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Every type of wood has its field of application, and an experienced woodworker pays close attention to the selection of a perfect wood for the project. There are numerous properties used to distinguish the wood but some of the most common are color, grain, texture, figure, weight, and odor.
As you advance in your woodworking mastery, you’ll get to know better which wood species works better for which kind of project.
Softwoods and Hardwoods
The most common classification of wood is softwood and hardwood.
Some of the most popular softwoods are Douglas-fir wood, spruce wood, linden wood, poplar wood, and aspen wood. These types of wood are most often used for making carpentry (doors and windows); cabinets for kitchen elements and chests for drawers, rustic or farmhouse tables, of course, hives, etc.
On the other side, hardwood includes oak wood, ash wood, walnut wood, beechwood, cherry wood, and maple wood. These types of wood are exclusively used for making visible pieces of furniture. Walnut products are among the most beautiful (it’s easy for the processing which is extremely important in woodcarving projects).
10 Most Common Types of Wood for Making Rustic Tables
It is not an easy task to find woodworking wood of the desired thickness and performance: you’ll find spruce wood on every corner, followed by larch, and only rarely you’ll get the opportunity to find beech or oak. These are usually the most often offered as a woodworking material on the market.
Different types of wood, depending on the latest trends, are constantly coming and going out of fashion. To choose the perfect wood material for your rustic table, it’s good to take a closer look at the specifics of different types of wood. Although there are 354 types of high-quality woods, in this introduction we’ve reviewed the characteristics of the 10 most popular and most commonly used.
1. Oak Wood
All types of oak have ring-shaped pores with striking broad rays of heartwood. The surface of the oak with large pores gives a lot of natural structure to large surfaces, which is why it is ideal for strong furniture and durable tabletops ( yeah, it’s often used when it comes to rustic tables ). It is recommended for spaces with high humidity because the oak wood is very resistant to moisture.
Woodworkers categorize oak wood into three categories – red, white, and live oak. All three oak wood groups share the same properties, but there are still significant variations from one to another group, even within the same group.
To tell you the truth, I don’t know much about this difference. I just have it in mind, as a starting point, and I hope I’ll get to know more as I’m moving forward.
All I know is that it’s a commonly used and respected wood, in all regions of the world.
2. Ash Wood
The structure of the ash wood is striped, which is why it is often called a “restless blonde”. It is hard, tough, and elastic. Due to its bright color, it is especially suitable for decorative veneers, floors (parquets, parquets with finishing), stairs, and bentwood furniture. Equally, ash is known as an antidepressant wood because it acts dynamic and bright.
3. Spruce Wood
The color and structure of spruce wood is determined by the width of the rings and the fact if it’s early or latewood. Early or fresh spruce wood is almost white and has a matte surface, while latewood is yellowish to reddish-brown color. The main advantage of spruce wood is that it shrinks moderately and it’s light and soft. That is why it is easy to process and is used more than any other type of wood for construction work.
4. Birch Wood
Birchwood is a light, yellowish-white, reddish-white, and light brown color and has a silky sheen. The rings are very pronounced, which is why a three-dimensional mother-of-pearl effect is often seen on it. Birchwood is a perfectly suitable material for underfloor heating because it reacts more slowly to the surrounding moisture than other types of lighter wood. But beware prolonged exposure to moisture can lead to unwanted color changes.
5. Beech Wood
The bright, almost whitish beech wood acquires its familiar reddish color by steaming. It is heavy and hard but “works” harder for processing than most other wood. It can be easily processed and it is easy to cut. It is widely used in the manufacture of furniture and interior decoration – especially when increased resistance is required. This applies to furniture for children and young people, office furniture and chairs in general. Due to its high hardness, it is also suitable for parquet floors, wooden stairs, and ship floors.
6. Maple Wood
It is the brightest of all domestic wood species thanks to the accentuated structure of the wood. This is why it is perfectly suitable for combining. It is elastic and of medium weight, tough, and has a low shrinkage coefficient. It can be well processed, lightly polished, wetted, and painted. It is used for large areas – doors, built-in closets, and bedroom furniture. Maple parquet offers high performance and it’s durable. It is suitable for stairs and musical instruments.
Most maple wood is easy to work on and especially easy to finish. That makes it usable in crafting anything – from rustic tables to floors, cabinets, chairs, and kitchen utensils. Also, it’s pretty affordable.
7. Pine Wood
It has a reddish to reddish-brown core color and a decorative striped appearance. White pine wood is heavier but at the same time softer than black pine wood. The use of pine is almost similar to the use of spruce: it has versatile usage as a carpenter material and particularly in the manufacture of cheap furniture (for example cabinet making). It is also good to use it for the floor because it is rich in resin, which is why it does not creak when you walk on it.
8. Cherry Wood
The cherry wood is medium-hard to hardwood. Due to its homogeneous structure, it is most often used for smooth surfaces. It is used en masse, but also as a furrier, whether it’s for furniture, interior decoration with ceiling or wall coverings. Due to its dark color, it seems optically “heavy”, which is why designers prefer to use this wood for smaller areas such as bed legs, small furniture, or elegant home decorations.
Cherry is one of the most used wood species with uncommon beauty, but other properties, too, like color, density, stability, and durability. It’s not surprising it’s considered as a true American Cabinet wood.
But, speaking from my own experience, you should leave the cherry wood for more advanced projects. Cherry wood is too precious for beginners – getting the most out of cherry isn’t an easy task.
9. Walnut Wood
The walnut wood color range goes from light yellow to orange-brown. Walnut wood is good for processing, soaking, and polishing. Lately, walnut wood has experienced a kind of “comeback”, which is why many designers have declared it as their favorite material. It is an excellent floor covering material, like parquet, because it does not change its shape.
Walnut Wood is suitable for any kind of woodworking project. There is a widely accepted opinion that there is no wood with a better figure and richer color. Also, it’s stable, heavy-enough, but it’s not too hard or too soft. Simply, it’s a perfect woodworking pick.
10. Poplar Wood
In my first rustic table project, I’ve used poplar wood. It wasn’t my intention – I’ve used it accidentally. You can read more about it in my dedicated article, and now I will just type a few words on its properties.
The poplar wood is flexible, elastic, and is suitable for a variety of processing. It is used for making furniture, paper, Chinese chopsticks, and skateboard boards. It was used for making painting canvases – the Mona Lisa and other works of the early Renaissance were painted on poplar wood. Poplar stumps make great habitat for growing oyster mushrooms and shiitake.
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