Wood Characteristics

Submitted by brightbai on Wed, 05/11/2016 - 08:59

GENERAL WOOD CHARACTERISTICS

Wood has many characteristics, such as color, density, textture and grain, but each wood has it’s own characteristics.

Wood color – the wood color will vary depending on how boards are cut. Light wood comes from the outside of the log , and darker wood is closer to the center. Every effort is made to match for color, however, variation will occur. This adds more natural interest to the overall appearance.

For example, cherry wood has dark flecks in it caused by gum markings in the wood. These are not defects and are considered part of the cherry grain character.

Sunshine and bright daylight will also affect the color. After some time, the exposure will cause the wood to darken. This is all part of the aging process and will vary by the amount of daylight it receives. Exercise care by not exposing furniture to direct sunlight.

The following are common used wood species with their characteristics.

Ash Hardwood, accepts stain well. White to light tan in color, medium density, coarse texture, straight grain.

Alder A fine-grained hardwood similar to Cherry, Birch, and Maple.  Pale yellow (tan) to reddish brown in color.  A soft, light wood with even texture and straight grain that accepts stain well.  Characteristics include random sized tight knots and rays.

Select Alder A fine-grained hardwood similar to Cherry, Birch, and Maple.  Pale yellow (tan) to reddish brown in color.  A soft, light wood with even texture and straight grain that accepts stain well. Small ramdom tight knots and rays are at times present and help to give alder its unique character.

Birch White Birch, medium hardwood, similar to Maple but not as consistent in color as Maple, good base for solid color finishes, accepts stain unevenly; mottles.  Mottling is a blotchy appearance evident due to various densities in the wood.  Not recommended for darker stains.  Off white color, medium density, fine texture, straight grain.

Cherry Darkens with age at a very fast rate, pitch marks (worm holes), mineral streaks, medium hardwood, accepts stain well.  Cherry is especially sensitive to light.  Light will cause the wood to darken/redden significantly.  Medium reddish brown color, medium density, fine texture, straight grain.

Eucalyptus Hardwood, reddish brown in color.  Relatively straight grained.  Moderately heavy and very strong.

Hickory Hardwood, mineral streaks, accepts stain evenly, known for its “wild” contrasting light and dark streaks. Light brown color, hard density, medium coarse texture, straight grain, strong, elastic, hard.  Hickory has white sapwood and reddish/dark heartwood.

Mahogany Medium reddish brown color,  medium density, medium texture, predominantly straight grain, premier furniture wood.

Maple Hardwood, fine, tight grain, looks best with light, natural, or solid color finishes, yellows slightly with age.  Not recommended for darker stains.  Cream color, hard density, fine texture, straight grain.

Oak Hardwood, open grain, accepts stain well, will darken slightly with age, grain pattern very evident when a solid color finish is applied.  May vary in color from light to dark with possible shades of green.

Woodworking Article