Types of Wood Species for Woodworking

Woodworker cutting wooden plank
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There are numerous species of wood that are used for woodworking around the world. Each species has different rules for getting the most out of that particular type of wood. In this list, find woodworking tips for dealing with just a few of the most popular varieties of wood used for woodworking, such as oak, maple, pine and more.

  • 01 of 07

    Oak

    Woman working in wood shop
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    Oak is one of the most popular woods utilized in furniture making. There are many varieties of oak, but most have very similar qualities for woodworking. While oak has a very distinct, sought-after appearance, it can be a difficult wood to work with. However, by following some specific guidelines, you can overcome the difficulties commonplace to working with oak and get great results from your oak woodworking projects.

  • 02 of 07

    Maple

    A woodcarver working in his shop

    John Burke/ Getty Images

    Maple is another very popular wood used in furniture-building. Maple is quite durable, and when finished using proper techniques, will provide a very distinct look. Woodworking with maple can be a trying experience, particularly when it comes to applying a finish. In this article, learn how to get the best out of maple in your woodworking projects.

  • 03 of 07

    Poplar

    A man woodworking

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    Poplar is a more utilitarian type of hardwood which is commonly used on woodworking projects that will receive paint. While poplar can be stained, it isn't a very appealing wood with a stained appearance, as it often will show brown or gray sections (rather than grain lines) in the wood. A place where poplar excels is as a structural wood, because it is relatively inexpensive and durable, making it an ideal choice for carcasses, drawer boxes, and other similar projects. Learn how to use poplar in your woodworking projects with the tips in this woodworking article.

  • 04 of 07

    Pine

    Pine Cord Wood. kayakaya/Flickr image

    Pine is one of the three types of softwoods that make up the SPF class (spruce, pine & fir) commonly readily available at home centers. However, all pine is not utilitarian, as some stable varieties such as long-leaf pine can be used to make some spectacular furniture projects. In this article, learn all about how to use pine in your woodworking projects.

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  • 05 of 07

    Ipe

    A deck pade of ipe wood.
    Ron Sutherland/Getty Images

    Ipe is a somewhat controversial hardwood from Brazil known for strength and water resistance. The controversy centers around whether the wood may or may not be harvested from a rain forest or from a farm that specializes in ipe. You may find as many as ten different varieties of Brazilian ipe at the home center. While it has a distinct appearance and is commonly used as a deck material, there are specific precautions one should take when working with ipe. Learn all about how to use ipe in this woodworking article.

  • 06 of 07

    Hickory

    Hickory Cutting Board
    Francois Et Moi

    Many people know how hickory is well known for its hardness. Babe Ruth used a hickory bat to launch many of his record number of home runs. What many people may not know is that hickory really isn't a single species, but a group of various tree species with similar characteristics. All of them can be a little tough on saw blades and bits but can give some terrific character to a woodworking project. 

  • 07 of 07

    Beech

    Father with his daughter in woodshop
    svetikd/Getty Images

    Beech is a very bland wood, without a lot of individual characteristics, outside of its legendary use in brewing beer. However, this lack of feature in the wood can actually be a good aspect, in that it essentially provides a clean slate for artistic creations, plus it can be stained to look like much more expensive woods at a fraction of the price. An interesting hardwood to consider for some projects that don't require a strongly grained or knotted wood.