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Types of Wood Used in Woodworking

by Jonathan Logtenberg

When it comes to finding a hobby that you enjoy, you might not know exactly where to start. There are so many different things out there that you could do, and while that is certainly exciting and encouraging, it can also make it difficult for figuring out just what it is you’d like to do with your free time. For some people, sitting down with a good book is the best way to relax. For other folks, working on various projects with their hands is their ideal way for spending the extra hours of the day.

One of the best ways to work with your hands as a nice side hobby is by taking up woodworking. Woodworking is one of the oldest and most interesting arts that you can get involved with, and while it certainly isn’t for everyone, it can turn into a truly wonderful hobby if you find that you’ve got a real knack and interest in the subject. However, having an interest in something and being knowledgeable about it are two entirely different things. Woodworking might sound like an interest prospect to you, but actually figuring out how to get things started might seem like a rather big challenge. One of the most important things to be aware of when woodworking are the different types of wood that are used when taking part in this. There are many different types of wood out there, and each type serves its own unique purpose.

Truly understanding the similarities and differences between these various types will go a long way in helping you with your new hobby in woodworking, and today we’re going to help you get a truly deep and personal understanding of these various wood types. So, without any further ado, let’s get started.

Understanding Softwoods

Softwoods are one of the most common varieties used when woodworking, and while the name of them might give off the inclination that they’re frail and soft, they really aren’t. Softwoods aren’t weaker than hardwoods at all, and they originate from coniferous trees. Some of the most notable coniferous trees are pine and cedar, and these tend to have a bit of a reddish or yellow color hint to them. Since these types of trees usually grow straight and faster than hardwoods, they are must more affordable to work with.


If you’re looking to make furniture with your woodwork, one of the best types of wood that you can use is, undeniably, pine. In areas like the southwest United States, pine is the primary wood product used when it comes to making furniture, and since the majority of different styles that it comes in are quite soft, pine results in being extremely easy to work with.


For projects such as decks, exteriors of buildings, and outdoor furniture, cedar is the most popular and reliable selection of wood. Cedar has a bit of an aroma to it and often has a bit of a reddish color to it, and it’s most popular for outdoor projects because of its resistance to moisture.

Understanding Hardwoods

While hardwoods are definitely pricier than what you’ll find with softwoods, they’re one of the most popular choices for experienced woodworkers. The trees in the hardwood category are much more exotic, and while they can be more difficult to work with, the beauty they possess is absolutely stunning at times.


If you’re concerned about how your woodwork will age overtime, you should opt for cherry. Cherry is one of the best-aging wood types out there, and it absolutely loves stains and finishes with almost all types of oil. Cherry is an excellent choice when building different types of furniture, and it has a truly beautiful look to it. However, because of its tremendous popularity, the cost is going up and the availability is going down. If you can get your hands on it, cherry is an excellent wood to work with. However, actually acquiring it might be more difficult than you’d like.


Oak wood comes in two main varieties: red oak and white oak. Red oak is quite strong, and is one of the most popular woods to work with for furniture. White oak, on the other hand, is popular for building outdoor items because of its resistance to moisture. Oak is considerably more affordable than cherry, but while red oak can be purchased at most home improvement stores, you’ll have to make a trip to your local lumberyard if you want to get your hands on white oak.

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