Why You Should Know About Wood Types
As one of Canada’s leading wood suppliers, we at Decotec Inc. believe that our clients and website visitors can benefit from learning about the features and benefits of different types of commonly used wood. We believe that a true appreciation of wood products can come only when the buyer/owner knows the unique qualities of the wood and can truly compare it to other products. Wood furniture are unique products in today’s industrialized world in that that they are made of a natural ingredient that can not be precisely duplicated and has a direct connection to nature.
Hard Wood And Soft Wood
The traditional categories of wood are hard wood and soft wood.
- Hard wood is coming from wide-leaves trees that have seeds. These trees are shedding their leaves in the fall. Some well known examples are Oak, Birch, Maple, Sycamore and Cherry.
- Soft wood is coming from coniferous trees. There are about 600 types of coniferous trees. In most species, leaves are shaped as needles and are not shed in the fall. The wood is used for furniture, construction, paper and medicine! Examples are Cedar, Pine, Fir and Cypress.
Now that we know about the basic categories, lets examine some of the most used types.
Here are some commonly used types of Hard Wood
Oak: With about 250 species of Oak in North America and about 100 in China, Oak is a leading choice for furniture manufacturers and consumers. Oak wood is known for being especially strong and durable and is used for interior design and for making good furniture.
Mahogany: Known for being strong and durable, Mahogany is used for building high quality furniture. The tree grows in many different parts of the world such as Mexico, Brazil, The Caribbeans, the Philippines and more. Mahogany from the Caribbeans is considered the strongest, while those from Africa and the Philippines are softer and cheaper. The color is red-brown and the grain is straight without holes or pockets. It is a great wood for building strong, durable furniture. It does not tend to rot, which made it ideal for boats, and is also used for musical instruments – mainly guitars.
Walnut: Walnut trees grow in Europe, China, Japan and America – form Canada to Argentina. The name Walnut comes from an old English expression that means “foreign nut”, as it was brought to England from Italy. Walnut timber is hard and dense and the color is anywhere between light grey to black. Walnut is considered a great material for furniture and Walnut veneer is ideal for kitchen cabinets. The wood was used in the past for building guns and is still used for musical instruments such as pipe organs.
Cherry: With other famous relatives in its family such as Almonds and Peaches, the cherry trees are known more for their fruit than for the wood and the unique grain. Cherry trees grow in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Australia. Cherry wood has very visible ring patterns. It is widely used for furniture and interior furnishing.
Maple: Most of the 128 species of Maple trees, grow in Asia. Some grow in Europe and North America and North Africa. The best timber is made out of the North American Sugar Maple and of the European Sycamore Maple tree. Besides the maple syrup, Maple trees are famous for the unique grain patterns and for the strength and endurance of the wood. The Sugar Maple, which is especially hard, is used for bowling pins and alley lanes, baseball bats and butchers’ blocks. It is also used for making musical instruments such as violins, cellos and guitars.
Anyone who ever visited Canada in the fall must have noticed the strong red and yellow colors of the Maple leaves during that season.
Here are some commonly used types of Soft Wood:
Cedar: Cedars grow all the way from the U.S. through Central America to South America. One of the reasons that make it a favorite material for cabinets is that it’s know for being moth repellent.
Pine: Pine trees grow in the northern hemisphere in places like Europe, North America including Canada, U.S. and Mexico, Central America and the Caribbeans. Most of the 126 or more species remain green throughout the year. Pines are grown in plantation for being used for lumber in the furniture and construction industries. Pine trees are planted in new parks and are also used as Christmas trees.
Redwood: The tallest trees in the world are a type of Redwood trees. Some Redwoods live for more than 2,500 years! The Redwoods grow only in the U.S. (California and Oregon) and in China. Some Redwood lumber is extremely durable in humidity, light and temperature and is therefore used for outdoor furniture and structures.