Red gumwood is graded or selected to supply plain or figured wood.
For fine panels and furniture the wood is veneered and when matched
as to pattern produces wood which is very similar to Circassian walnut.
The plain sawed gumwood finished natural or with a very light brown
stain is much appreciated for interior wood trim because it produces
walls of soft., subdued quality that is very rich for a background of a
decorative scheme. The quarter-sawed plain gumwood, not selected
for decorative figures, is also much used for the same purpose.
Gumwood is beautiful in its own right and there is no need to place its
value according to what woods it will represent well when properly
finished. It is, nevertheless, prized because in the hands of skillful
finishers the grain figure can be selected and patterns matched so well
as to make finishes which are fully as beautiful as Circassian walnut.
Then properly finished gum resembles black and other walnut woods
closely, so much so that when used in the same panels or piece of
furniture with other woods it takes an expert to tell the difference
between the two woods.
Gumwood finishes very much like mahogany, too, when the wood is
selected for grain figure of similar nature, Finished in its natural light
brown color gumwood is much liked by some, while others like it
better after a very light, thin brown stain has been used on it to
slightly darken the color. For enamel jobs gumwood makes an
excellent base. Its uniformity of cell structure, its uniform density does
not permit the wood to absorb paint, stain or enamel coats unevenly,
and there are no pockets or streaks of resin to come through the
For stained finishes water stains raise the grain of gum a bit more
than it does on other woods, but it penetrates deeply and its very
transparent nature produces a far more beautiful finish than other
stains, and the sapwood really needs a water stain to make a uniform
color and clear tone because of the very light streaks of wood. It is
well to use a very thin stain coat on light wood streaks which appear
along side of dark wood; coat these light streaks before staining the
Gumwood is most beautiful when finished in dull lustre. The hand
rubbed, varnished surface, the flat varnish surface and the shellaced
and waxed surface are all preferred to the high gloss, polished surface
for interior trim, especially.
When gumwood is used for the stiles and mouldings of wall panels
with mahogany or walnut veneer for the panel centers the gumwood
should be coated with a toner before staining. For a toner a weak
solution of chloride of iron, or sulphate of iron (copperas), is suitable.
Dissolve this chemical in water and brush it on to the gumwood and let
it dry. That will subdue the sharp contrast between sap streaks and
give a more uniform effect. Follow this toner with water stain or oil
Gumwood being very close-grain does not require a filler, at least not
a paste filler or varnish liquid filler. It is good practice to brush on a
thin coat of raw linseed oil, or a mixture of raw linseed oil and
turpentine first. Let it set a few minutes and then wipe off. Let it dry at
least twelve hours before staining with water or oil stain. The oil fills
the very fine wood pores and makes a more uniform suction which
helps to stain the wood a uniform color.
Gumwood is often finished with a stain, two or more coats of white
shellac and wax, or the shellac is rubbed dull and no wax is used. Then
again the furniture finisher likes to apply one very thin coat of white
shellac and when dry rub it close which removes all shellac except
what is lodged in the fine wood cells and which acts as a filler. The
shellac goes on after the stain,
When we think of maple the first use to which the wood is put is the
only one which occurs to us. The extremely hard, tough surface of
maple which takes on a higher polish as it is subjected to wear has
made it a remarkable material for floors. But maple is also very good
for wood trim which is to be finished in the lightest possible natural
wood color. The grade known as white maple, when finished with
white shellac alone or with white wax, makes a truly beautiful finish
which cannot be duplicated by any other wood. Sometimes it is
bleached before finishing to make it even whiter. And maple, of
course, is much used for furniture, especially the curly and the bird'seye
maples. For floors which are subject to much traffic, maple has no
equal,schools, dance floors, kitchens, bedrooms, halls, etc.
Maple is a close-grain, very hard, fine-textured, tough and strong
wood. The sapwood is very light in color, while the heartwood is a light
brown. The grain figure is subdued but beautiful and quite uniform and
interesting as well.
All maple is light in color, but the white, clear grade is especially light.
It is the sapwood from the outside of the log, winter-sawed and end
piled in sheds to prevent staining. It is ivory white and the finest grade
of maple flooring and lumber produced. Birch floors and trim give an
airy, cheerful color to a room which reminds one of the northern
forests where the best maple trees grow.
Maple is what is called a single-growth wood, meaning that when the
present supply is exhausted there will be no more to take its place.
Then it will become as costly as walnut and similar rare woods because
the rate of growth is very slow and reforestation is not equal to
producing a growth equal to the natural and original stand of timber.
The growth of maple is common to England, Central Europe and
America. Curly maple is the wood which results from trees which have
made a twisted growth and which peculiarity has been preserved by
special methods of cutting the lumber. It has a curly, mottled figure
quite similar to satinwood. Bird's-eye maple is sugar maple. The
peculiar bird's-eye knots are presumed to be the result of buds or
shoots which formed in the wood but were unable to penetrate the
hard, tough bark and thus come out to form branches. Sugar maple
when newly cut is a creamy white in color, but it darkens to a golden
yellow with age. In finishing this bird's-eye maple the best practice is
'to put on a toner in the form of a water solution of tannic acid. This
brings out the little eyes or knots interestingly. The toner is followed
with a weak water stain.
The heartwood of maple is rather too dark a brown to be finished in
light gray stains and it cannot be bleached enough to make it suitable.
It, however, makes finishes which are quite as beautiful and similar to
mahogany, brown, red or antique. The white maple, or sapwood of the
tree, produces the finest kind of silver gray, also driftwood and Kaiser
grays by correct staining methods. A select grade of maple which has
a red tone is sometimes used to represent cherry and when finished by
skillful men it makes a wonderfully fine appearance.
Maple makes a first class foundation for enamel finishes because of its
even, close grain texture and uniform color and absorption.
Maple floors are, of course, often oiled when the traffic is very heavy,
as in schools. That makes a finish which is easy to keep clean and a
uniform color, but of course it darkens the color of the wood.
PINE AND FIR
White Pine. In the memory of the older building craftsmen white pine
has a glorious past. Its very extensive employment for all manner of
building exteriors acquainted all of those men with its great strength
and fine working qualities.
White pine is a soft wood with a close, even and uniform grain texture.
It is light in weight but very strong. Its color is pale, light yellow with
few markings, none of which are very strong. The surface of white pine
is smooth and without raised grain. It is a durable wood which holds
its shape exceptionally well, showing no warping, swelling, shrinking,
checking or splitting.