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Wood working Project Plans
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Types of Wood

 

There are several factors to take into consideration when trying to decide  the type of wood to use when building furniture. 

#1. Is this furniture for the inside or the outside?

#2.  Is it going to be stained or painted or no protective coating?

#3.  What type of wood is available in your area?

#4.  The cost of the wood?

#5.  How easy is the wood to work with?

  • There are hundreds of wood types, and Different woods have different hues or ranges of color in their natural state. Any color stain, which is applied to wood will mix with the natural color of the wood to produce a modified hue from the original stain. All wood darkens with age over time. Sometimes, one type of wood is stained to resemble another. For example, Birch, while often finished natural, is sometimes stained to resemble mahogany, walnut, or maple.

    All wood species are made of 60% cellulose and 28% lignin that are responsible for making up the fibrous and woody cell walls of plants and trees. These substances are held together by cementing properties. The wood species are distinct from each other on the basis of their individual consistencies and color variations that comprise of remaining 12%. Still other variances are the result of the different ways in which the wood is sawed and cured.

    Below is a list of popular woods...

    Alder (Painted)
    Alder is a tight-grained hardwood that is used in fine furniture and noted for its ability to be painted. It is prized for its durability and strength, and it is relatively stable during moisture variations. It ranks third behind oak and pine as the wood most commonly used for ready-to-finish furniture. Alder gives the look of many fine hardwoods at a reasonable price.

    Cedar (Western Red Cedar)
    Western Red Cedar is a fine-grain, dimensionally stable wood that is naturally weather resistant. With minimal care, our Cedar pieces will provide a lifetime of service and charm. Western Red Cedar contains natural oils that act as preservatives to help the wood resist insect attack and decay. Properly finished and maintained, Western Red Cedar ages gracefully and endures for many years.

    The wood is uniform red to brown in color but fades to a silver gray when used externally. It is relatively soft wood which can be easily marked and has a distinctive aroma. The grain is usually straight and displays prominent growth rings. Cedar needs to be re-stained every season in order to avoid fading to silver gray.

    Western Red Cedar is, above all, a wood of exceptional beauty. In its natural, unfinished state, it has a richly textured, tactile grain combined with a palette of warm, mellow tones ranging from light amber to deep honey brown. No man-made material can duplicate the depth of cedar's natural luster. It also remains subtly aromatic, and the characteristic fragrance of cedar adds another dimension to its universal appeal.

    Beauty aside, the purely practical, dollars-and-cents value of cedar offers other benefits:

    • It is a light weight wood that is easy to handle.
    • Indoors, cedar's dimensional stability makes it perfectly suited to a variety of uses in high moisture areas such as cottages, sun rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, saunas, and greenhouses.
    • It is free of pitch and resin and it finishes to a richly glowing surface that can be enhanced with transparent or full-bodied stains or with paint. Cedar is the preferred material for all outdoor garden applications that seek visual harmony with the landscape.

    Cypress
    Cypress is a beautiful, distinctive and durable wood that assures years of trouble-free satisfaction and its uses reflect that. In addition to rugged outdoor furniture, cypress is regularly used in building construction, posts, beams, decks, docks, porch flooring, greenhouses and siding. Because of its durability, cypress can be used in many of the same products as cedar and redwood. The reason for this durability is natural preservative oil known as "cypress" which gives the wood resistance to insect attack and rot.

    Cypress is all but indestructible. It is a close grain wood that resists checking and warping and it is long-lasting as well as weather resistant. Cypress can be easily painted and holds paint longer than other wood. If you choose to paint this product, you should use an exterior oil-based primer (white or gray) followed by an exterior oil or latex paint of your choice. If you choose to have the product remain natural, you should apply a natural oil-based stain or preservative annually or as needed. Note: Cypress is a dense wood and the drying process may take several days depending on humidity and temperature. Small cracks called weather checking may appear in the wood. This is a natural process and will not affect the useful life of this product.

    Mahogany
    Mahogany is a fine-grain, tropical hardwood that is easily maintained and is insect, fungus and rot resistant. It is a hard and strong wood comparable in strength to Oak and Teak, and is much more scratch resistant than Cedar or Pine. With the best regards for our environment we take every effort to ensure that our Mahogany is sourced from well-managed permanent forests that allocate re-plantation.

    Mahogany is selected for durability and decay resistance to maintain their natural beauty even under the varying weather conditions. Mahogany furniture seasons/weathers well with minimal shrinkage and checking. In Malaysian government tests, this wood was found to last up to 30 years when stakes of Meranti were driven into the ground. As a hardwood it holds fasteners well and it is environmentally nontoxic.

    Mahogany can be painted, oiled, or leave natural. When left untreated it weathers to a soft gray. If treated, it should be treated with finish products meant for softer woods because Mahogany is a dense wood. A yearly application is recommended, or as weather conditions dictate.

    Pine
    Pine is a soft wood that comes in many varieties from various parts of the world. In the U.S., Eastern white pine, ponderosa pine and sugar pine are some of the varieties used to make furniture.

    • All have yellow coloring with brown knots and are excellent for staining.
    • Staining and protective finish is recommended annually.
    • Pine is also generally light in weight.
    • Suitable for outdoor use and resistant to rot, decay, and destructive insects.

    Redwood
    Being light in weight, Redwood is durable and easy to work with. It has a natural resistance to decay and is good for making outdoor furniture, fencing, house siding, interior finishing, veneering and paneling.

  • Teak
    Teak is a hard and moisture- resistant wood variety. It resists warping, cracking and decay and is best used in fine furniture, paneling, shipbuilding, doors, window framing, flooring and general construction.  Teak is considered to be the premier wood used for garden furniture because it is heavy, durable, rot-resistant, maintenance-free, and does not splinter. It does not have to be sealed, stained, or finished. It can be left outdoors untreated and withstand the elements for years. After a couple of seasons in the sun, teak weathers from a warm honey brown to an attractive silvery gray.

    Oak
    An exclusive variety of hardwood, Oak possesses good bending qualities in addition to its durability. It finishes well and resists moisture absorption. The hardwood is good for furniture, trimming, boat framing, desks and flooring.

    Maple
    Maple is a finely textured wood variety with immense strength and hardness. With moderate shrinkage, this lumber machines well and is best used in flooring, fine furniture and woodenware such as bowling alleys.

    Cherry
    Being close-grained, this type of hardwood resists warping and shrinking. The wood has a distinct feature of reddening, when exposed to sunlight. It ages well and is extensively used in cabinet making, boat trim, novelties and solid furniture handles.