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Know the Difference Between Types of Wood

With the varieties of wood available today, it’s hard to know what will be the best type for your next project. There are softwoods, hardwoods, different colors and grain patterns, and each comes with various pros and cons for use.


To give you a better idea of the types of wood available, here is a list of common types:



Wood Description Type of Wood Uses
Cedar Usually reddish in color, with a straight grain and a slightly aromatic smell Softwood – Relatively soft, (1 on a scale of 1 to 4) Because it can handle moist environments without rotting, it’s used in outdoor projects like furniture, decks and building exteriors
Fir Straight, pronounced grain with a reddish- brown tint to it Softwood – fairly strong (4 on a scale of 1 to 4) Most often used in building and occasionally in furniture, it doesn’t take stain well
Cherry Heartwood is reddish-brown in color and the sapwood is almost white Hardwood – Somewhat soft (2 on scale of 1 to 5) Commonly used in furniture making, Cherry is also available from sustainably grown forests
Mahogany Reddish-brown to deep-red tint with straight grain Hardwood – Somewhat soft (2 on a scale of 1 to 5) Stains very well and excellent choice of wood for furniture making, however it’s expensive
Maple Sapwood is a light brown color and the heartwood is a deeper brown with a reddish tint, it is a fine and straight grain wood Both hard and soft – Hard Maple is very hard (5 on scale of 1 to 5) Can be used in furniture such as shelves, paneling and cabinets. Also can be used as flooring because it is strong, dense and shock resistant
Red Oak Zig-zag pattern with broad grain and the heartwood is slightly pink Hardwood – very strong (4 on a scale of 1 to 5) Used in furniture making indoors, such as moldings, trim, cabinets and flooring
White Oak Dray gray to whitish-gray, it is more attractive than red oak, straighter with a tighter grain pattern Hardwood – Harder than red oak (5 on a scale of 1 to 5) Used in furniture making, as well as fine furnishings, handles and church pews. Because of its resistance to moisture it can also be used for outdoor furniture
Poplar White in color with some green or brown streaks Hardwood –Very soft for a hardwood (1 on scale of 1 to 5) Easy to work with, but not the most attractive of woods, it is sometimes used for drawers where it won’t be seen
Walnut Rich brown in color, it is hard, heavy, strong and durable. The grain is mostly straight and open Hardwood – relatively hard (4 on a scale 1 to 5) Found in flooring, veneer, paneling, fixtures, furniture and cabinets and used in accents or inlays to add elegance to a project




Whether it’s oak, maple, mahogany or anything in between, Creative Millwork can help you find the right wood to fit your needs. We strive to use only the best materials from start to finish creating a high quality, elegant product that fits your home. Call today to schedule an appointment at (630) 762-0002.

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One Response to Know the Difference Between Types of Wood

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