Oak – Oak wood is found in both the red and white variants and are the most popular hardwoods available. Both the red and white varieties are dense and tough and have straight-grained, rough textures. As you may guess the red variety has a redder color running through the wood and the white has a lighter coloring ranging from white to pale yellow. Oak is rot and bug resistant, and very durable and bendable. It takes stain very well but tends to show grain through several layers of paint. Best when used for flooring, furniture, cabinetry, and millwork.
Maple – Maple comes in different species including, red, rock and sugar. The most common we see in the US is the red maple. It can grow up to 115 feet tall and have dense canopies. The grain is relatively tight and straight and usually shows in light brown bands. It is dense and tough and is lightly colored varying between white, yellow, and gold. Best when used for flooring, veneers, musical instruments, and baseball bats.
Poplar – The poplar tree is widely grown in the eastern US and can grow up to a towering 160 feet tall. Another lightly colored hardwood, we can often see cream, yellows, browns, greys and even greens in this wood. The grain tends to be straight and uniform and although it’s considered a hardwood, it is on the softer side of the spectrum. A wood of high utility, it is often used by DIY-ers for painted projects such as painted cabinet face frames, doors, and shelves.
Pine – Pine is a very soft wood, but incredibly easy to use. It comes in a variety of species, including the common ones of sugar, white, ponderosa, and southern yellow. It is less dense and easy to work with but doesn’t offer much bug or rot resistance. Pine is typically pale yellow and tends to be knotty, tends to be rugged looking and takes paint and stain very well. Typically, pine is used to rustic furniture, woodworking, wall paneling, and decking when pressure treated.
Walnut – A very popular hardwood, walnut comes from the black walnut tree another tree that grows in the eastern US. They can grow up to 120 feet tall, and produce a rich, dark wood, with beautiful grain and color tones. The color tends to vary from pale brown to deep chocolate color some even pushing into the spectrum and hitting some purple tones. The grain on walnut is usually straight grained but is also likely to feature waves and irregularities. Although walnut is extremely rot resistant, it is not insect resistant. Walnut wood is mostly used for high end furniture, gunstocks, turned items, and cabinetry.