I'm building a chest of drawers to replace a lower case of a chest-on-chest that was destroyed by hurricane Katrina. The upper case survived and is veneered with walnut. It is an English Empire (Victorian) piece with white pine substrates and secondary woods. Do you know if I can substitute local cypress for the pine with good results?


Cypress is a very traditional secondary wood used in the Southern United States. In fact collectors and historians often look for cypress drawer sides when establishing the origin and date of Southern pieces. One concern would be if you were trying to keep the piece original, then you might want to use a secondary wood that would be typical of the time and place your piece was made. Also cypress, as beautiful as it is, isn't the most stable wood in the world. Just make sure it's been dried properly and is as straight grained as possible. Cypress also has a strong grain that tends to telegraph through thin veneers, so it might not be the best choice as a veneer substrate.

Thanks for your question,
Chris Black
Highland Woodworking

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