American Beech – Fagus grandifoliaEuropean Beech – Fagus sylvatica This is a great wood that has a lot of nice properties. It has a fairly straight grain and looks kind of like scaled down oak. The sapwood is a cream white color, the heartwood is a light reddish brown. It is fine and silky with a close and even texture. It is very hard and it’s surface can be highly polished. It cuts, sands and machines well, as well as a great screw and nail holding capability. Wor...
Basswood – Tilia americana If you love to carve then this is the wood for you. It has a cream color with very little to no pattern from grain so you can cut it in basically any direction. Very easy to carve. It’s not the greatest for machining and tends to rip or crush under the pressure of a cutting tool and when sawn it leaves a fuzzy or woolly surface. It’s also not very strong and tends to break into small pieces. One of it’s best attributes in addition to...
Holly – Ilex opaca I love this wood for trim and inlays on dark woods. It has almost no figure from grain pattern or color. Holly is a chalky white to a light shade of gray.The texture is very fine and uniform. It’s an easy wood to work with. Cuts clean and smooth with hand or power tools. Capable of a very smooth and hard surface. Flexible and strong, bends nicely. Very expensive but a little goes a long way as long as you are using it as stated above. You can also...
Swiss Pear – Pyrus communis This is another wood loved by model makers. It’s grain is straight to sometimes wavy.The wood has been steamed to produce an even pink color with little to no figure. The wood is remarkable for its extraordinary smoothness and evenness of texture. It is excellent for carving, turning or milling. It can be cut with a sharp edge in any direction. Finishes to a polished surface. Pearwood can also be stained black to resemble Ebony.Flexible and ...
Boxwood – Buxus sempervirens Long used to make model ships in the 15th and 16th centuries . These ships were then used as the models to make full size ships. Stanley Tools has long used it for their folding rules. Also used for engravings for printing applications and used for musical instruments. It has extremely fine texture, easy to carve and turn but difficult to split, color uniform light yellow. It’s also very strong and hard. It will not splinter. There are a lot o...
A measure of the hardness of wood, which is produced by a variation on the Brinell hardness test. The test measures the force required to push a steel ball with a diameter of 11.28 millimeters (0.444 inches) into the wood to a depth of half the ball’s diameter (the diameter was chosen to produce a circle with an area of 100 square millimeters). It is also a good indicator of how hard a species is to saw or nail. The results are stated in various ways, which can lead to confusion, es...
Mahogany South American – Swietenia macrophyllaAfrican – Khaya ivorensis Mahogany along with cherry, and oak are probably the most used wood for furniture. It was a favorite of Chippendale. It’s also used in musical instruments, boat making, outdoor furnitiure… It works great with all tools, and holds screws and nails very well. It doesn’t splinter. It takes all kinds of finishes evenly and very well. South Amercan mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla)...
A beautiful but very “hard” wood. Lends itsself more to carpentry than to fine woodworking. It often took 45-60 mins to plane a 12 ft board. Screws, with pilot holes very often, striped the heads (square drive), snapped or simply reached a point where they stalled out. Found most effective method was a framing gun at +/- 100lbs. Have not yet attempted to glue any but will update this when I do. I suspect that this will not respond well to hand sanding and will require very sharp h...
The LumberJock’s Wood Library is a collection of blogs written by LumberJocks about their hands on experience working with different woods. You are invited and encouraged to contribute to this Wood Library. See the How to Contribute section immediately after the Wood Library – Charts and Tables links. The Wood Library is included in the STICKIES so you can get to it from any page. LumberJock’s Wood Library Blogs BasswoodBeechBloodwood EbonyBoxwoodHickoryHollyMaho...
In my experience working with bloodwood I found the following… It is very hard (Janka 2900). Sometimes chips out with the router and is very difficult to hand sand in the nooks and cranies. I’ve recently heard that it “is HELL on scroll saw blades” too. It can be quite fragile when it gets thin. In order to make my heart cross, I had to create my own plywood by resawing my stock and gluing the two pieces back together with the grain at 90 degrees to give it th...
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