I'm an independent painting contractor, and do most of the finish work for Gary Striegler, a builder in Fayetteville, Ark. He built the entryway featured in this article - a pair of mahogany doors framed by built-up door casings and an arched pediment - using birch plywood panels, a combination of pine and poplar moldings, and poplar trim stock (see sidebar).

Mixing wood species isn't a problem when trim gets a high-quality paint finish, but under a clear finish the color variations become too obvious to ignore. Over the years, I've found ways to cost-effectively color-match the various substrates Gary uses in his trim assemblies; then I give the trim a furniture-like finish on site.

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