No matter what project you have in mind, the ultimate success of your project will depend on you choosing the right wood. Your wood choice will sit at the heart of your project, so it helps to know a little bit about the different types of wood you can choose from, and which wood is better for your particular DIY project success.
There are lots of different softwood species, each one has its own unique character and qualities that can lend themselves to different uses. Carpenters and joiners have spent many hundreds of years getting to know wood and which types can give you the results you want. So it is wise to look at their expertise for guidance to make sure that you pick the right wood type.
Depending on what job or project you have in hand, lets take a look at some of the most popular choices of wood available today and their natural properties:
Scandinavian Redwood is a very popular choice for outdoor construction projects because of it’s high tensile strength. It has very good durability, so it is commonly used for both domestic and commercial building projects. When properly used and maintained, you can expect a decent life-span of around thirty years or more. A great appeal of this wood is that it ages well and can still look good even after many years of weathering.
European Oak is a highly desirable wood because of it’s natural high quality. Oak has a lovely rich colour with an aesthetically pleasing wood grain that can add a touch of class to your project. A great wood to use when you want to add some character to an average kitchen, or you want to create a rustic feel to your home with some exposed beams. Oak is particularly strong and durable. It is also resistant to moisture, so can stand up well to a damp climate.
Sapele is a beautiful wood that is part of the mahogany family. Originating from the tropical climates of Africa, the trees can grow to amazing heights and widths, reaching up to a height of 45m and a diameter of 10m. A very hard and heavy wood, Sapele tends to get darker with age, so bear this in mind should you choose to use it. The wood starts out as a rich golden brown colour, but will gradually mature to a dark red / brown colour.
Iroko is a very durable wood, and is chosen for its high resistance to both rot and insects. This is a good choice of wood for use as hard-wearing surfaces such as flooring, boatbuilding, and for heavy-duty furniture use – for example in a busy restaurant environment. Iroko is also easy to work with and glues and finishes well.
Ash wood is known for its strength and durability. Many people choose Ash for it’s naturally light colour, which makes it ideal to use in small kitchens where you don’t want to use heavy or dark woods for your kitchen cabinets. It is a popular choice for furniture making, picture frames and hand tools. Ash is far less resistant to moisture than Oak and tends to be more expensive too.
American Black Walnut wood has always been considered to be prime stock in America. Right from the time of the first frontier settlers, this wood was used by city craftsmen to fashion furniture and tools that were needed by the new nation. Even today, Black Walnut continues to be highly prized and regarded as the traditional wood of the Americas. It is a favourite wood used across the world to fashion everything from musical instruments to wood panelling and sculptures. It has great properties such as being shock resistant, stable and strong. This is why is was commonly used for making shotgun stocks.
If you want to let the true beauty of your wood shine through, then choosing wood finishes such as waxes can be good for interior wood surfaces. If you have some wooden furniture pieces, you can buy wood furniture wax that good for finishing the wood. Using wax instead of paint or varnish means that it will never peel, flake or crack. Waxed wood is very easy to look after. However, wood wax isn’t really recommended for use in the bathroom or for use on a kitchen floor as it’s prone to staining from liquid spillages. If you want to wax a wooden floor, then it is recommended to use a hard wax oil instead of a soft wood wax.