Other Names: Juniper, red juniper, eastern juniper, redcedar, savin, and pencil cedar.
Range: Grows in eastern North America.
Appearance: Straight and even grained with a fine uniform texture. Creamy white sapwood and light reddish or purplish heartwood that ages to a darker red or reddish brown. Often contains numerous knots.
Physical Properties: Moderately heavy, hard, and strong with low stiffness, very high decay resistance and good stability in service.
Working Properties: Works easily with hand or machine tools and is ideal for carving or whittling. Small, hard knots can sometimes be troublesome when planing. Glues satisfactorily. Takes a beautiful natural finish.
Uses: Used previously for pencils but primary use today is fenceposts. Other uses include chests, closet lining, novelties, buckets, shingles, boat building, and other exterior applications.
Other Names: Arborvitae, giant arborvitae, giant cedar, canoe cedar, Pacific redcedar, and shinglewood.
Range: Grows in western United States and Canada.
Appearance: Straight and even grained with a uniform, coarse texture. Pinkish brown to dull brown heartwood and nearly white sapwood.
Physical Properties: Light, moderately soft, low strength and shock resistance, very good decay resistance, and good stability in service.
Working Properties: Turns, bores, cuts, and otherwise works well with hand or machine tools. Glues, nails, and screws satisfactorily. Finishes well, especially with natural finishes.
Uses: Commonly used for shingles due to decay resistance and predictability of splitting. Also used for poles, posts, boxes, crates, caskets, siding, boat building, porch columns, saunas, canoes, and decorative veneers.
Note: One of the best United States softwoods for outdoor applications.
Other Names: California redwood, coast redwood, sempervirens, and Humboldt redwood.
Range: Grows along Pacific coast of United States in California and Oregon.
Appearance: Generally straight grained with a fine to coarse texture. Light red to deep reddish brown heartwood and nearly white sapwood. Very prominent growth rings.
Physical Properties: Light and soft with moderately low crushing strength, low shock resistance, moderate stiffness, very good decay resistance and good stability in service.
Working Properties: Works easily with hand or machine tools but has some tendency to splinter. Turns well. Nails and screws easily but has poor holding properties. Glues quite satisfactorily. Accepts and holds paints exceptionally well.
Uses: Used mainly for building construction (siding, sash, doors, finish) as well as tanks, silos, fences, decks, outdoor furniture, boxes, crates, novelties, turnery, shakes, and boat building.
Other Names: Rosewood, Rio or Bahia rosewood, jacaranda, pianowood, caviuna, obuina, and, palisander.
Range: Grows in Brazil.
Appearance: Mostly straight grained with coarse texture, large open pores, and oil, gritty feel. Variegated brown to violet-colored heartwood with irregular black streaks, well demarcated from cream-colored sapwood.
Physical Properties: Hard and heavy, moderate to high strength and shock resistance, low stiffness, good stability in service, and excellent decay resistance.
Working Properties: Works OK but has severe blunting effect on cutting edges. Pre-drilling recommended for screws and nails. Glues satisfactorily if precautions taken for oily surfaces (consider using epoxy resins). Finishes to an exceedingly smooth, highly polished surface.
Uses: Esteemed for centuries as one of the finest woods in the world for high-class furniture, cabinetry, and paneling. Also excellent for knife handles, brush backs, bowls, and other turned items. Other uses include piano cases, musical instrument fingerboards, billiard tables, levels, marquetry, and carving.
Note: Far harder than any commercial United States hardwood species used for furniture or veneer manufacture.
Other Names: East Indian rosewood, Bombay rosewood, bombay blackwood, shisham, sitsal, malabar, sissoo, biti, ervadi, and kalaruk.
Range: Grows in southern India.
Appearance: Commonly interlocked grain with a uniform, moderately coarse texture. Purple-brown heartwood with attractive dark streaks and yellowish white sapwood, often with a purple tinge.
Physical Properties: Heavy, hard, and dense with high bending and crushing strengths, medium shock resistance, good stability and very durable heartwood.
Working Properties: Difficult to work due to calcareous deposits – dulls cutting edges. Holds screws and nails well and glues satisfactorily. Finishes nicely although filling recommended.
Uses: Primarily used for decorative and ornamental purposes including furniture, cabinetry, paneling, and turnery. Also used for musical and mathematical instruments, brush backs, inlay, sculpture, boat construction, hammer heads, and decorative flooring.
Other Names: American sycamore, American plane tree, buttonball, buttonwood, and water beech.
Range: Grows in eastern half of United States.
Appearance: Interlocked, irregular grain with a fine, even texture. Reddish brown heartwood and lighter colored sapwood.
Physical Properties: Fairly light in weight, moderately hard, stiff, and strong, tough and shock resistant. Poor decay resistance.
Working Properties: Can be difficult to work due to interlocked fibers. Splits fairly easily. Turns easily and finishes smoothly. Does not impart odor or flavor. Glues, screws, nails, and finishes satisfactorily.
Uses: Favored for butcher blocks. Also used for interior furniture (quarter-sawn lumber mainly), boxes (primarily food containers), crates, slack cooperage, flooring, pallets, handles, and veneer.
Other Names: Sycamore, planetree, great maple, buttonwood, or harewood.
Range: Grows in UK and other temperate regions of Europe, North America, and Japan.
Appearance: Usually straight grained but may be wavy; fine textured, with a silky luster. Creamy-white sapwood and heartwood.
Physical Properties: Moderately heavy with medium bending and crushing strength, very low stiffness, and low shock resistance. Susceptible to decay.
Working Properties: Works easily with sharp tools (dull ones readily cause burning). Figured wood may chip when planed unless low cutting angle used. Good nailing, gluing, and finishing properties.
Uses: Used in applications where cleanliness is important – dairy utensils, laundry and textile rollers, turnery, bobbins, handles, and food containers. Traditional wood for fingerboards and violin backs. Also used for fiddle back veneers, cabinets, paneling, marquetry, and inlay.
Other Names: Burma teak, Rangoon teak, moulmein teak, gia thi, jati sak, kyun, mai sak, rosawa, and many other local names.
Range: Grows in Indonesia, India, and Central America.
Appearance: Generally straight grained with a coarse, uneven texture, medium luster and an oily feel. Yellow brown to dark golden brown heartwood and grayish or white sapwood.
Physical Properties: Moderately hard and heavy, with low stiffness and shock resistance, moderate bending strength, and excellent decay resistance and dimensional stability. Good acid resistance.
Working Properties: Works reasonbly well with hand or machine tools but silica in wood is tough on cutting edges and machine dust can be an irritant. Good turning and carving properties. Gluing best done on freshly cut surfaces due to oily nature. Pre-drilling recommended for screwing and nailing. Stains and finishes well although natural oils can cause adhesion difficulties.
Uses: Has numerous uses including ship building (especially decks), indoor or outdoor furniture, high class joinery, flooring, paneling, plywood, decorative veneers, turnery, carving, chemical tanks and vats.