Common Softwoods

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White pine

Uses: Indoor furniture, plywood, veneers and trim, construction lumber Sources: United States and Canada

Characteristics: Straight grain with even texture and tight pores Workability: Machines easily with sharp steel or carbide blades and bits. Not prone to burning when machined. Lower resin content than other pines, so cutting edges stay cleaner longer'.

Finishing: Stains may blotch without using a stain controller first. Takes clear finishes and paints well. Price: Inexpensive

Western red cedar

Uses: Outdoor furniture, exterior millwork, interior and exterior siding Sources: United States and Canada

Characteristics: Straight, variable grain pattern with coarse texture. Lower density- and fairly light-weight. Saw- and sanding dust can be a respiratory irritant. Naturally resistant to deterioration from UV sunlight, insects and moisture.

Workability: Soft, composition machines easily but end grain is prone to splintering and tear-out

Finishing: Takes stains and clear finishes well, but oils in wood can bleed through painted finishes unless primer is applied first Price: Inexpensive to moderate where regionally available

Aromatic cedar (Tennessee)

Uses: Naturally-occurring ods seem to repel moths, making this wood a common closet and chest lining. Also used for veneers and outdoor furniture. Sources: Eastern United States and Canada

Characteristics: Straight to wavy grain pattern with fine texture. Red to tan in color with dramatic streaks of yellows and creams. Distinct aroma emitted when machined, and dust can be a respiratory irritant. Workability: Machines similarly to western red cedar Finishing: Takes stains and clear finishes well Price: Inexpensive

Redwood

Uses: Outdoor furniture, decks and fences, siding Source: West coast of United States

Characteristics: Straight, fine grain with few knots or blemishes. Relatively light weight. Reddish brown with cream-colored sapwood. Naturally resistant to deterioration from UV sunlight, insects and moisture. Workability: Machines and sands easily Finishing: Takes stains and clear finishes well

Price: Moderate to expensive and not widely available in all nominal dimensions

Cypress

Uses: Exterior siding and boat building. Interior and exterior trim, beams, flooring, cabinetry and paneling. Source: Mississippi delta region of the United States Characteristics: Straight, even grain pattern with low resin content. Naturally resistant to deterioration from UV sunlight, insects and moisture. Workability: Machines and sands easily Finishing: Takes stains and clear finishes well Price: Inexpensive where regionally available

Sampling of Exotics

Common Softwoods, Sampling of Exotics 29

A. Padauk

Uses: Indoor furniture, cabinetry, flooring, turning, veneer Source: West Africa

Characteristics: Coarse texture, straight interlocked grain Workability: Machines easily with sharp steel or carbide blades and bits Finishing: Takes stains and clear finishes well Price: Moderate to expensive

B. Zebrawooo

Uses: Turning, inlay, decorative veneers, furniture and cabinetry Source: West Africa

Characteristics: Interlocked, light and dark varigated grain pattern Workability: Somewhat difficult to machine. Use carbide blades and bits Finishing: Can be difficult to stain evenly Price: Expensive

C. Wenge

Uses: Inlay, turning, decorative veneers Source: Equatorial Africa

Characteristics: Haiti, dense straight grain with coarse texture. Heavy. Workability: Dulls steel blades and bits quickly, so carbide cutters are recommended. Drill pilot holes for screws and nails. Finishing: Pores should be filled before finish is applied Price: Moderate

D. Honduras mahogany

Uses: Indoor and outdoor furniture, veneers and trim, boat-building Sources: Central and South America

Characteristics: Straight, interlocked fine grain. Dimensionally stable. Workability: Machines well with carbide blades and bits Finishing: Takes stains and clear finishes well Price: Moderate

E. Purpleheart

Uses: Pool cues, decorative inlay, veneers, indoor and outdoor furniture.

Sources: Central and South America

Characteristics: Straight grain with coarse texture

Workability: Gum deposits in the wood make it difficult to machine;

cutting edges dull quickly

Finishing: Takes stains and clear finishes well.

Price: Moderate

F. Teak

Uses: Boat-building, indoor and outdoor furniture, veneers, flooring Sources: Southeast Asia, Africa, Caribbean

Characteristics: Straight grain with oily texture. Dense and hard. Workability: High silica content will dull steel blades and bits quickly. Oily surfaces require cleaning with mineral spirits first or glue will not bond. Finishing: Takes oil finishes well Price; Expensive

G. Rosewood

Uses: Inlays, turning, veneers, cabinetry, furniture, musical instruments Sources: Southern India

Characteristics: Interlocked grain with medium to coarse texture Workability: Dense structure dulls cutting edges quickly Finishing: Takes stains and clear finishes well Price: Expensive

Common Softwoods, Sampling of Exotics 29

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Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

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