Types Of Lumber Woodworking

Does the Type of Lumber Matter for a Woodworking Project?


Have you ever thought of the type of lumber to use for woodworking? If you are just starting out on a woodworking project, you are likely still unaware of the many different types of wood to use. There are two types of wood used for wood making projects; soft wood and hard wood. Each of these has their specific advantages and disadvantages, and a good woodworker has to know these by heart. A beginner woodworker has to have a keen understanding of the right lumber, the corresponding tools and the right technique to use for every type.

The type of lumber matters indeed when it comes to woodworking projects. This is so because different types of wood have corresponding properties. Wood comes in varying strengths, ability to retain stains and the ability to bend, change shape and be worked on with tools and therefore you need to choose the best type of wood for your particular project. Here are some of the most common types of lumber used in woodworking and their properties.

Soft Wood

The term “soft wood” does not mean that the wood is softer than hardwood. Softwood is wood from coniferous trees which usually look yellow or reddish. Softwood trees like fir, cedar, and pine typically grow straighter and faster than hardwoods making this type less expensive than hardwoods

There are sustainably-grown softwoods from tree farms. This way, farmers make sure that there is an endless supply of softwood for different types of wooden projects and constructions. Therefore you must choose sustainably-grown softwood to avoid contributing to deforestation.


Cedar is a very popular type of softwood and the most common is the western red variety. It has a reddish color and is soft with a straight grain. When cut, it gives off an aromatic smell. Red cedar is mostly used for outdoor wooden projects including patio furniture and decks because it can handle cold, wet and hot environments without deforming or rotting.


Fir or Douglas fir has a straight grain with a reddish-brown color and is used in building homes, fences and other outdoor projects. It does not stain well, and therefore it is your choice if you are going to paint the final product. The Douglas fir is strong and is as hard for softwood. It is readily available from any woodworking shop or store.


There are many varieties of pine, and the most common are White, Ponderosa, Sugar and Yellow. Pine is commonly the first choice in constructing furniture, indoor wooden accents, wooden décor and more. It is easy to carve pine and is easy to use in any project. It takes stains well after a good seal.


Redwood is mostly used for outdoor woodworking projects because it can resist moisture Vetter than other wood types. It is soft with a straight grain with a reddish hue. Most woodworkers love to work with redwood because it is soft and is moderately-priced. It is available in most hardware and home centers.


Hardwoods are lumber that comes with a variety of textures, colors and grain patterns. These unique characteristics make exotic and interesting furniture pieces. Hardwoods are not usually available in local home décor centers and hardware centers. You may try your luck and find good hardwood to choose from in a large lumberyard.


Ash is a type of lumber that has a white to light brown color and a straight grain. Ash is easy to work with and can stain well. It is available in a lumberyard to find good ash for your project.


There are yellow and white birch wood and are readily available at most home centers and lumberyards which are why most woodworkers choose birch for different kinds of wooden projects at home. Birch is also hard to stain usually resulting in a blotchy appearance which is why most birch furniture is painted.


Cherry stains well, are easy to work with and will age well. It has a reddish-brown color with white sapwood. This type of lumber is commonly used in furniture-making and is available from forests and sustainable lumberyards.


This wood has a deep red tint with a straight grain. It stains well and looks great no matter how much oil you put on it. Mahogany is a good wood to use, but it is not grown in sustainable forests.


Maple comes in soft and hard varieties and is harder than most types of hardwood. It is one of the hardest wood to work with because of their fine straight grain. Maple is one of the least expensive hardwood varieties, and you will find a wide variety of maple in a lumberyard.


Oak is available in two varieties: red and white. Red is strong and is easy to work with. White is used for constructing furniture and is more attractive than its red variety. Oak resists moisture, and this is why it is used in outdoor furniture making.


This type of hardwood is one of the less expensive. Poplar is soft and therefore easier to work with. It has a beautiful grain making it one of the loveliest wood to work with. Poplar is stable, inexpensive.


This type of lumber is mostly used for furniture making because it is durable, easy to work with and is easy to stain. It has a rich brown color and therefore works great as an accent to dress up any wooden project. Walnut wooden panels are available in most lumberyards and small pieces. Large ones, as well as large orders, may need to be preordered.


There is no doubt about it that the type of lumber affects the outcome of a woodworking project. Outdoor furniture is made using sturdier wood which is incapable of rotting and taking in too much moisture. Wood used in constructing homes, sheds, doors, gates, and fences have to be strong and durable and therefore picking a good type of wood matters a lot.

Anyone who would like to embark on a woodworking project needs to be aware of the different types of lumber including the pros and cons of using a particular type of wood. Having a good knowledge of these helps a woodworker analyzes the ideal wood for their projects for a favorable outcome.

As someone new to woodworking, you must take the time to learn all about different types of lumber and to at least try to use one as you go along. Talk to a professional or discuss these over forums to get more updated and invaluable information.