A Lumber Overview for the Novice Craftsman

by Peter Wilson

There are several types of hardwood lumber and sometimes it’s difficult to figure out which type is right for your project, especially if you’re a novice craftsman. All hardwood is not only beautiful but also durable. The amount of durability and the preference of style will help you decide which is best for your project. Here is an overview of the different lumber types, their durability, and where to buy them.

A beautiful wood that is used mostly for furniture, cabinetry and musical instruments is walnut. It has a dark tone and a distinctive tight grain which makes it ideal for a veneer as well. Due to its lack of volume each tree produces, it can be an expensive wood and is usually only used for small projects or as accents.

For a tried and true durable wood, oak is ideal. It is used for hardwood flooring, cabinetry and for furniture. Its distinctive soft tones and large grain makes it perfect for many different styles of dcor, though it is most popular in kitchens and for country style dcor. Its price is higher than most other hardwoods due to its durability and length of time to reach maturity.

For a novice woodworking craftsman, the perfect starter hardwood is yellow poplar. It is the easiest wood to work with and less expensive than both walnut and oak. It is used for making furniture, toys and other crafty items. The yellow poplar grows in the Eastern U.S. so it’s even less expensive (and therefore more common) on the East Coast.

Lastly, beech is very popular since it grows throughout the U.S. as well as other countries. Beech is used for flooring, furniture, doors and a wide variety of other projects. The wood tends to be more porous than other hardwoods and therefore it’s easy to evenly paint or stain.

If you’re on a budget or have a large project that you don’t want to invest a lot of money in, consider using veneered plywood. Hardwood veneer will give you the look of hardwood without the high price. Plywood should not be used for intricate, sculpted or beveled work since the plywood will show through. It’s perfect for flat surfaces such as bookcases and tables. For added durability, choose an oak veneer which won’t warp easily and is easy to stain. Choose a brand that is reputable and of high quality such as Windsor plywood.

Hardwood lumber suppliers can be found with a search in the phone book or using in the internet. Most home improvement stores are well stocked with hardwood and hardwood veneer. You can also look for wood online but make sure you know what you’re buying and make sure the savings is worth the shipping cost.

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