What is your favorite wood and why?

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Forum topic by Ted posted 06-25-2012 05:07 AM 1279 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Ted's profile


2605 posts in 1300 days

06-25-2012 05:07 AM

In my effort to learn more about wood, I’d like to know some of your favorite woods and why you like it. Workability, availability, price, how it looks, if it suits a particular need… whatever you would like to add.

I like grainy wood with lots of character, like Wenge, Bubinga, Kingwood, Zebra and Snakewood. I’m not real big on the lighter color woods, like maple and oak, but I’m beginning to see a lot of it here at LJ that is giving me a new perspective – especially dyed curly maple that I’ve seen on some boxes and turnings. I’ve always tended to feel the wood should speak for itself, with little else than a clear finish. Since stumbling into LumberJocks about a month ago, I’ve been seeing a lot more ways to color wood besides sloshing it with penetrating stain.

-- There are three types of people in this world... those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.

25 replies so far

View NiteWalker's profile


2728 posts in 1666 days

#1 posted 06-25-2012 05:20 AM

Walnut I love for the color, cherry for the smell and workability, and it looks beautiful once finished, tiger maple for the figure, quilted maple for the figure.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View rockindavan's profile


292 posts in 1725 days

#2 posted 06-25-2012 06:14 AM

I like a bunch of different wood, hard maple, curly maple, cheery, walnut, wenge, qtr white oak, barn beam white oak….the list goes on. I guess the better question is what woods don’t you like. Padauk makes me sneeze like crazy, not to mention the cheeto fingers…

View Ted's profile


2605 posts in 1300 days

#3 posted 06-25-2012 06:41 AM

I was cutting Padauk the other day for the first time and I thought I was going to choke to death. Definitely something in that wood I’m sure is not healthy to breath. Well, no saw dust is healthy to breath, but some worse than others. It was a reminder to always wear my dust mask. Of course, getting some proper dust containment in my makeshift shop would help too.

-- There are three types of people in this world... those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

14389 posts in 2195 days

#4 posted 06-25-2012 11:21 AM

Hi Ted. It depends on what I’m making. for furniture and cabinets I like red or whit oak or walnut, they work well , finish fine and are reasonably priced and look good in the final product.

For turning, it is hard to pick, except to say I would not use oak because of its open grain. There it would have to be maple for a favorite- green or dry!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View OnlyJustME's profile


1562 posts in 1466 days

#5 posted 06-25-2012 12:55 PM

My favorite wood is a secret between me and my wife and i’m not telling you. lol

Always loved walnut and hickory for color and grain.

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View Blackie_'s profile


4270 posts in 1602 days

#6 posted 06-25-2012 01:34 PM

I’ve not dabbed to deep into the many different woods out there but in time I will, so far I’ve worked with Walnut, Mahognay, Zebra, Maple (curley, white, soft and brown), Knotty Alder, American Elm, Eastern and Westren cedar, ash, red bud and spalted hackberry, so I have to say any wood that I’m able to cut with my chain saw with no over head then that’s my fav :)

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View PurpLev's profile


8522 posts in 2738 days

#7 posted 06-25-2012 01:40 PM

I love FREE wood ;)

probably not what you wanted to hear – but still applies

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View LukieB's profile


962 posts in 1419 days

#8 posted 06-25-2012 01:43 PM

Heh heh, wouldn’t that be her favorite wood?

I love Birdseye Maple, and Culrly/Tiger Maple, and Quilted Maple….and Walnut…and Cherry

-- Lucas, "Someday woodworks will be my real job, until then, there's this"

View knotscott's profile


6368 posts in 2465 days

#9 posted 06-25-2012 01:44 PM

My favorite is usually whatever new species I’m working with that I’ve never used before. It’s really hard to pick just one….red elm has the most incredible grain but is a PITA to work, cherry and walnut work and look great but are pretty common around here, red oak is fine but is found in just about every dwelling in North America, QSWO is always fun, as is curly maple but that can also be a PITA to work. Mahogany is fun too. Exotics like lacewood, zebra wood, and padauk make for an interesting compliment to a piece but I sure wouldn’t want an entire piece of furniture made from the stuff.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 1861 days

#10 posted 06-25-2012 01:46 PM

Maple is my favorite. I like it because it’s doesn’t have the pours like oak or ash has, and I like the very light amber color it gets when finished. It also goes well with some other woods I like (walnut, purpleheart and cherry)

I haven’t done much with any of the maple variants yet (tiger, birds eye .. or even soft maple) I want to try some soft maple to see if it looks the same but easier to work with.


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

View OldMarine's profile


70 posts in 1362 days

#11 posted 06-25-2012 01:48 PM

Myrtlewood. Beautiful colors, patterns, and finishes well.

-- Jim, Southern Oregon

View Ted's profile


2605 posts in 1300 days

#12 posted 06-25-2012 04:12 PM

Thanks for all the replies everybody. This is very insightful, helping me to understand what woods are commonly used by fellow LJs. There are no ‘wrong’ answers—free wood is certainly a favorite, considering I have reclaimed a few pieces myself.

Does anybody know what that website is, where the guy shares hundreds of photos of various woods? I ran accross it one day some time ago and cant find it again. The website is very basic and he states that the woods are not for sale. I think he does the site as a hobby or something. Also, he sells his turned bowls.

When I get some time I plan to go through all these posts and search google images for the woods I’m not familiar with. Myrtlewood, for instance, I’ve heard of but don’t know what it looks like, until now…

I also want to look up further information about these woods, where they grow, what the tree looks like, pieces made from the wood, etc… I guess it’s sort of a research project. :)

-- There are three types of people in this world... those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.

View Dave's profile


11256 posts in 1929 days

#13 posted 06-26-2012 01:01 AM

I cant pick. It depends on the project and the mood I am in.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2075 days

#14 posted 06-26-2012 01:18 AM

My favourite wood is one I am exploring for the first time… seriously, they’re all amazing.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View gfadvm's profile


13941 posts in 1779 days

#15 posted 06-26-2012 02:05 AM

I have lots of “favorites” but mesquite and hedge are probably #1 and #2.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

showing 1 through 15 of 25 replies

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