Wood for Woodworking
Cedar is the most common wood in the western red variety. True to name, the wood does host a reddish coloring as well as a straight grain and light aromatic smell. Cedar is a softwood rated as a 'one' on the 'one to four' scale. Western Red Cedar, although classified as a softwood, is actually one of the most durable and can last through the harshest of elements without rotting, making it a great lumber for outdoor projects such as decks and patio furniture. You can find Western Red Cedar at almost any home center for a moderate price.
- #12 Fir
Fir, or Douglas Fir as it is commonly regarded, is a softwood with a moderately hard rating of a 'four' on the 'one to four' scale. It hosts a reddish brown tint with a straight yet pronounced grain. Although Fir is extremely inexpensive and does not stain well, it is most often utilized in building where it can be hidden or coated with a painted finish. Fir is sometimes utilized to make furniture as well and is a quite tempting lumber to work with because it is so darn inexpensive. Fir can be found at all local home centers.
- #11 Pine
Sugar, Yellow, White, as well as Ponderosa are all classified as Pine. Pine is one of the best woods to utilize in the making of furniture. It is extremely easy to craft and as a softwood, it is relatively receptive to carving. Pine takes very well to staining. It is found in most lumber yards and home centers. Whenever possible, source your Pine from a decent lumber yard rather than from a home center as lumber yards will contain better quality Pine.
- #10 Redwood
Redwood is highly resistant to moisture, making it yet another favorable wood to utilize in outdoor projects. The California Redwood is a softwood and brings in a 'two' on the 'one to four' scale rendering it fairly easy to work with. This moderately priced lumber can be found at all your local home centers.
- #9 Poplar
Poplar is the least expensive hardwood. Not to mention it is fairly soft and easy to work with as it ranks a 'one' on the 'one to five' scale. Typically, Poplar is white in color with brown and green streaked heartwood. Poplar is not the prettiest of woods, thus it is rarely utilized in fine furniture without being painted. Since Poplar is inexpensive and stable, it is widely used in the making of drawers, toys, and smaller woodworking projects. Poplar can be found at some home centers but you will have better luck at a lumber yard.
- #8 Ash
Ash is classified as a hardwood and lies at 'four' on the 'one to five' scale. You can recognize Ash by its pale brown to white coloring and straight grain. Ash stains beautifully and is a great substitute for that of White Oak. Unfortunately, Ash is hard to get your hands on and is only available at larger lumberyards.
- #7 Birch
There are two main varieties of Birch, White and Yellow. White Birch's coloring is much whiter than Yellow Birch and more closely resembles Maple. Yellow Birch can be a pale yellow, white, or even reddish brown. Despite their color differences, each variety of Birch falls at 'four' on the 'one to five' hardness scale. Birch is not only a reliable yet easy lumber to work with, it is also extremely inexpensive and available at home centers as well as lumberyards. While Birch is commonly inexpensive, it is very beautiful and often utilized in the making of fine furniture.
- #6 Cherry
Cherry is a reddish-brown hardwood that lies at 'two' on the 'one to five' scale. It is an all around quality wood that is well liked as it is easy to manage, stains magnificently, and ages gorgeously. Cherry is a very common lumber to utilize in furniture making. Not to mention, it is one of the only hardwoods being sustainably grown in forests. Unfortunately, Cherry wood is solely bought from lumber yards and is quite expensive due to its high demand.
- #5 Mahogany
Mahogany is a great hardwood to utilize when crafting furniture. It falls at 'two' on the 'one to five' hardness scale, hosts a straight grain, and deep reddish brown tint. Mahogany stains very well and is favorable among wood workers. One of the only downfalls of Mahogany is that it is extremely expensive and not being grown in sustainable forests. You must visit a high quality lumberyard to have a chance at purchasing Mahogany wood.
- #4 Maple
There are two varieties of Maple available, hard and soft. Soft Maple is the favored variety of Maple for woodcrafters to work with as Hard Maple reaps a 'five' on the 'one to five' hardness scale causing it to be quite difficult to manage. However, both varieties of Maple are inexpensive and display straight grain at a fine level making them highly stable. While Maple can not be found at home centers, you will find a plethora of it at most lumber yards.
- #3 Oak
There are two varieties of Oak available, White and Red. Both varieties of Oak rank at 'four' on the 'one to five' hardness scale and are typically easy to craft. Furniture making craftsman tend to favor White Oak because it hosts a highly attractive figure and is resistant to moisture. Thus, White Oak can be utilized in crafting both inner and outdoor furniture. White Oak can only be found within a lumber yard but Red Oak can be found at your local home center. In general, Oak is most commonly utilized in furniture and flooring because its grain is adored by all. A special perk to Oak wood is that it can be found sawn in quarters, which is one of the most stable cutting option on today's market. Plus, quarter sawn Oak is less expensive than other hardwoods like Mahogany or Cherry.
- #2 Teak
Prior to its vast unavailability, Teak was the staple lumber utilized in fine outdoor furniture crafting as it is highly water resistant and extremely beautiful. Teak is golden brown in color and ranks at 'three' on the 'one to five' hardness scale. Today, Teak is very expensive due to its rarity and is solely available at specialty suppliers and larger lumber yards.
- #1 Walnut
Walnut is extremely easy to work with and hosts a rich brown coloring. On the hardwood 'one to five' scale, Walnut falls at a 'four'. Walnut is moderately expensive and getting harder and harder to locate. Due to its scarcity, Walnut is usually utilized as an accent or inlay to spruce up a lumber project. Walnut can only be located at larger lumber yards and typically needs to be special ordered.