actually, simple miter joints aren't any more difficult to make than an accurately done butt joint, for example. In fact, you can make any joint well if you follow the Golden Rules of Joint Making.

Rule 1 - Use a sharp saw or bladeto make the cuts;

Rule 2 - Set up your saw accurately;

Rule 3 - Test the setup on scrap before cutting;

Rule 4 - Learn how to compensate for the minor fitting problems you'll encounter.

Enjoy making perfect miter joints!

First aid in your woodworking shop


While no one likes to think about them, shop accidents happen. And you should know what to do if they occur. Here's some common practices for typical mishaps. First aid in your woodworking shop

Every shop, no matter its size, needs a first-aid kit to handle medical emergencies - from a splinter to a cut. You'll find two general types of pre-assembled kits available in a variety of sizes at most drugstores. Unit-type kits contain dressings, ointments, and other needs packaged in one-treatment units of from 16 to 32 in quantity. Cabinet-type kits, on the other hand, have the same items, but they are packaged in quantities for more than one treatment, such as a box of pressure dressings rather than one.

The following first-aid procedures were developed and are advocated by the American Red Cross. You'll want to remember them if a mishap occurs.

Scrapes, Cuts, and Punctures


STEP 1: Stop the bleeding by holding a sterile gauze dressing (or clean cloth) over the wound. If necessary, add more layers but don't remove the first one. Elevate the wounded part of the body above the heart; gravity should help slow down the bleeding.

(Note: Shock impairs your ability to think clearly. If the bleeding or the wound is more severe than you have coped with in the past, don't hesitate to call for help.)

STEP 2. After bleeding is controlled, wash your hands. Then wash in and around the wound. Rinse thoroughly. Dry the wound by blotting gently with a sterile gauze pad or clean cloth. Cover with a sterile dressing.

Watch carefully for signs of infection over the next few days (see sidebar). Consult your doctor about the need for a tetanus shot.



STEP 1. Remove splinters in surface tissue with tweezers sterilized in boiling water or over an open flame.

STEP 2. Splinters just below the skin are worked out with the tip of a sterilized needle, then removed with a tweezers. Keep an eye on the area for infection. Often, a small broken-off piece will cause the area to fester. If it is too deep to work out, consult a doctor.



STEP 1. Small blisters are best left unbroken. If the pressure does not fade, however, wash the area with soap and water, then use a sterilized needle to make a small hole at the base of the blister and drain.

STEP 2. Apply a sterile dressing to protect the area from further irritation. Watch for infection.

Eye Injury - Penetrating Object

STEP 1. If a splinter or other object penetrates the eye area, do not attempt to remove the object or to wash the eye. Call for help.

STEP 2. Cover both eyes loosely with a clean dressing. (Both eyes must be covered so the injured eye does not move.)

STEP 3. Stay calm and call a doctor or hospital for instructions.

Poisons - Swallowing


If you believe someone has swallowed a poison such as paint remover, stain, or varnish call the local poison control center or your doctor immediately. Check container label for ingredients.

Poisons - Splashing in Eyes or on Skin


STEP 1. For the eyes, pour luke-warm water gently into the affected eye, directing it away from the other eye. Continue flushing from two to three inches above the eye for five minutes.

For the skin, remove all clothing around the area and flush with generous amounts of water for several minutes.

STEP 2. Follow further instructions on container. Call poison control or your doctor.