7 best wood for shelves

Which is the best wood for shelves?

wood for shelves

Before starting your woodworking project and make different kinds of bookshelves, wall shelves, and other types of shelves, there are some key factors to consider. So read until the end of this article to find out which is the best type of wood for shelves.


To make your bedroom, living room, office, or any other area inside your house look way more beautiful and well designed, you will probably need to have some shelves installed on the walls. Wooden shelves can make your room look fresher and also hold objects such as books, home appliances, toys, and other things.


Choosing the right type of wood for shelves is not a difficult thing to do. You have to keep some factors in mind. Note that the wood you use to make a shelf has to be


  • Durable

  • Inexpensive

  • Easy to cut

  • Easy to paint


If the cost of materials and wood does not matter to you, Mahogany, Walnut, Koa, and African Padauk are the best wood for shelves as long as they offer high durability and strength so that they can easily hold heavy loads and objects.



Good workability, moderate durability, and a reddish color make this type of wood pretty suitable for making shelves that can be subjected to heavy loads. Expensive boards which run from $5 to $30 per board foot might be considered as a downside for Mahogany when it comes to choosing this type of wood for shelves.



The unique color and high durability make Walnut the second expensive choice for making wooden shelves after Mahogany. You don’t need to paint this type of wood as long as it has a perfect color. You may only need to apply a finish to make your shelf and décor in absolute harmony.


African Padauk

Despite being heavy, African Padauk is a good type of wood for shelves because it’s easy to work with. Thanks to its high durability, you can put heavy objects and loads on it. African Padauk holds screws and nails well. By the way, its gluing properties are acceptable for making shelves.



Koa trees are rarely found in the world. With that being said, the cost of lumber is a bit high. Because of having greater strength and stiffness than Walnut, Koa wood is highly appreciated by woodworkers for making bookshelves. It has a unique color and can be used without applying any paints to it.



The thing that makes Pinewood very popular for making shelves is being inexpensive and readily available. Another winner option is that it has a good finish and because of being soft, you can cut it easily. You can also apply paint to Pine easily, but to be honest, the wood itself looks great! You can find more properties and features about Pine in our article.

Pinewood won’t give you good durability because of being soft, so you have to beware of the load you’re going to subject the shelf to. It can only hold light objects, but if you add additional support or have thicker cuts, it can hold heavier loads.


Western Red Cedar

A unique red-colored softwood that can be readily cut and painted. Although red cedar is softwood, carpenters use it a lot to make shelves due to its properties and being moderately durable. On the other hand, red cedar is well-known for being weather-resistant that makes it ideal for making shelves that are used and installed outside the building. The cost for this type of wood can vary from low in the Pacific Northwest region to medium and even high in some countries.



Redwood has a creamy-white to yellow color. it is capable of a clean finish, capable of being painted, glued, stained. This type of wood has moisture-resistant properties that make it widely used among woodworkers and house designers. It is highly durable but easy to work with.



wood for shelves

Shelves play a significant role in our houses. They make rooms look much more beautiful and fresher. Don’t forget that we place objects and our home appliances on shelves. So except for the appearance and the color, there are plenty of options one has to take into account. When choosing a type of wood for shelves features like durability, cost, and being finishable are of paramount importance.

There is no right or wrong option to choose between the above woods mentioned for making shelves. Depending on what a woodworker needs and which is the most important thing, the right type of wood for shelves might be different.

Now that you’ve found out which is the right type of wood for making shelves, you can learn more about different types of wood in another interesting post on our website.