Which Wood Should I Use For My Project?

Choosing the best wood species for your project goes a long way toward ensuring success.

Different species naturally lend themselves better to the types of machining required for a project, as well as the overall look.  For example, project parts that incorporate decorative edge profiles may be easier to shape using softwood, but ultimately harder, more straight-grained wood will stand up better over time.

Cost and local availability are also important determining factors. If you’re building outdoors, cedar is generally an inexpensive wood choice in the Upper Midwest, but on the West Coast redwood is typically more economical, and in the South you’ll likely save money by building with cypress.

When choosing wood pay particular attention to the tone of the wood when a finish is applied.  To get a good idea what the finished color will be, simply dampen a small section of planed board with mineral spirits or rubbing alcohol.

WALNUT has rich, dark tones when top-coated. Grain is relatively straight. Moderately easy to work. Moderate to expensive. 

MAPLE is a light-colored hardwood with straight, tight grain. Hardness makes it durable, but somewhat difficult to work. Inexpensive to moderate. 

ASH is a readily available, inexpensive hardwood.  It’s color and grain are not distinguishing, but it can be finished to replicate more expensive hardwoods.

RED OAK is one of the more inexpensive and prevalent wood species in today’s marketplace. Has dramatic grain figure and warm red color. Fairly easy to work.

CHERRY has a deep, reddish brown color when finished (color varies greatly between heartwood and sapwood). It is hard and tends to be brittle. Occasionally splotchy when finished. Moderate to expensive.

PINE is a very general species term used to refer to most coniferous softwood. It ranges from white to yellow according to species. Generally easy to work with strong grain patterns. Inexpensive to moderate.

WHITE OAK is a versatile hardwood with a distinctive appearance. Used extensively in furniture-building, as well as in boat-building. it is moderate in price (quarter-sawn tends to be higher cost). Moderate workability.

YouTube Video Tip: Hit the gear button to speed up the playback to watch the video faster.

Choosing The Correct Wood for your Project

Subscribe to Doing it With jason on Youtube

Choosing the correct wood to use for a project is important. In this woodworking basics episode, I will show you the different types of wood that is available From hardwood, softwood, plywood to even mdf.

What Kind of Wood Should You Build With?

Subscribe to Steve Ramsey – Woodworking for Mere Mortals on Youtube

Confused by all the wood choices for woodworking? Here is all the basic info you need to get started buying lumber.

Choose The Best Wood For Your Project

Subscribe to Rex Krueger on Youtube

Recommended Posts:

woodworking resources
STOP Making Out-Dated Table Saw Sleds, Do This Instead