Just wanted to provide photos of another wood and color combo. This time, ash paired with cork lining. As with essentially all of my pictures with dice, the gold dice are 12 mm (1/2") and the blue dice are 19 mm (3/4").
Just a before shot of a live edge slab of sitka spruce, about 1 3/4" thick. I can't wait to get this thing into its finished form, for reasons that will become apparent in due time.
Sitka spruce is kind of uncommon in the Midwest. It's fairly common in the Pacific Northwest. The wood is light, 27 lbs/cubic foot (compared with 44 lbs/cubic foot for red oak). It's pretty soft too, with a Janka hardness of 510 lbf (compared with 1,220 lbf for red oak). That means its about 61% as heavy as red oak, and less than half has hard.
It, like pine, is described as being difficult to stain. The grain structure lends itself to blotchiness, apparently. Luckily, I have no intention of staining this piece.
Now the trick will be finding spruce in non-live-edge-slab-form...
Curly maple, sometimes called "tiger," "flame," or "fiddleback" maple, is nothing more than maple with an irregular figure. It's not common, and because of its relative scarcity (and the fact that it looks really cool) it commands a premium price. I laid hands on a piece of highly figured curly maple that was just perfect for a couple magnetic knife strips. One sold the other day and here are a couple pictures of it.