Woodworking Lumber

5 Common Types of Wood for Woodworking

Common Types of Wood for Woodworking

Woodworking professionals are very familiar with the many types of wood that are available for woodworking. They are also aware that these different types of wood have different characteristics, properties and qualities.  If you’re a beginner, choosing the right wood for your project can be a bit overwhelming.

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When starting a project, it’s crucial to understand all the characteristics for the wood that you choose.  This increases the chances of your woodworkingprojects turning out successfully in the end. For example, cedar and redwood have a high tolerance to moisture and naturally repel insects. If you were building a deck or outdoor furniture, both are a great choice. Conversely, most other types of wood cannot tolerate high amounts of moisture and will rot rather quickly.   Needless to say, every seasoned or otherwise type of woodworker should always consider the different types of wood into their woodworking plans. But how does a beginner know which to consider?  

There is good news! You don’t have to learn every type of wood available.  Like everything you start by building a good foundation.  In other words, you should make yourself familiar with the 5 most commonly used and most readily available types of wood.  You will find that a least one of them is an appropriate, if not good choice for most woodworking plans.  As you gain more experience as a woodworker you can explore the less common, sometimes exotic types of word, like bamboo and walnut.  


Below, I have listed the 5 most common woods used in woodworking along with a brief explanation of each.  Understanding them thoroughly is the core of a woodworking foundation.

Here they are!


oak grain pattern

Oak is a high-density hardwood, in other words, it’s very hard and very strong. Working with oak can be a bit challenging.  Once you the hang of it, oak produces a final product of the highest quality.  In addition to its strength and durability, oak has both beautiful grain markings.  It has a natural resistance to insects and fungus due to its high tannin levels.      

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Pine is one of the most used woods in woodworking. Like most softwoods, pine grows fast and straight.  It can be turned into lumber in much shorter time frame than its hardwood cousins.  As a result, it boasts a more economical price tag. Pine’s soft texture makes it easy to saw, and drill. It takes stain easily and comes is several varieties. From Sugar, White, Yellow and Ponderosa, there are a number of varieties to choose from though yellow is the most popular because of it light coloring.


Cedar Wood Grain

Cedar, just like pine, is categorized as softwood. Softwoods are usually softer, but not necessarily weaker than hardwoods. Notably, softwoods such as Cedar and pine come from trees that are coniferous. 

Cedar is often red in color and is known for its straight grain characteristics. Moreover, other than their distinguishable and attractive color, their aromatic smell adds to their advantageous nature. Because of high tolerance to moisture and its natural ability to repel insects, this type of wood is best used for woodworking projects, such as decks and outdoor furniture.


redwood wood grain

Redwood shares the same moister tolerance and insect resistance as cedar.  It too is also a great choice for outdoor projects like decks and outdoor furniture.  Also, a softwood, it ranges in color from a light pinkish-brown to dark reddish-brown.  Redwood has a coarse texture and a low nature luster.  



Maple wood grain

Maple can either be the soft or hard variety. The soft variety is very easy to carve and drill, hence, easy to work with. It is an ideal choice for anyone new to woodworking;

If you are a more seasoned woodworker, you can work with the harder variety of Maple wood. Notably, the harder variety is extremely hard and may be difficult to work with. Regardless of the variety, maple is stable and is known for making exceptional pieces of furniture.  It can be used in a number of woodwork projects.

In conclusion, there are a variety of other woods, either hard or soft to choose from. The most important thing to do is to learn about the different wood types that are available. This way, you can choose the best type of wood to suit your woodworking projects or woodworking plans

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