Cherry, Hickory, or Ash for Coffee table legs

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    I think I am going to use a different wood for the legs of my coffee table. What would look best: Cherry, Hickory, or Ash?  Do any of these woods work like white oak?


    Robin ... Richmond, Virginia, USA



    Wellll, I’ll jump in.

    FWIW, I think of Cherry more along the lines of Shaker furniture and the Oaks, Ash and Hickory seem to be well suited to the Arts and Craft/ Mission styles, which this project is and I’m assuming you’re thinking of substituting one of those two for the whole table.

    If it’s just substituting for the legs only, I think whichever seems to match up closest to the grain character of the Oak would be best…probably not the Cherry.

    In terms of workability, Cherry is going to be a tighter grain the either of the others, but I don’t have enough experience to really comment on any subtle or even gross differences.


    SW Pennsylvania


    Hickory is pretty darn hard with a Janka rating of 1820. Would that make all the mortice work a real chore?

    Robin- I did some searching for Oak furniture squares yesterday after reading of your quandary. Nothing thicker than 2″ square is common. Most place I checked did not even carry White Oak in any thicker than 8/4. Go figure. I’ll let you know if I dig up anything.

    I am thinking it may be easier to find some seasoned 2′ oak firewood logs and cut up your own squares. Time to hit CL and do some searches for firewood…




    -Scott Los Angeles

    Mark Armstrong

    Nothing wrong in mixing woods for a contrast Oak and Cherry. Dovetails always look better with contrasting woods. Why not a rail and a leg.
    Ash probably closest to Oak in my opinion.

    Dagenham, Essex, England


    Oak with Ash will be my visual preference.


    I don’t know about mixing cherry and oak. But the frame of my coffee table is made from cherry with a mahogany top. Looking at my table every day makes me realize that cherry might be my favorite wood. It is amazingly beautiful.


    I know this is an old thread, but what type of wood did you end up using and how did you like it?

    I’d like to use white oak, but as Scott mentioned in the thread earlier, it’s difficult to find anything bigger than 4/4. The salesman at the lumber yard told me that it’s because white oak takes longer to dry and nobody wants to leave thicker boards in a kiln that long. I’ll take him at his word. They can get me red oak or cherry, though. Thoughts? I have at least 3 big projects in the queue ahead of this one, so I have plenty of time to think about it and do some research before making a decision.

    – Darrin

    Frank Joseph

    First where are you, I can get white oak air dryer to 12/4 at Hearn or willerds for what you are talking you ďont need more then 5/4?

    In South Jersey the good part of New Jersey, USA.


    The coffee table can use 4/4 for everything except the legs, which are supposed to be 2-1/4 inches square.

    Also, FWIW, I’m in Austin, Texas. To be fair, I haven’t considered ordering lumber online, so that may be another option to pursue. My local place lets me pick through the available boards, and I can haul them home myself, so I’ve been doing that. I haven’t worked up the courage to try having lumber shipped.

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