The Most Common Types of Wood for Home Woodworking Projects

Picking the right kind of wood for your next woodworking project can be a bit difficult, especially if you are a beginner and don’t understand much about the various types of wood you can choose from.

For example, do you choose a hardwood (wood coming from deciduous trees) or a softwood (wood coming from coniferous trees)? What type of grain patterns are you looking for, and what kind of properties do you really want or need in your project?

With this in mind, here is some information about some of the most common types of wood for home woodworking projects, all of which you can easily find at any lumber yard in Houston:

  • Pine: Pine is both cheap and extremely common, making it a popular choice for home woodworking projects. Relative hardness can vary among the different species of pine, but any type of pine is going to be soft and easy to work with. You can use it for everything from general construction projects and rough carpentry to paneling, doors, windows and furniture.
  • Cedar: Cedar has a very distinct scent and is often used for building chests, closets and cabinets. It is also naturally weather resistant, which makes it a popular choice for outdoor furniture and fences.
  • Fir: Fir does not stain particularly well, so it’s best used in projects involving painted surfaces. It is denser than most other types of common softwoods, so it’s frequently used for building and construction. The most common types of 2x4s, for example, are usually Douglas firs. It is very rot resistant, meaning it can be used outdoors as well as indoors.
  • Maple: Maple is popular for making furniture, as it is moderately hard but still quite durable, making it easier to work with than other types of hardwoods. It is also frequently used in hardwood floors.
  • Birch: Birch is easy to stain and, when planed, can have quite a smooth finish. It is not, however, rot resistant or resistant to insects, meaning it should only be used for indoor applications, such as furniture and paneling.
  • Oak: Oak is a constant favorite for making furniture, flooring and paneling. It has beautiful grain patterns and textures. Red oak is frequently found in home centers, but white oak is often favored by serious woodworkers for making furniture projects. Oak is moisture-resistant and can be used in indoor and outdoor projects. The downside is that the wood is both heavy and hard, which can make it a little more difficult to work with for beginners. Still, it is easily nailed and screwed, and it looks great when stained and finished. The price is higher, but not as high as woods like mahogany.
  • Cherry: Another popular hardwood, cherry is commonly used for furniture and cabinets because of its gorgeous natural red hue. While you can certainly stain cherry, many people simply varnish it as is and let the natural colors shine through.

For more information about popular types of wood, contact a lumber yard in Houston.