Choosing the right wood for your project, whether you are planning to build, furnish your home, or a civil development can be a difficult task. Contrary to popular belief, not all timbers are created equal, so we've created this handy guide to different types of wood to help you find the one that's right for you.
First of all, we must clarify that timber is nothing but a kind of wood that is shaped into beams and planks. It is also known as “lumber” in the US and Canada. The word "timber" is used to refer to wood at any stage after the felling of the tree. This can include raw material, also known as raw wood or processed material.
Whether you are looking for new hardwood floors or unsure what type of timber to specify for your new dining chairs, different types of wood will naturally possess different types of qualities. Some of them are harder or softer than others, and the range of shades available in all types of wood is countless.
Generally speaking of wood, there are two main categories: softwood and hardwood.
Hardwoods are obtained from broadleaf trees. They generally grow slower and are thicker than softwoods. Hardwoods are also stronger and more durable due to their more condensed and complex structure. Some common types of hardwoods include oak, teak, iroko, and meranti. They also need longer drying times, which explains why the cost of this wood is higher.
These species are best suited for projects that require high durability and longevity. On the other hand, beech, maple, and walnut are types of hardwoods that are most commonly used for custom carpentry tasks such as hardwood floors, veneers, and construction furniture. Although most softwoods are cheaper, hardwoods can be a good investment due to their longevity and strength. They are also easier to maintain.
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Softwoods come from conifers that grow at a rapid pace and are easy to obtain and handle, making them more affordable than hardwoods. Because softwoods are lighter, more flexible, and less dense than many hardwoods, they are often used for the fabrication of windows, interiors, building frames, and sheeting production, such as plywood.
For outdoor use, softwoods are infused with biocides prior to installation to make the wood more durable. Softwoods generally have a shorter life than hardwoods and often require more care and maintenance throughout their useful life.
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Some important exceptions to consider
It should be noted that there are still exceptions to the fact that hardwoods are denser and more durable than softwoods. For example, balsa is a hardwood that is quite soft and is often used to build lightweight models. Old-growth western red cedar, one of the most common softwood materials, has relatively high durability and stability characteristics that match many of those hardwood species.
Some frequently used species of timbers:
The most common type of cedar is the western red. It is relatively soft but straight-grained and is used primarily for exterior furniture, deck railings, wall cladding, and window frames because it resists rotting in humid environments.
Cedar is one of the highest quality types of wood, so when the strength and appearance of exposed wood beams are essential requirements, cedar is a savior and the perfect fit for this.
It offers moderate strength and softness that makes it unique and most importantly, it is an easily workable building material.
The color of bamboo ranges from pale yellow to almost golden. It is one of the industrial materials also identified as the most promising building material.
Bamboo wood has proven itself as an alternative to tropical hardwoods in recent years. It is available in any size and length as required.
Strong bamboo fibers have a tensile strength that exceeds many types of steel, and bamboo wood is highly resistant to warping and cupping due to changes in ambient humidity.
An American specialty hardwood, walnut has an attractive deep brown color and a beautiful grain. It is quite expensive and generally only available in fairly narrow boards, it is widely used in furniture making and as a veneer board for cabinets and feature walls.
It is one of the most popular woods used in manufacturing and carpentry and can be found in many homes around the world in the form of flooring, windows, furniture, and so on.
Pine comes in several varieties, but the main ones found in Australia are Radiata, Cypress, and Hoop pine.
Although it is classed as softwood, pine is one of the strongest softwoods on the planet, with many carpenters and manufacturers preferring to use it over the softer spruce for creating furniture.
Used for centuries throughout Europe, especially in England, oak remains one of the most sought-after woods for furniture.
Available in red and white, the latter is preferred because it has a more attractive figure than American red oak and is resistant to moisture, allowing it to be used for outdoor furniture.
Recommended for carvers with a little experience, it is ideal for larger pieces due to its coarse grain. Fine work tends to cause the wood to break at the edges, which ruins the design. Suitable for exterior parts, it requires adequate treatment to avoid cracks and deformations.
Teak is a tropical wood native to Burma, Thailand, and Bangladesh. There are many ethical reasons not to use teak unless it is recycled or from plantations.
Teak, which is widely used in boats and outdoor furniture, has a slightly waxy feel and a golden brown color. Slow-growing teak is probably the best wood there is to withstand the sun and rain, but it is somewhat expensive and delicate to care for.
With its typical straight grain and its shade of beige to light brown, ash wood is a very attractive option for fine furniture. It is one of the most durable varieties and has a long history in Australian furniture making.
It is durable, lightweight, aesthetically pleasing, and absorbs wood stains well.
Its lightweight, impact-resistant wood features have made it a favorite for baseball bats, tool handles, and restaurant furniture. Today, ash is making a splash in home furnishings, especially mid-century modern style.
Have any of these types of limber caught your attention? Contact our team or visit our website to find out how you can add it to your home