Alder wood with Laurel Mountain Forge Cherry stain. The alder sucks up a ton of the stain, darkening it to a deep, deep maroon/black cherry color. The wood also soaks up the Watco Danish oil finish like crazy. The photo is after the first application, and it will take several more to achieve a good seal and a semi-gloss or high satin glow.
I made a powder horn using an all-black horn with an alder base plug and stopper a few years ago with the same cherry finish, and my daughter recently asked for a coffee table in the that finish. Of course Dad is compelled to oblige, being as he likes woodworking and it’s a simple project. I told her; “Nothin’ fancy, just simple and good.”
Alder is fairly soft for a “hardwood” and it looks pretty plain, until you stain it. Variations in the direction of the grain cause large variations in the amount of stain absorbed, so you get a lot more contrast. Some would try to minimize that behavior by applying a seal coat before applying the stain, but we like it this way.
I’ve enjoyed working with Hickory, and it’s super tough, but it doesn’t take a stain like this Alder.
The iPad camera is pretty good for a point-and-shoot, but depending on your monitor you may have to use your imagination a little bit. On my iPad retina display the table has a slight hot pink hue to it that doesn’t belong there.
Below is some void filling in progress. Daughter wanted wood with some knots in it. You can try this method; do any staining first, then use cyano glue (super glue) to fill the voids, hit it with instant cure, wait some hours, then sand it flush. That way the color comes through the transparent acrylic. It turns out nice, but you usually have to do two or more applications if you want it really smooth. We use cyanoacrylate occasionally on musical instruments, even some fairly high-end ones, for crack repair or stabilizing and sealing sections of very old, deteriorating wood. It can actually work well.