A Survey of Popular Woods

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These pages contain detailed descriptions of a few of the most popular woodworking woods.

This is by no means a complete list of those woods which are available, since commercially available wood species number into the thousands, and more species are becoming available as older species become scarce in some parts of the world.  Also, the information here does not necessarily apply to those "woods" used in mass produced furniture, since the wood names or colors are often arbitrarily chosen.  Thus, a cabinet that is called "Colonial Maple" could be made from birch or pine with a yellowish brown stain.

It would also be a good idea to view the toxic woods page before working with any given wood species, especially imported species.  Many woods contain chemicals that individuals might be sensitive to or that are irritants or even toxic to humans.  Working with these species requires special care to mitigate the hazards associated with exposure to the wood, bark, sap, sanding dust, etc.

There are a lot of pictures on each page, so if you have a slow connection, try changing the settings of your browser so it only shows a picture if you tell it to.

C H O O S E   A   S E C T I O N
Apple Bullet A-B Apple Bullet C-M Apple Bullet N-P  Apple Bullet Q-Z

Entry Format:

Common Name (The U.S. industry standard, or the most prevalent)

[A color photo of  the heartwood,
approximately life-size]

Scientific name
Type: (Hardwood or Softwood)  Origin: (Country or Region)
Weight: ( in pounds per board foot*)  Cost: (relative)
Color (typical heartwood color & grain texture)
Common Uses
Working Properties: (How easy it is to work, special characteristics, how well it accepts finishes.)

Other notes & comments.

* One board foot = 12" x 12" x 1" = 1 ft2 x 1" thick = 144 in3
Board feet are abbreviated as "bd. ft." or "b.f."   I use weight per board foot for convenience.  This way, you can calculate the number of board feet of lumber used in a given project, and will then be able to quickly estimate its weight, lumber cost, and square footage of surface area to be finished.

† Typical cost for top grades (e.g., FAS) of 4/4 stock.
Inexpensive, $1-4/b.f.;
Moderate, $3-10/b.f.;
Somewhat Expensive, $7-15/b.f.;
Expensive, up to $25/b.f.;
Very Expensive, over $25/b.f. (often as high as $50-$100/b.f.).