not all wood species are created equal
In our last edition, Steve Englund of Englund Studio explained that it took years to learn about all the different wood species cabinet makers use and the subtle differences in the way they take finishes.
Among the more familiar wood species, those with a closed grain (small pores and less distinct figures and patterns), tend to finish better. Examples are maple, cherry, alder, and birch. Bamboo, although technically a grass, is fast growing and easily renewable, and its close grain makes it an excellent surface for finishes.
Other popular choices for cabinets, such as oak, walnut, mahogany, and some exotic hardwoods, have moderately open grain (large pores and more pronounced patterns). More care is needed in the application of coloring and finishes in order to achieve a smooth and even appearance.