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A Guide To The Different Types Of Wood

January 24, 2022 2 min read

If you’re a novice woodworker, or you’re looking to branch out into other materials, understanding the types of timber available will help you to identify the most appropriate and cost-effective purchase for your projects. Here, we explain the different types of wood you could be working with.

Hardwood and Softwood

Hardwood is a more durable wood than softwood, but each has many uses for the beginner. Understanding the difference will undoubtedly help you choose the best type for your project. Softwood is generally cheaper to buy and easier to work with. Softwood is used for many furniture, flooring and roofing projects. Hardwood is also used in furniture and other projects with a long term purpose, such as gates and flooring. It is more complex to work with than its softwood counterpart.

Teak, oak, maple, walnut, beech and mahogany are some examples of hardwood. Cedar, pine, yew and redwood are all softwoods.

How To Identify Different Wood Types

For the beginner, when buying new woods, this is simple. However, there are a few simple ways to know if you are using existing wood supplies. Hardwood has a distinct heavy grain that is easily visible. The grain in softwood is usually smoother and harder to see. 

Hardwood is more durable and is often used in high-end furniture as it is more resistant to wear, denting or chipping to softwood.

Buying timber

The first thing you will notice is that you may be offered both rough sawn or dressed/smooth timbers, and your choice will be guided by the equipment you have, the price you are prepared to pay and the work taken to make the wood suitable for your project. 

Rough sawn timber is literally as described, it will be rough on all sides and depending on your project require you to do the sanding and finishing before use. If your project is for outdoor use, you may want to consider purchasing pre-treated timber as this is more durable without additional staining for outside exposure.

How different types of wood can be used

  • Pine is often used for indoor floors, ceilings, framings, furniture and crafts. It does not have the resilience for all-weather outdoor use, indoors it ages well, but its softness makes it easily scratched or dented.
  • Beech is a commonly used hardwood because it is visually plain and its neutral shades make it a useful utility timber. It is perfect for harder wearing furniture and other wooden projects.
  • Oak is another hardwood that is an incredibly popular hardwearing choice for many indoor and outdoor projects.
  • Composites such as ply and MDF and repurposing scaffold boards and pallets are also great ways to use and develop your woodworking skills. 

Here at Calderbrook Woodwork Machinery, we have a wealth of new, used and refurbished woodworking machinery available, so don’t hesitate to get in touch for a chat about what machinery we have that would be best suited to the wood you’re looking to use.