Know Your Wood!
Know Your Wood!
Looking to bring a natural feel to your work space? We all know wood is the prime material for construction and furniture manufacturing, but who knew there was so much to it? Each species has its own unique properties that are as unique as your own fingerprint. With so many to choose from, you're sure to find something that fits your exact tastes and budget. Here are some basics to help you decide.
For starters, there are two classifications for wood: soft and hard wood. The main difference between the two types is how they grow.
Softwood comes from gymnosperm trees, such as Cedar, Fir, Pine, and Redwood. A great advantage of softwood trees is that they grow relatively fast and you can find it in sustainable forests. It has a lighter color to it, yellow or reddish. These trees are easier to find in home centers and are generally less expensive.
Hardwood, on the other hand, comes from angiosperm trees, such as Cherry, Mahogany, Maple, and Oak. These types of trees take much longer to grow and since many of them are not grown in sustainable forests, it is becoming rare and very expensive.
There are plenty of uses for both softwood and hardwood - both can be widely used for construction, flooring, decking and furniture. And what better way to spruce up your office space than with a natural hardwood floor or a beautiful hand crafted board room table? Bring the outdoors in with an awe-inspiring natural look. Let's take a look at some of the most commonly used wood types and their most familiar applications.
Softwood: This type of wood is widely used because it is readily available in the market and is very inexpensive. There is a noticeable difference in quality compared to hardwood species, but the cheaper quality is offset by the lower cost, plus this sort of mass production is not contributing to deforestation and extinction of trees. According to Electric Saw HQ 80% of the wood used in housing and furniture is softwood. The most commonly used softwoods are:
- Cedar – generally used for outdoor furniture and decks - rot resistant and equipped to withstand the elements, especially moisture, without deteriorating.
- Fir – mostly used for building construction, but can also be used for furniture.
- Pine – largely used in furniture because of its malleable properties; easy to shape and stains very well.
- Redwood – perfect for outdoor projects because of its resistant to moisture.
Hardwood: Now we're talking premium grade, luxury wood class options for woodworkers. Hardwoods have a large variety of colors, textures, grain patterns, plus they are very high quality, durable, and weather resistant. Since these are all natural woods, they do not come from sustainable forests and can be very expensive. The most commonly used hardwoods are:
- Cherry – very popular, easy to work with, and mostly used in furniture making.
- Mahogany – beautiful wood, mostly used for furniture, boats, and musical instruments.
- Maple – mainly used for furniture making, but also used in bowling alley lanes and baseball bats.
- Oak – commonly used for flooring and furniture, but because of its moisture resistance, it is also used for outdoor furniture.