Wood Types



Alder – Red alder, a relative of birch, is almost white when freshly cut but quickly changes on exposure to air, becoming light brown with a yellow or reddish tinge. Heartwood is formed only in trees of advanced age and there is no visible boundary between sap and heartwood. The wood is fairly straight-grained with a uniform texture. Red Alder is a relatively soft hardwood of medium density. When stained, it blends with walnut, mahogany or cherry and is very attractive with a light or natural finish. Hardness and durability – 4.

Ash – The sapwood is light-colored to nearly white and the heartwood varies from grayish or light brown, to pale yellow streaked with brown. The wood is generally straightgrained with a coarse uniform texture.

Cherry – The heartwood of cherry varies from rich red to reddish brown and will darken with age and on exposure to light. In contrast, the sapwood is creamy white. The wood has a fine uniform, straight grain, satiny, smooth texture, and may naturally contain brown pith flecks and small gum pockets. Accepts stain well and takes on a rich patina with age. Hardness and durability – 6.

Hard Maple – The sapwood is creamy white with a slight reddish brown tinge and the heartwood varies from light to dark reddish brown. The amount of darker brown heartwood can very significantly according to growing regions. Both sapwood and heartwood can contain pith fleck. The wood has a close fine, uniform texture and is generally straight-grained, but it can also occur as “curly,” “fiddle-back,” and “birds-eye” figure. The wood is heard and heavy with good strength properties, in particular its high resistance to abrasion and wear. Can be stained, however grain should be raised to allow darker stains to penetrate. Hardness and durability – 9.

Hickory – Hickory is the hardest, heaviest and strongest American wood. The sapwood of hickory is white, tinged with inconspicuous fine brown lines while the heartwood is pale to reddish brown. Both are coarse-textured and the grain is fine, usually straight but can be wavy or irregular. Can be stained, but is mostly chosen for its contrasting colors that are best revealed by a natural finish. Hardness and durability – 9.

Knotty (White) Pine – Knotty pine is a soft wood typified by the random appearance of knots. It has a relatively subdued grain pattern and will very in color from a light yellow to a more mid-tone yellow. Due to its particularly soft and porous nature, knotty pine is not receptive to darker stain colors. Likewise, this very nature can occasionally cause “dry” areas in the finish where top-coat has been absorbed by the wood substrate. Knotty pine will sometimes display a characteristic called “Blue Stain”. This is a natural reaction within the wood itself, where small dark blue spots may become apparent. It may also exhibit some pitch bleed out, which will result in the finish feeling somewhat “textured”. All these characteristics lend to knotty pine’s historic charm. Hardness and durability – 2.

Lyptus – A New Kind Of Wood And Eco-Friendly Too. Lyptus is a trademark name given to a wood produced in Brazil and marketed by Weyerhauser. It’s the product of a hybrid tree that’s a combination of two species of Eucalyptus (hence the origin of the “lyptus” name). Lyptus was developed to provide a wood source that includes the beneficial traits of hardwoods and the fast-growing characteristics of Eucalyptus. The result is a hardwood tree that matures and is ready for harvest in about 15 years, much less time than it takes for other hardwood species to reach this same point. It also regenerates from the remains of the harvested tree.

The trees are grown on plantations for the specific purpose of producing commercial hardwood. In that sense, there’s no risk of deforestation of sensitive land or endangered tree species.

This farm-like approach and fast regeneration make Lyptus a highly renewable and sustainable resource and an Eco-friendly choice for cabinet material. It’s a hard wood, equivalent to maple, making it durable and resistant to dings and dents. Lyptus wood is frequently compared to mahogany, based on similarities to the latter’s color and grain. It’s natural color includes shades of pink to dark red although it can be stained to achieve different hues from lighter red tones to darker brown. For that reason, plus the fact that it’s also photosensitive (darkens with exposure to light), it’s also compared to cherry. Hardness and durability – 7.

Poplar – The sapwood is creamy white and maybe streaked, with the heartwood varying from pale yellowish brown to olive green. The green color in the heartwood will tend to darken on exposure to light and turn brown. The wood has a medium to fine texture, is straight grained, and has a comparatively uniform texture. A medium density wood that takes and holds paint, enamel and stain exceptionally well.

Red Oak – The sap wood of red oak is white to light brown and the heartwood is a pinkish reddish brown. The wood is similar in general appearance to white oak, but with a slightly less pronounced figure due to the smaller rays. The wood is mostly straight-grain, with a coarse texture. The wood is hard and heavy, with great wear-resistance. It can be stained with a wide range of finish tones and looks great with a natural finish. Hardness and durability – 7.

Soft Maple – In most respects soft maple is very similar to hard maple. Generally the sapwood is grayish white, sometimes with darker colored pith flecks. The heartwood varies from light to dark reddish brown. The wood is usually straight-grained. Soft maple is about 25 percent less heard than hard maple, can be stained, and is well suited to enamel finishes.

Walnut – The sapwood of walnut is creamy white, while the heartwood is light brow to dark chocolate brown, occasionally with a purplish cast and darker streaks. The wood develops a rich patina that grows more lustrous with age. Walnut is usually supplied steamed, to darken sapwood. The wood is generally straight-grain, but sometimes with wavy or curly grain that produces an attractive and decorative figure. This species produces a greater variety of figure types than any other. Walnut is a tough hardwood of medium density, that stains very well for an exceptional finish. Hardness and durability – 7.

West Coast Maple – Its color is pale pinkish-brown to almost white. Generally there is no marked difference between heartwood and sapwood. Its fine grain is similar to birch and cherry with respect to growth ring contrast. Has medium density, but is slightly harder than eastern soft maple. Can be sanded, stained or painted to a good finish. Hardness and durabililty – 6.

White Oak – The sapwood is light-colored and the heartwood is light to dark brown. White is mostly straight-grained with a medium to coarse texture, with longer rays than red oak. White oak therefore has more figure. A hard and heavy wood that can be stained with a wide range of finish tones.

Hardness Scale
0                                                 5                                                 10
Soft                                                                                      Very Hard