How To Tell Wood Types

There are different wood varieties out there. A tree species is classified by its bark, leaves, seeds, fruits etc. but there are times that identifying a tree species through its wood type is more reliable.

Each wood has its own natural beauty, it also has unique physical properties that determine its own suitability for different uses.

Wood plays a major role in the production of fuel, in the field of architecture, for construction purposes and a lot more.

In this article, we’ll talk about the classification, characteristics and different types of wood.

What You’ll Need to Follow This Tutorial

Aside from your senses, you need a wood type chart or some sort if you are not familiar with the different types of wood yet. You can find one online, so just print it for your reference. If you need to test moisture, a moisture meter is also recommended.

Steps in Recognizing Wood

Step 1

The first step is to determine and confirm if it is really a piece of wood and not a synthetic piece of plastic-like wood. You can easily distinguish a real wood from a synthetic through annual growth rings. A way of knowing if you are holding a real piece of wood is by checking the end piece of the wood it should match the direction of the grain.

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Step 2

After confirming if it is a wood, check the color if it is natural or stained. Real woods tend to darken with age. Some woods turn into blond gray color while some tend to get redder. Visual identification for the color is a bit tedious because there are some wood types that stain as it ages.

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Step 3

Look at the grain pattern. The texture of the grain determines what kind of wood it is. A wood has an open, porous texture. Softwoods are usually smooth with no grain pattern while hardwood usually has an open pore structure that is quite rough and sticky.

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Wood Characteristics

A. Hardness and Weight

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There are two types of wood, the hardwood, and the softwood.

The hardwoods are flowering trees such as walnuts, oak, and maple. It has a dense wood fiber that has fire-resistance properties.

Softwoods are conifers such as cypress, pine, redwood, and cedar. The hardness of the wood measures how the surface is resistant to dents or scratches and it determines the wood’s durability.

B. Wood Grain and Color

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These characteristics are the most distinguished identity of a wood. The type and arrangement of the grain determine its physical appearance. Hardwood has bold grain lines while softwood has a little to no grain pattern.

There are 3 types of grain pattern identification these are the face-grain, end-grain, and the side-grain.

For the color, hardwood lines appear to have a shade of dark brown to black while softwood appears to have shades of yellow, tan or amber.

Woods with a distinct wood grain pattern is valuable while weaker and indistinct pattern are usually stained to give it a character.

Popular Wood types

a. Mahogany

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Mahogany Wood is considered as the traditional type of wood because of its versatility. It is an expensive type of wood. The color depends on its age ranging between medium brown to deep red-brown.

b. Maple wood

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Maple Wood is considered as the heaviest and more durable among the different types of wood. It has a moisture-resistant property that is why it can withstand wear and tear.

c. Ash

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Ash Wood is popular for its bending abilities even though it has an unpleasant smell. It is color light brown with straight grain.

d. Red Oak

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Oak Wood is a popular wood for its hardness and heaviness. This type of wood best suits cabinetry and kitchen furniture. It has two shades: the greyish/brownish in color and the reddish tint.

e. Beech

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Beech Wood is a popular wood for furniture because of its shock and abrasion resistance properties. This type of wood is well-loved by carpenters because it is flexible and it has an elegant wood finish.

f. Pine

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Pine Wood is one of the cheapest and lightweight wood that is very common to household finishes because it is great for staining. But since it is a softwood it is prone to scratches.

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Conclusion

You don’t need to be a wood enthusiast to have a knowledge about wood identification. Wood identification can be deciding factor whether you would nourish or throw a wood. If you have a knowledge about wood it will help you answer your simple questions such as “What is the best furniture that can last?” “What is the suitable wood for our furniture?”

Sources:

https://www.dwell.com/article/wood-identification-pine-oak-maple-walnut-cherry-2a2cdda6
https://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/home-diy/projects/guide-to-furniture-woods-ga.htm
https://www.core77.com/posts/38585/Three-Ways-to-Identify-Different-Wood-Types

  • January 5, 2019
  • DIY
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