Wood and Wood Products available

 Different woods and wood products have different qualities and uses. Although different species can be used for almost anything you choose, here is a list of wood I have available and what they are used for. 
 

softwoods.

Softwoods come primarily from coniferous trees,(they drop their cones and have needles)

They are literally soft, cut easily but also bend or warp easily. They are also lightweight and are good woods for paint grade.

Pine

A species common in Alberta and is used in construction. For furniture it is a more affordable alternative to other species. Great for rustic furniture and finishes.  It has a lots of rustic knots and a light tone that yellows with time.  While pine can make nice furniture that lasts, it is more prone to wood movement and takes more wood to achieve the same strength, durability as a hardwood and to avoid wood movement.

Poplar/Aspen

These trees very common in Alberta, and of often sold in lumber yards as the same species. However they have different grain patterns and take stain very differently. They  can be used for rustic finishes although not as rustic as pine. They are more durable than pine and stain to a richer looking finish giving you lots of color choices.

Hardwoods.

Hardwoods come primarily from decidous trees. Very strong, durable woods less prone to bending or shrinking than pine, they  look great without any stain or finish and are used for quality high end furniture. While I can get just about any hardwood available here are the most common species.

Cherry

cherry is a strong, durable hardwood, and makes beautiful furniture. It has a nice reddish brown tone when left natural or clear coated but can also be stained to a rich cherry red/purple. Cherry looks great also when woo accents such as maple and incorporated in to the design, the contrast makes for a stunning visual appeal.

 Has a nice dark brown color and is multitoned. 

Hickory
Maple

There are a few different types of maple, however, white maple is the most commonly available. It has a nice light color and can be stained any color, and takes stain well. Looks great mixed with other darker woods such as cherry or walnut. Is a good choice for butcher block counter tops and cutting boards. A good choice also for drawer boxes in hardwood cabinets.

Birch

birch looks great stained or left natural, has a light brown tone but also stains to a nice dark chocolate brown. Available for furniture and other home accessories. Commonly used in kitchen cabinets.

Oak

There are two types of oak. Red oak and white oak. there are some differences when it comes to building. Red oak has it name because the leaves turn red in fall not because the wood is actually red, although I notice a slightly more reddish brown tone that white oak. The grain is more porous that white oak so it will absorb more moisture and therefor have more potential for wood movement. However it is still a very strong durable wood, and the price is good, often less than walnut.

 

White oak gets it's name because the tree has a very light grey bark. White oak is harder and heavier than red oak and the color is lighter, more of a tan color. It is also more expensive than red oak.

Walnut

One of my personal favorites. A beautiful dark brown hardwood.

It's heavy, durable, has impressively diverse grain patterns, there can be alot of bends, swirls stripes and figures due to the trees low forming branches. Walnut also contains a variety of color. varying from the dark chocolate brown to hazel greys and some pale yellow. The manufacterers have a process they apply which reduces the contrast.

 Looks great natural or with a dark stain to enhance it's color. Makes beautiful furniture. 

Wood product

These  options are made from wood but is not solid wood. These products are mostly used for cabinet backs, cabinet cases if the cases are large, drawer bottoms and door panels. Exceptions always apply and these are used when using solid wood just isn't necessary or wouldn't be reasonable. 

Veneered Plywood

Plywood is layers of wood glued on top of and perpendicular to each other. There are different types(grades) of plywood. Cabinet grade is stronger and has a thin wood veneer( a very thin layer of wood glued on top of plywood sheet), making it look like solid wood. Veneer is available in most wood species. 

When ever I use plywood it is veneered.

Melamine

Melamine is wood particles glued together and covered with a touch finish, a type of veneer. It's only used as one of my options I offer for the custom drawers and pullouts in existing cabinets.  It is available in a variety of colors but white is standard.

Woods for outdoor use.

Every once in a while I'm asked to do a project for outside, here are the best woods for outside projects that I would use.

Teak

A beautiful dark hardwood with high resin, nice for marine furniture. There is a specific oil and topcoat used for finishing teak which will help protect it and keep its color.  Left natural it will age to a grey color.

Cedar,

Used for roofing, deck furniture, planters, fencing and decks and many other outdoor uses. (note: I don't do roofing or decks) It is very soft but due to its natural chemicals is resistant to mold and other parasites that would destroy wood left outside.

Looks great sanded to a nice smooth finish and top coated or left natural. It does have a strong odor that will fade with time but if used indoors may not be appealing.

White Oak

White oak is hard, heavy and has a denser, less porous grain than red oak. This makes it more durable when exposed to the element and therefore a good choice for outdoor furniture.

Other info on wood.

Wood of course comes from trees, and different tree species produce different colors, grain patterns and strengths, making some wood better than others for different projects.

Grain. The grain is the result of growth rings in a tree, trees grow at different speeds due to species or environment, leaving different patterns in the grain. A fast growing tree will have wider more inconsistent grain. A slower growing tree will have straighter more consistent pattern

     edge grain;

     end grain;

     face grain;

Knots. A knot is where a branch used to be, and can leave a hole in a board or just a darker ringed area. Some wood such as pine can have a lot of knots. Often a knot will not effect the integrity of the wood but other times they need to be worked around and eliminated. They also offer nice rustic appeal in country style furniture.

Wood movement. Wood will absorb or release moisture from the surrounding atmosphere, so changes in temperature and humidity will effect the wood. Making it expand or shrink or bend; this is called wood movement. Softwood and open grain wood can move more than other woods. As moisture is absorbed the wood fibers expand, causing the whole board to widen, and as it releases moisture the same board will shrink. This movement can also cause a board to bend or twist. Care needs to be taken when building to accommodate this movement. Even after a project is completed wood will continue to respond to the temperature and humidity in it's environment, care must be taken with wood furniture that this movement won't become an issue. Although it cannot be eliminated altogether a well built and well cared for wood product will last for years and wood movement will not be a problem.