Substitutes for Cherry MDF

There are more economical choices when grain is not an issue. May 10, 2005

We currently use B-4 cherry MDF and are looking for another (less expensive) species that would stain close to cherry. Grain is not an issue. Any ideas?

Forum Responses
(Furniture Making Forum)
From contributor M:
Maple is less expensive than cherry, but you'll have to anile-n-dye it to get the same color tones. I'm sure you could use birch, too, which is even less expensive. Keep in mind, if you're pricing your work properly, it shouldn't be more than a couple of bucks between clear coat cherry and a cheaper wood that you've spent the time staining and dying to look like cherry. I've even seen people take poplar moldings, bleach out the green and dye it to match the rest of the unit, whether it would be cherry, maple, etc. All closed grain woods.

From contributor N:
Anigre, since grain is not an issue.

From contributor J:
Try red alder. Dead ringer for cherry when using a natural finish. The only giveaway is that red alder has sharper cathedrals than cherry when plain cut. May be a bit difficult to find. I use Alpine Plywood out of Milwaukee. Columbia or GP should be able to help.