Two Common Wood Types

The two main types of wood used is Red Oak and Maple. 

 

Red Oak is a pinkish-reddish brown tone to it.  The wood is mostly straight-grained, with a coarse open texture. Abundant. It is the most widely used species in the US. It is mostly stained and can be stained in a wide range of colors. Occasionally we will paint oak to allow the open grain texture to come through. 

Red Oak American Hardwood Information Center

 

Maple is normally a greyish-white, sometimes with darker-colored pith flecks. The heartwood varies from light-to-dark reddish brown. The wood is usually straight-grained. The wood machines well and can be stained to an excellent finish. It glues, screws, and nails satisfactorily; it also polishes well and is suitable for enamel finishes and brown tones. 

Maple American Hardwood Information Center

Other Wood Types

Cypress

Cypress

White Oak

White Oak

Walnut

Walnut

Red Oak

Red Oak

Yellow Pine

Yellow Pine

Pine

Pine

Pecan

Pecan

Hard Maple

Hard Maple

Hickory

Hickory

Cherry

Cherry

African Mahogany

African Mahogany

Cypress

(Taxodium distichum)

Color/Appearance: Color tends to be a light, yellowish brown. Sapwood is nearly white. Some boards can have scattered pockets of darker wood that have been attacked by fungi, which is sometimes called pecky cypress.

Grain/Texture: Straight grain and medium texture to coarse texture. Raw, unfinished wood surfaces have a greasy feel.

Endgrain: Resin canals absent; earlywood to latewood transition abrupt, color contrast medium; tracheid diameter large to very large.

Rot Resistance: Old-growth Cypress is rated as being durable to very durable in regards to decay resistance, while wood from younger trees is only rated as moderately durable.

Workability: Sharp cutters and light passes are recommended when working with Cypress to avoid tearout. Also, the wood has been reported by some sources to have a moderate dulling effect on cutting edges. Cypress has good gluing,  nailing, finishing, and paint-holding properties.

Odor: Cypress has a distinct, somewhat sour odor while being worked.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Cypress has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include respiratory irritation. See the articlesWood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Prices ought to be in the mid-range for domestic woods, with clear, knot-free boards for woodworking applications costing more than construction-grade lumber.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, and is reported by the IUCN as being a species of least concern.

Common Uses: Exterior construction, docks, boatbuilding, interior trim, and veneer.

 

Cherry

(Prunus serotina)

Cherry is one of the most beautiful and expensive U.S. Hardwoods. Geography is important to Cherry’s color. Appalachian Cherry, which is grown in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New York, has developed a reputation for having the best veneer quality and relatively gum-free Cherry. Southern Cherry is generally harvested from the southern region of the U.S. It is generally browner in color than Appalachian Cherry and the grain tends to be courser due to the longer and faster growing season in the South. Cherry is porous with an indistinct grain pattern and is of medium hardness. Color ranges from light to dark and red or white. It is said that Cherry’s colors can quickly be darkened and aged by exposing it to direct sunlight.

Weight – 3.7lbs/BF – Kiln Dried to 12% MC

Common Names –Wild Black Cherry, Cherry, American Cherry, Whiskey Cherry, Cabinet Cherry

Working Properties – Cherry is known as being one of the best all-around woods for workability. It is stable, straight-grained, and machines well. The only difficulties typically arise if the wood is being stained, as it can sometimes give blotchy results due to its fine, closed pores.

Durability – Heartwood is rated as being very durable and resistant to decay.

Uses – Fine furniture construction, Millwork, Patterns, Piano Actions, and turned items.

 

Hickory

(Carya ovate)

If you are looking for strength, hardness and durability; Hickory is the best commercially available wood North America. It is uniform, with a fine grain pattern and of medium weight. Hickory has a coarse texture, with a great deal of color variation (known as Calico) between creamy white color (sapwood) and reddish brown (heartwood).

Weight – 5.0lbs/BF – Kiln Dried to 12% MC

Common Names –Shagbark Hickory, Wild Pecan, Bitter Pecan

Working Properties – Difficult to work, with tearout being common during machining operations if cutting edges are not kept sharp; the wood tends to blunt cutting edges. Glues, stains, and finishes well.

Durability – Considered to be non-durable to perishable regarding heartwood decay, and also very susceptible to insect attack.

 

Maple – Hard

(Acer saccharum)

Hard Maple is also referred to as Sugar Maple and Rock Maple. Hard Maple uses include furniture, decorative inlays, and bowling alley lanes. Maple grows throughout the Eastern U.S, with the exception of the South Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains. It is brown to light tan or white in color with diffuse, porous and indistinct grain patter.

Weight – 4.4lbs/BF – Kiln Dried to 12% MC

Common Names –Hard Maple, Sugar Maple, Rock Maple

Working Properties – Fairly easy to work with both hand and machine tools, though slightly more difficult than Soft Maple due to Hard Maple’s higher density. Maple has a tendency to burn when being machined with high-speed cutters such as in a router. Turns, glues, and finishes well, though blotches can occur when staining, and a pre-conditioner, gel stain, or toner may be necessary to get an even color.

Durability – Being that the sapwood of maple is used, and not the heartwood, it is non-durable to perishable in regard to decay resistance.

Uses – flooring (from basketball courts and dance-floors to bowling alleys and residential), veneer, pulpwood, musical instruments, cutting boards, butcher blocks, workbenches, baseball bats, and other turned objects and specialty wood items.

 

Pecan

(Carya illinoinensis)

Somewhat lighter and easier to work than Hickory, Pecan has a moderate grain pattern, reddish brown heartwood and white sapwood. Pecan is very hard and is an excellent choice for flooring. Pecan belongs to the same botanical family as Walnut and possesses a similar grain appearance. Pecan is generally harvested in the Southern Region of the U.S.

Weight – 4.6lbs/BF – Kiln Dried to 12% MC

Common Names –Sweet Pecan, Hickory

Working Properties – Difficult to work, with tearout being common during machining operations if cutting edges are not kept sharp; the wood tends to blunt cutting edges. Glues, stains, and finishes well.

Durability – Considered to be non-durable to perishable regarding heartwood decay, and also very susceptible to insect attack.

Uses – Tool Handles, Furniture, Cabinets, Skis

 

Red Oak – Southern

(Quercus falcate)

Southern Red Oak falls into the red oak group, and shares many of the same traits as Appalachian Red Oak. Red Oak, along with its brother White Oak, is commonly used domestic lumber species. Hard, strong, and moderately priced, Red Oak presents an exceptional value to woodworkers—which explains why it is so widely used in cabinet and furniture making. Southern Red Oak is harvested in the Southern Region of the U.S.

Weight – 4.3lbs/BF – Kiln Dried to 12% MC

Common Names –Southern Red Oak, Spanish Oak, Hill Red Oak

Working Properties – Easy to glue, and takes stain and finishes very well.

Durability – Red oaks such as Southern Red Oak do not have the level of decay and rot resistance that White Oaks possess. Durability should be considered minimal.

Uses – widely used in cabinet and furniture making.

 

Walnut

(Juglans nigra)

Heavy, hard, strong wood, rather coarse grained, very durable, rich brown color. Sapwood is white unless the wood is steam treated. Most woods darken with age; Walnut is the exception and becomes lighter in color with age.

Weight – 4.1lbs/BF – Kiln Dried to 12% MC

Common Names –Black Walnut, American Walnut

Working Properties – Typically easy to work provided the grain is straight and regular. Planer tearout can sometimes be a problem when surfacing pieces with irregular or figured grain. Glues, stains, and finishes well, (though walnut is rarely stained).

Durability – Black Walnut is rated as very durable in terms of decay resistance, though it is susceptible to insect attack.

Uses – furniture, cabinets, gunstocks, interior paneling, veneer, turned items, and other small wooden objects and novelties.

 

White Oak

(Quercus alba)

White Oak, along with its brother Red Oak, are commonly used domestic lumber species. Hard, durable, and moderately priced, White Oak presents an exceptional value to woodworkers. Wherever water is present, in conditions such as boat parts and exterior windows and doors, White Oak should always be used…NEVER Red Oak. The heartwood of White Oak is filled with extractives known as “Tyloses” that make White Oak extremely weather resistant. Light brown heartwood, prominent wood rays and strong grain pattern. More restricted in production than Red Oak.

Weight – 5.0lbs/BF – Kiln Dried to 12% MC

Common Names –Fork-leafed White Oak, West Virginia White

Working Properties – Easy to glue, and takes stain and finishes very well.
Durability – Good rot resistance: frequently used in boat-building applications.

Uses – widely used in cabinet and furniture making, marine applications, millwork.
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African Mahogany

(Khaya ivorensis)

African Mahogany in the Khaya genus is considered to be a valid substitute for Honduran Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla), otherwise known as “Genuine Mahogany.” Heartwood is a reddish brown, also exhibiting an optical phenomenon known as chatoyancy. Has a medium to coarse texture with open pores. The grain can be straight, irregular, or interlocked. Timbers are harvested from West Tropic Africa.

Weight – 4.3lbs/BF – Kiln Dried to 12% MC

Common Names –African Mahogany

Working Properties – Easy to work, glue, and finish. Tearout can sometimes be a problem if the grain is interlocked.

Durability – Rated as moderately durable, with resistance to termites, but vulnerable to beetles.

Uses – plywood, turned items, furniture, boat-building, and interior trim.