learning types of woods

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Forum topic by Gary Land posted 07-21-2009 08:52 PM 1035 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Gary Land

3 posts in 3228 days

07-21-2009 08:52 PM

Hello all, I am reletively new to woodworking and wated to know the best way to learnthe various types of woods. there is so much out there any help would be appreciated

-- Gary Land Motor City Scrollers

11 replies so far

View LesB's profile


1726 posts in 3440 days

#1 posted 07-21-2009 09:02 PM

One good way is to decide what it is you want to build then post the question of what wood to use on this forum. Or choose a wood and ask what everyone thinks. Another way is if you have a good hardwood store near you just go in and check out what they have and ask the salesman about them and their uses, shortcomings and strengths. Often you will find the price can dictate what you use.

I just Googled, “types of wood” and came up with pages of web sites to read from.

-- Les B, Oregon

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3477 days

#2 posted 07-21-2009 09:22 PM

I think the best way to learn what different woods look like is to actually look at different woods regularly. This may involve going to a hardwood lumber company, Rockler, Woodcraft, etc., and walking through their stock and get a visual of what the woods look like. I had tried to read books, look at pamphlets etc, but nothing seemed to work better than just doing my studying at a lumber company.

It also helps to build something with various lumbers and then you tend to remember its characteristics.

I have a really gross joke that would fit perfectly here, but I better not… :-)

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3645 days

#3 posted 07-21-2009 09:27 PM

Welcome to Lumberjocks!

I think googling might be overwhelming…

instead, what I found to be of most value is what Wayne suggests – go to a lumber yard, and walk around – see, touch, smell, feel the types of lumber they have there.. this will give you so much more understanding than google in this case.

feel the weight differences, texture differences, and hardness of the different species available…

then , choose one, and try to work a project with it… this will teach you the working characteristic of that wood… then choose another for the next project… this will teach you the differences of working with different types of lumber, and might help you understand what to look for, for each particular project.

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

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3283 days

#4 posted 07-21-2009 10:24 PM

Check this out . I bought something similar years ago, and have found it to be a great resource, if you’re willing to spend the money

There is also a very good book I have too. It’s at home so I’ll have to get you that info later.


View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3322 days

#5 posted 07-22-2009 12:09 AM

Keep checking out the projects here and ask “what kind of wood is that” if I don’t beat you to it. I have picked up tons of info in a short while and recently bought some wood I never thought I would buy… Or even heard of!

The knowledge tidbits are precious. In a very recent post I saw one LJ say how he hates to work with red oak because it splinters. Another said he loves it because it makes great straight edges. Lots of info to synthesize and test.

View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 3323 days

#6 posted 07-22-2009 12:56 AM

While there is no substitute for actually holding/seeing and feeling the real thing…here is a web site that shows pics of several different types of exotics.

Some already have pictures…others just click on the name and the pic will show up. The ones that already have pics…still click on them and it will show different parts of the wood, end grain, burl…stained, not stained etc etc etc.

-- Don S.E. OK

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 3762 days

#7 posted 07-22-2009 02:31 AM

Good one Don.

View a1Jim's profile (online now)


117091 posts in 3574 days

#8 posted 07-22-2009 02:36 AM

I agree with all of the above

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18268 posts in 3672 days

#9 posted 07-22-2009 06:08 AM

I say what Jim says:-)) I’d start with the basic ones available to you locally and work up from there. Looking at pics on the web isn’t anything like feeling the real deal.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 3323 days

#10 posted 07-22-2009 07:46 AM

Thanks JJ…...I said that link only shows exotics…it actually shows just about any wood you can think of…from A to Z

-- Don S.E. OK

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 3292 days

#11 posted 07-22-2009 11:37 AM

This is the wood reference I use. It has nice descriptions and specific gravity of exotics, and if you wish you can order from them.


-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

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