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Characteristics Of Commonly Used Woods

Additional Information
Dimensions - Finishing - Joints - Types

 

Photo from Rockler.com

 

cedar
Aromatic Cedar

Color: Mostly red heart wood, thin whitish sapwood 

Density: Hard texture Grain: fine grain, very knotty-grain varies around knot 

Machinability: Good

Finishing: Use oil finishes that display  natural colors. 

Distinctive Characteristics: Highly aromatic, natural resistance to insect damage

Common Uses: Cedar chests, closet interiors,  furniture interiors. 

Color: Creamy white to light brown heartwood, light sapwood 

Density: Very hard, excellent shock resistance 

Grain: Distinctive wide-open grain, has occasional brown streaks 

Machinability: Very good

Finishing: Takes all finishes well, pigmented stains will bring out the grain nicely. 

Distinctive Characteristics: excellent Oak substitute, “Golden Oak”

Common Uses: Furniture, mouldings, flooring, baseball bats. 

birch
Birch

Color: Cinnamon, light reddish brown to pink heartwood, sapwood is creamy-white to yellowish 

Density: Hard, medium weight 

Grain: Uniform, fine grain, small pores 

Machinability: Generally good, some swirled grain will chip out if tooling is not sharp

Finishing: Takes finish very well. 

Distinctive Characteristics: very durable and strong

Common Uses: cabinets, seating, millwork, furniture, interior doors. 


Hickory
Color: Tan to reddish brown heartwood, cream to yellowish sapwood  (variable mixture of heart and sap) 

Density: Very hard, strong, stiff and heavy 

Grain: Moderately coarse open grain 

Machinability: Excellent machinability, but very abrasive on tooling

Finishing: Will take stains. 

Distinctive Characteristics: The combination of its hardness, strength, toughness, and stiffness are unmatched by any other hardwood.

Common Uses: cabinets, flooring, tool handles, paneling. 

Color: Red to deep reddish brown heartwood, white to yellowish sapwood 

Density: Medium weight, moderately hard, stiff and strong 

Grain: Fine, closed grain 

Machinability: Excellent

Finishing: Takes a finish well, however light to natural finishes are recommended. 

Distinctive Characteristics: Beautiful markings  (gum streaks, pin knots sometimes) and red color will darken to a rich reddish brown with age.

Common Uses: High end furniture, cabinets, interior millwork, musical instruments, paneling, flooring. 

Color: Lght tan to brown heartwood, sapwood,  sapwood is creamy white to gray 

Density: Very hard, shock resistant, and very dense, heavy 

Grain: Moderately open grain on plain sawn, Quartered and Rift is straight grain 

Machinability: Fairly well, can be tough on tooling

Finishing: Takes a finish well. 

Distinctive Characteristics: Highly resistant to the  environment, very hard, may be a bit more color consistent than Red Oak. Quartered and Rift sawn have a striking grain appearance.

Common Uses: Bent chair backs, some furniture, flooring, paneling, some cabinets. 

Color: Creamy white to off white sapwood-tinged occasionally with slight red brown heartwood 

Density: Hard, heavy and strong, very resistant to shock and abrasive wear 

Grain: Closed grain, uniform texture. Some of the figured Hard Maple is available (Curly, Birdseye, and Quilted)  

Machinability: Excellent, will tear out with dull tooling.

Finishing: Finishes very well. Some of the figured woods will show variable levels of penetration. 

Distinctive Characteristics: Great wood for applications requiring hardness. Birdseye and curly patterns are available.

Common Uses: Furniture, handles, cabinets, woodenware, flooring, paneling, millwork and mouldings. 

Color: Brown to deep purple brown heartwood, sap is brilliant white to cream color-gray. 

Density: Fairly light weight, medium texture 

Grain: Moderately open grain 

Machinability: Excellent machining characteristics, turns, sands, and carves well

Finishing: Unsurpassed in finishing! Clear finishes and oils will bring out satiny grain. 

Distinctive Characteristics: The dark heartwood makes this very distinctive.

Common Uses: High end furniture, carving, flooring accents, musical instruments, gun stocks. 

mahogany
 Mahogany

Color: blood red to reddish brown, sometimes lighter in color with pale red to grayish tinge 

Density: medium texture, moderately heavy 

Grain: fine grain with interlocking parallel runs at times (ribbon) 

Machinability: excellent

Finishing: Takes stain well, will soak it up quite a bit. We suggest using sanding sealer. 

Distinctive Characteristics: Has long been a premier choice for high end furniture and millwork. Excellent exterior uses.

Common Uses: High end furniture, interior millwork, exterior doors, windows, and trim. 

Color: pinkish red to blonde in color 

Density: very hard and strong 

Grain: Openly porous and with dramatic grain patterns. Like White Oak, it is offered in Quartered and Rift grains also. 

Machinability: excellent

Finishing: Due to porous nature it will soak up stains but also offers a wide variety of finish tones. 

Distinctive Characteristics: This is probably the most popular hardwood used in modern woodworking. Broad grains give this a pronounced appearance.

Common Uses: furniture, cabinets, moulding, trim, flooring, paneling, turning. 


Colt "Peacemaker" 1875


Frame For Illustration Only

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On some of the patent drawings the name of the company the patent is assigned to is not always obvious, we have decided to use the first page of the written description as a base printed in lighter type to include this information on select patent drawings.

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