Choosing the right type of wood is essential for your woodworking project’s success. We want our outcome to be durable, elegant and long-lasting. There are a large variety of wood types available and you must do some background research before buying wood.
Generally wood can be categorized into three groups. They are Hardwoods, Softwoods and composite woods. Often hardwood is much more durable compared to softwoods and composite woods. Composite wood is made through a mechanical process of combining powdered or layered wood. However, all these wood types have their own unique applications.
Some of the hardwood types are Maple, Mahogany, Oak, Rosewood, Cherry and Teak. These are good for projects built for many years with durability in mind. Most of these woods resist warping, shrinking and resists water. Since these types are strong and have a high density, you will often need industrial or power tools to work with them. Hardwood types are used for interior projects such as high quality furniture, doors, musical instruments etc. External uses include window frames, panels, boats and other construction work.
Few examples of softwood types are Pine, Redwood, Fir Cedar and Hemlock. Softwoods are often easy to work with because they are lesser in density. Some of these woods resist shrinkage while others do not. As hardwood, softwoods can also be used for both interior and exterior projects. Few examples are planks, boards, crates, fencing, closet lining etc.
In contrast to hardwoods and softwoods, composite woods such as MDF and plywood are mechanically processed woods. They are generally only used for interior projects such as furniture flooring and doors because of their low-water resistance. These types are cheaper and much easier to work with compared to other two types.
For successful completion of a woodworking project, you will also need the right tools. Some of the tools used by carpenters are saws, routers, shapers, grinders and sanders. Depending on your requirements, you may need to purchase or borrow few of these tools. You will be able to save a lot of time and effort by obtaining power tools compared to traditional manual tools.
When you finally make the decision on the type of wood, do some research online for market prices. Then visit local warehouse hardware stores and lumberyards to find the best possible deals. Of course the amount of time you want to spend on this step varies with the complexity of the job. If you just need to build a bookshelf, you might not need to spend too much time researching on the best prices. On the other hand, if you are building a fence, you will spend some time on research finding the right type of durable wood with the lowest possible price.
If this is your first woodworking project, even after you have spent time on your research, you may not be able to pick the right type of wood. In that case, visiting your local hardware store or the lumberyard and getting their recommendation would be the best thing to do.
Nathan Perera –
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