Types of Wood and its Usage: 0 to 100 Comprehensive Guide
Knowing the types of wood and their usage can be very useful to choose the best wood for your project and purpose. Whether you are making something out of wood […]
Knowing the types of wood and their usage can be very useful to choose the best wood for your project and purpose. Whether you are making something out of wood or you want to make wooden furniture for your home or your office, this article can give you information to know the types of wood and their usage.
Wood is available in different shapes and sizes. Wood is obtained from forest trees, there are different types of trees in forests, therefore one can use different types of wood to make furniture and wooden objects.
Three main types of wood:
Before getting into the current usages of wood, it is important to know the three major types of wood and their components. These three types of wood are softwoods, hardwoods and processed woods, each of which can be used in different ways.
Softwood is wood and lumber made from coniferous trees. Coniferous trees are scientifically known as Gymnosperms. The trees such as pine, cypress, spruce, and redwood are called coniferous trees. Softwoods are used in carpentry, construction, and furniture.
Are softwoods softer than hardwoods?
Contrary to popular belief, softwood does not have the feature of soft. However, it is true that some types of hardwoods are adamant and more challenging to work with. But the distinction between hard and soft wood is not related to the actual softness or hardness of the wood. There are many hardwoods that are softer than softwoods.
How are softwoods such as pine, cypress, spruce and redwood used?
Most of softwoods are soft and adamant and are commonly used in many different parts of the building. Pine and spruce woods have SPF (sun protection factor) and their timber is commonly sold for construction and home repairs. These woods are often used in the reinforcement of new constructions as well as in the construction of light structures. Many of these woods especially the softwoods of the cypress family are resistant to rot and insects. Then the trees such as cypress and redwood are suitable for outdoor projects, such as decorating and outdoor furniture.
Hardwoods are produced from trees except conifers. These trees are commonly known as deciduous trees, more scientifically known as angiosperms. Hardwoods are obtained from trees that produce leaves and seeds. Hardwood species include oak, maple, cherry, mahogany and walnut. Hardwood species are not always stronger than softwoods, but many of these trees are known for their beautiful and distinctive wood patterns.
The woods of bamboo and palm trees do not locate in the category of hardwoods. These plants are scientifically known as monocots, but they have many characteristics of hardwoods and they are often classified in this group, but bamboo and palm are in the category of processed wood.
Engineered wood: Produced wood products
The third type of wood is engineered wood. This type does not exist naturally in the environment but it is produced. These lumbers are generally made of wood that is manipulated to have some features or characteristics. These products -also called composite wood- are often made from sawmills’ waste wood. Engineered wood is refined and produced through chemicals or thermal processes. Engineered wood is often used to produce wood products that have certain sizes and are difficult to find them in nature. Popular examples of engineered wood include plywood, oriented strand board, medium fiberboard, and composite boards. Wood veneers are also sometimes classified as engineered wood because they often have to be modified through special cutting techniques or through joining parts together to achieve a specific size or especial pattern of wood.
Now let’s go to the next part to know more about different types of woods and their usage.
Types of wood for carpentry, furniture and buildings
While wood is generally divided into three main categories but there are thousands types of wood. In this part, we introduce the most common woods that are used in industry. For each type of wood, an overview will be rendered for their common features also it will be discussed what type of wood is suitable to use for your purpose.
Alder is a hardwood and because of its natural beauty, efficiency and flexibility, it has slowly gained popularity. It is found mostly in northwestern of California and southwestern of Canada. The alder wood appears to be almost white immediately after cutting but after exposure to air and sunlight, it quickly turns to a warm honey- brown wood. This medium density wood usually has a straight grain and can be easily used for shaving and machining. This wood is also combined with different types and is suitable for decorative productions. When alder wood is sanded, its surface quickly becomes smooth, which can be easily stained or painted. The alder tree does not grow to a large diameter or height, so if you need very large solid pieces, they may be more difficult to obtain and therefore if you find ones, they would be more expensive. This wood is frequently used in the production of furniture and cabinets. This wood is also suitable for photo frames and other decorative objects.
Perhaps one of the more specialized uses of alder wood is in the rigid body of electric guitars. Because of favorable vibration of alder wood in making electric guitars, the use of alder is much more than other hardwoods such as mahogany.
Ash wood is currently difficult to find, especially due to the emerald ash pest, an invasive pest that has caused many of these trees to die prematurely. It is easier to find this wood in areas where ash trees are native and grow in large numbers. Ash has the power and features of white oak, it is usually more affordable if you can find it in your environment. This wood is easily stained and can be used for various projects.
Aspen trees are often used to product wood for saunas. Aspen is a light-colored wood that can be painted well. Aspen is a hardwood that is cultivated in the Northeastern United States, but it is sometimes difficult to find. Due to limited availability, aspen is usually used for very specific projects in which aspen wood is suitable. One of the most specialized applications of aspen wood is in the construction of saunas. This wood does not transfer heat, it does not swell and move, that is, it tolerates moisture well. Because it does not conduct heat easily, it is sometimes used in the production of matches. Aspen wood has slippery nature then it is used to make drawers in furniture therefore it is easier to move the drawer. This wood is also odorless and tasteless and is suitable to make chopsticks and kitchenware.
Balsa is a very light hardwood that is commonly used in a variety of entertainment and craft projects. Many wood craftsmen have a negative attitude towards balsa wood because balsa is not a tight wood, but it is often welcomed and has many practical applications. Balsa wood is usually imported from South America and Central America to North America. Balsa wood grows very fast, but has a short life most balsa trees produce usable timber before the age of 10. This wood is very floating and is often used in the hulls of boats, animal houses and making various objects that are designed to float. Surfboards are made of balsa wood.
Balsa wood is a low density wood that is generally not very tight. For this reason, many people prefer to choose bass and birch wood instead of Balsa for any type of project that requires weight bearing capacity. On the other hand, if you need to make something out of wood that can break or crumble quickly, like building a set for theater and movie scenes, balsa is a great choice. Balsa can be easily colored and used as a veneer. It is often necessary to use glue instead of nails or screws when assembling projects which use balsa wood. Very thin pieces of balsa wood can be cut without using a good tool or craft knife.
Technically, bamboo stems are hollow, but they are very tight. Bamboo is a type of grass and it is not wood, but due to the hardness and density of the stems, it can be used to make many things. Bamboo grows in the tropics. Different varieties of bamboo are available in different regions. The bamboo plant has a long, hollow stem. These stems can be used in the same way as a long, hollow stem or they can be cut into thin strips to create a veneer. This veneer product is transformed from bamboo stems into processed wood such as plywood.
People may think that bamboo is light and soft and easy to bend or cut but it is not what they think. It is better to compare bamboo with hardwoods such as red oak or maple, because it has the same hardness and strength. High density bamboo can sometimes be used to make hard things. Bamboo stems are popular for garden furniture, garden decorations and fences. Bamboo can be found in cabinets, delicate furniture and even as flooring.
Natural wax covering of bamboo resists rot outdoors. If you want to stain, paint or glue bamboo, you must first sand the wood until the paint or glue reaches the wood. If bamboo is used outdoors, it must be caulked and preserved. Moisture can cause the bamboo to swell or shrink, so it is good to take the bamboo to the environment before cutting, especially if it is in a drier, colder climate than where the native plant grows.
Beech is a hard, smooth and strong wood that has a fixed grain pattern. Beech wood is often used for wood veneer, furniture and woodcarving. This wood has a very soft cream color. It is sometimes gray, but reddish-yellow cream is also found in its varieties. Beech is a solid wood known for its ability to bend easily in steam. For this reason, beech is a great choice for making any type of interior furniture such as chairs and other curved parts. This advantage can also mean that beech wood sometimes moves, shrinks and swells when exposed to high humidity or unpredictable humidity in the environment.
Beech wood is often used to make pianos. Beech wood is one of the most affordable woods and can be found as a veneer in a wide range of sizes. This wood is relatively easy to work with as long as your tools are sharp. If desired, it can be glued without any problems and patterns can be created on it for more beauty.