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Types Of Wood

Updated on October 22, 2011

Wood is a hard structured formed naturally on the bark of trees due to accumulation of dead cells.

For centuries wood has been used by man for various purposes like making furniture, lighting fire, making boats etc. due to the fact that they are obtained from trees which renewable sources, wood is low cost and preferably used for making furniture.

Since there are thousands of different types of trees, there are many types of wood. Different types of wood are differentiated on the basis of their strength, color and grain. Basically there are two main categories of wood:

  • Hard wood
  • Soft wood

However we can also classify them on the basis of their grain, according to which the two types of wood are:

  • Open pore grain wood
  • Tight grain wood

Let’s take a look at the major two categories of wood:

Hard Wood

Hard wood as its name suggests is the type of wood which has a high strength, is strong and is very durable.

Hard wood is obtained from trees which shed their leaves during the winter. Hard wood is used to make things which require strength such as cabinets, cupboards, desks, boats etc.

Hard wood is heavy and durable and resistant to environmental hazards. They usually have a very fine structure as their grains are quite tight.

Some common hard woods are:

Maple wood bench
Maple wood bench
  • Maple

    Maple is a very fine textured and hard wood. In fact it is one of the hardest woods in the world. This extremely durable wood is generally snowy white, cream white or slightly yellowish white in color.

    When rubbed with oil it gives a golden ivory color. The best thing about this wood is that it machines very well. The texture of this wood may contain specks and streaks of various designs.

    Due to its very fine texture and extreme hardness it is used in flooring, wooden ware and very fine furniture.

Oak wood table
Oak wood table
  • Oak 

    Oak is a very durable hard wood which can also bend. Because of its bending properties it is not as hard maple but it is extremely strong and durable. It does not break.

    It greatly resists moisture and has a good finishing. It is used in the making of furniture, used for flooring and due to its resistance towards water used in boat framing. 

Mahogany Vase
Mahogany Vase
  • Mahogany

    Mahogany is also a fine grained, durable hard wood. It is generally reddish brown in color while some of its varieties like the African mahogany are tan brown in color.

    Mahogany is very resistant to moisture, swelling, shrinking and warping. This wood is used for making of fine expensive furniture, for boat construction and for the making of veneers.

Walnut bowl
Walnut bowl
  • Walnut 

    Walnut is a strong, durable and easy to work with wood. It is very resistant towards shrinking and warping.

    It also has a fine texture and can be finished very well. It is used in for wall paneling, making gun stocks, cabinets, novelties etc.

Cherry hardwood floor
Cherry hardwood floor
Teak dining table
Teak dining table
Pine wood dining table
Pine wood dining table
Fir wood flooring.
Fir wood flooring.
Hemlock trees
Hemlock trees
  • Cherry

    Cherry is a resistant hard wood which has closed grains. It has gum and pitch pockets on its surface which makes it a unique wood.

    The color of this wood usually reddish brown to light brownish pink but when polished it becomes glowing and deep red. It is used for making all types furniture and in boat trims.

  • Teak

    Teak is a hard resistant wood which is very resistant towards moisture, cracking and decay. The color of this wood varies from dark brown to yellowish brown.

    The texture of teak is oily and its surface possess mineral streaks. It is used for window framing, making of furniture pieces and a general construction wood.

Soft Wood

Soft wood is obtained from evergreen trees and is light and flexible wood.

Some common soft woods are:

  • Pine

    Pine is a resistant soft wood which has a uniform texture. It is used in door paneling, some furniture and making wooden boxes due to its light weight.

  • Fir 

    Fir is an easy to work with and a uniform textured wood. However it has a very low resistivity towards decay. It is used for making doors, windows, frames and plywood.
  • Hemlock

    Hemlock like fir is also a good wood but is not resistant towards decay. It is used in making of boards, planks, doors and crates.


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    • profile image

      BKm 5 years ago

      Very useful overview! Thanks!

    • Amez profile image

      Amez 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I would like to see us link sites, You did agreat Job.

    • profile image

      joe 6 years ago

      very usefull

    • fucsia profile image

      fucsia 6 years ago

      I seem to smell the wood!

      Thanks for sharing.

    • hassam profile image

      hassam 6 years ago from Pakistan

      Thanks for coming back to read my hubs! :)

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 6 years ago from Indonesia

      As usual, you present a useful hub and I vote up for it too. Thank you !

    • hassam profile image

      hassam 6 years ago from Pakistan

      Thanks for liking! :) Wood really has some elegance in it.

    • Ultimate Hubber profile image

      Ultimate Hubber 6 years ago

      Ah, Mahogany! I love this wood. Thanks for the informative hub!!