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Different types of wood

Finding the right type of wood for woodworking projects is not always an easy job to do. Have you ever wondered which wood is the best for your project? Maybe once you wanted to make a piece of furniture, a window frame, chairs, tables, and lots of different things made of wood, but at the end of the day, you realized you don’t know much about different types of wood and were confused. At the end of this article, you will know which types of wood are the best for your project.

When it comes to choosing the right type of wood for a woodworking project there are plenty of things one has to be aware of.

First and foremost:

Types of wood with sustainable sources

As you might know, some types of trees are on the verge of extinction and a huge mass of trees are carelessly cut all over the world which we call this “deforestation”. Mass deforestation has bad effects on our planet and causes the atmospheric concentration of CO2 to rise.

Unfortunately, some human beings don’t take care of their environment and chop down trees to make more money and if we don’t act and the current deforestation rates continue to rise, the world’s rain forests are gone in 78 years. (for more information, click here)

 

Luckily, measures were taken in different parts of the world to stop deforestation and save trees from extinction. The EU has protected almost all of its rain forests and some organizations certified all wood from different European regions. As a result, we can see that forests in Europe are growing in size because more trees are to be planted than being chopped down.

FSC (forestry stewardship council) and PEFC (Program for the endorsement of forest certification) are two types of certifications with million hectares of forests under their conservation standards, which guarantee that the wood is from a sustainable source and can be replaced and planted in a short time.

 

So if ecosystems and forests matter to you, make sure you buy furniture and different wooden products with certifications from these two agencies.

 

Types of sustainable wood

Generally, fast-growing trees are more sustainable because they can be replaced easily, whereas slow-growing trees have fewer capabilities of being replaced. After all, it takes too long for another tree to grow.

 

Fast-growing softwood:

  • Pine

  • European Redwood

  • European Whitewood

  • Yew

  • Siberian Larch

  • Juniper

  • Cedar

  • Douglas Fir

  • Spruce

 

Slow growing hardwood:

  • Oak

  • Alder

  • Balsa

  • Beech

  • Magnolia

  • Poplar

  • Teak Walnut

  • Maple

  • Hickory

 

Woods that are about to become extinct and you should avoid buying or cutting such wood:

  • Brazilian Mahogany

  • Keruing

  • Meranti

  • Ebony

  • Afzelia

  • Sapelee

  • Balau

  • Brown heart

  • Teak

  • Wenge

 

Now let’s cover some natural and engineered woods which DIYers and woodworkers might want to use in their projects. To use these types of wood, woodworkers should know where and how to use them.

Different types of wood for woodworking projects

Pine

Most beginner woodworkers start doing their first project out of wood using Pine. As we mentioned before, pine is a kind of softwood so these types of woods are somehow easy to work with. Carpenters can easily cut, carve, and drill pinewood. The light yellow coloring gives a bright look to your work. The good news is if you like a darker tone of colors, Pine is very easy to stain.

Uses: joinery, flooring, furniture

 

Poplar

Compared to Pine, Poplar gives you a more consistent look on the wood. Poplar stains well and paints a lot better than Pine does. If you’re going to start your first project, you might want to know that Poplar would be a better and easier option to work with rather than Pine.

Uses: furniture

 

Spruce

From general constructions to highly specialized purposes in aircraft, Spruce has a wide range of uses. The first-ever aircraft made in the world (by the Wright brothers) was built of Spruce, but the concept of making aircraft out of Spruce has come to an end because Spruce is not weather resistant. Some species of Spruce have acoustic properties that make them suitable and perfect for making musical instruments such as classical guitars, electric guitars, pianos, etc.

Uses: musical instruments, construction framing projects

 

Cedar

Cedar is one of the most long-lasting types of woods that have warm and red-toned colors. Due to its resistance to deterioration, it’s used for interior and exterior home design. Cedar is light in weight and is easy to carry from one place to another. Because of the low density, Cedar is a good choice for cutting and requires low energy for the process of cutting using a hand saw. By the way, Cedar is among those types of woods which have straight grains and consistent textures and are easy to work with.

Uses: Joinery – exterior, joinery – interior, furniture

 

Alder

Beauty, beauty, and beauty, that’s it all. When you cut Alder, it mostly has a white look but then turns to honey-brown color when exposed to sunlight. This type of wood has a straight grain that makes it easy to work with (saw, carve, finish). It can also be stained and painted readily.

Uses: cabinetry, furniture, decorative, body of the musical instrument

 

Redwood

A giant redwood tree

Creamy-white to red or yellow woods, capable of a clean finish, capable of being painted, glued, stained, and having moisture-resistant properties has made this type of wood widely used among woodworkers and home designers.

Uses: Furniture, decking, molding, flooring, cladding

 

Aspen

The wood can withstand moisture very well. It’s odorless and does not conduct heat. These properties make Aspen perfect for use in saunas and swimming pools. Aspen can be turned, screwed, glued, and stained quite well.

Uses: Sauna, furniture

 

Balsa

A lightweight timber that is strong for its weight and has a high degree of buoyancy that makes it perfect for creating floating wooden objects (floating on water). Because of its softness, it is a good choice for carving.

Uses: joinery

 

Bamboo

Let me tell you something! Bamboo isn’t considered as wood but grass. The Bamboo plant has tall hollow stems. People use Bamboo because it is highly resistant to earthquakes and fire. Bamboo stems may be hollow but very strong. People think Bamboo stems are easy to bend, whereas that is not true.

Uses: garden furniture, cabinets, flooring

 

Maple

Maple wood is considered a hardwood. Due to its strength, stiffness, and durability, it is commonly used for the production of baseball bats, bowling pins, bowling alley lanes, recurve bows, musical instruments, etc. Experts call maple a tonewood which carries sound waves very well so this feature makes it perfect for making some parts of musical instruments such as violins, cellos, violas, etc.

Uses: furniture, flooring, musical instruments

Cherry (American)

Moderately durable, takes polish well, turns well, but harder to work with than Poplar and Pine. The warm red color makes Cherry perfect for combining with light-colored furniture.

Uses: Joinery-interior, furniture

 

Engineered wood products

 

HDF (High-Density Fiberboard)

Have you ever seen chalkboards and wondered what kind of material these boards are made of? Well, the answer is hardboard coated with special color paint.

Highly compressed wood fibers bounding together can form a wood product which is called HDF or hardboard.

Uses: added to furniture for improving the build quality and strength, chalkboards

 

MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard)

MDF is an engineered wood product similar to HDF with lower density. It is stiff, strong, and heavy, and more suitable than HDF for making furniture and home appliances out of wood because of having a lesser density.

Uses: flooring, furniture

 

Plywood

A wooden board consisting of more than two layers glued and compressed is called plywood. Most of the plywood used in constructions consists of layers made of Spruce, Pine, and Fir.

Uses: creating wardrobes, furniture

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