Lauren Balestrieri

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A Little Bit about Wood

There are many wood species available pending your location, needs, function, etc. Below are the main characteristics of a number of wood species. Information collected from many different collections compiled below to give you a better understanding of wood species and what will work pending your exact situation. Beware of the characteristics of each when mixing together as well. This will highly affect the end result of your finished space.



Uses: principle use in furniture, interior parts of upholstered furniture, kitchen cabinets and architect trim and cabinetry.

Straight grained, stiff, strong and hard. Has good bending properties, high shock resistance and wears smooth.



Yellow birch is one of the principal furniture woods in the US. Good machining and finishing properties, hardness and attractive color. Sweet birch lumber and veneer are used in furniture. Both species are used in kitchen cabinets, architectural trim and paneling.

Heavy, hard and strong, good shock resistance.



Popular wood for furniture, cabinetry, architectural wood work and flooring

Heavy, strong, stiff and hard. Ranks high in nail holding ability and shock resistance

Markedly resistant to abrasive wear. Takes stain satisfactorily and is capable of high polish



Both red and white oak are used extensively for furniture and flooring

Most popular wood for kitchen cabinets and widely used in architectural trim, paneling and cabinetry

Hard, stiff, strong and shock resistant. Above average in all machining properties except shaping



Main use of pecan and hickory is in furniture, both in form of lumber and veneer also found in kitchen cabinets, architectural trim and paneling.

Strong, still, very hard, heavy and wry high in shock resistance

Difficult to work with machines. Hickory can be glued satisfactorily but requires close control of gluing conditions



Recent increase in value of red alder and use in furniture

Nonstructural lumber is major use

Most of the lumber used in production of furniture, kitchen cabinets and pallets

Moderately light and soft, its physical and mechanical properties are comparable to other species such as aspen and butternut

Rated low in shock resistance

Uniform texture, excellent for turning and polishing. Takes flue, paint and stain well



Reddish brown color of mahogany heartwood is popular for furniture, cabinets, architectural woodwork and decorative veneers

Easy to work with hand and machine tools, easy to finish and takes polish excellent. Slices and rotary cuts into find veneer.



Used in furniture, cabinets, paneling and fixtures requiring high resistance to acids.

Easily worked with both hand and machine tools and dresses to a smooth finish



Very easy to work with and most varieties are relatively soft, lends itself to carving



Straight, pronounced grain, and reddish brown tint

Most often used for building, inexpensive and can be used for furniture making too

Not most interesting grain pattern and doesn’t take stain very well. Best used when painting. Moderately strong and hard for a softwood



Reddish color to it, relatively soft

Straight grain and slightly aromatic smell