|Wood types and descriptions
Poplar: The sapwood is creamy white and may be streaked, with the heartwood varying from pale yellowish brown to olive green. The green colour in the heartwood will tend to darken on exposure to light and turn brown. The wood has a medium to fine texture and is straight-grained; has a comparatively uniform texture.
A versatile wood that is easy to machine, plane, turn, glue and bore. It dries easily with minimal movement in performance and has little tendency to split when nailed. It takes and holds paint, enamel and stain exceptionally well.
A medium density wood with low bending, shock resistance, stiffness and compression values, with a medium steam-bending classification. Excellent strength and stability.
Red Oak: The sapwood of red oak is white to light brown and the heartwood is a pinkish reddish brown. The wood is similar in general appearance to white oak, but with a slightly less pronounced figure due to the smaller rays. The wood is mostly straight-grained, with a coarse texture.
Red Oak machines well, nailing and screwing are good although pre-boring is recommended, and it can be stained to a good finish. It can be stained with a wide range of finish tones. It dries slowly.
The wood is hard and heavy, with medium bending strength and stiffness and high crushing strength. It is very good for steam bending. Great wear-resistance
White Oak: The sapwood is light-coloured and the heartwood is light to dark brown. White oak is mostly straight-grained with a medium to coarse texture, with longer rays than red oak. White oak therefore has more figure.
White oak machines well, nails and screws well although pre-boring is advised. Since it reacts with iron, galvanized nails are recommended. Its adhesive properties are variable, but it stains to a good finish. Can be stained with a wide range of finish tones. The wood dries slowly.
A hard and heavy wood with medium bending and crushing strength, low in stiffness, but very good in steam bending. Great wear-resistance.
African Mahogany: The sapwood of African Mahogany is creamy white and the heartwood is a reddish brown, often with a purple cast. It has interlocked or straight grain, often with a ribbon figure and a moderately coarse texture.
African Mahogany works fairly easily although interlocked, wooly grain can be troublesome. It glues, nails and screws satisfactorily. It stains and polishes to an excellent finish.
The wood is moderately heavy and hard with medium bending and crushing strength, low stiffness and sock resistance, moderate decay resistance and good stability in use. It has a poor steam bending rating.
Sapele Mahogany: The narrow sapwood is pale yellow-white and the heartwood is salmon pink when freshly cut, maturing into reddish-brown. It has a closely interlocked grain, resulting in a pronounced and regular pencil striped or roe figure on quartered surfaces. Wavy grain yields a highly decorative fiddleback or mottled figure with a fine and even texture.
The wood dries fairly rapidly, with a marked tendency to distort. There is medium movement in service. Sapele has a medium density, bending and shock resistance, high crushing strength and low stiffness, and poor steam-bending rating. It works fairly well with both hand and machine tools, with moderate blunting of cutting edges caused by the interlocked grain. Nailing and gluing are satisfactory, and care is required when staining. When filled the surface can be brought to an excellent finish. The sapwood is liable to attack by powder post beetle and moderately resistant to impregnation. The heartwood is moderately durable but extremely resistant to preservative treatment.
Hard Maple: The sapwood is creamy white with a slight reddish brown tinge and the heartwood varies from light to dark reddish brown. The amount of darker brown heartwood can vary significantly according to growing region. Both sapwood and heartwood can contain pith fleck. The wood has a close fine, uniform texture and is generally straight-grained, but it can also occur as "curly," "fiddleback," and "birds-eye" figure.
Hard maple dries slowly with high shrinkage, so it can be susceptible to movement in performance. Pre-boring is recommended when nailing and screwing. With care it machines well, turns well, glues satisfactorily, and can be stained to an outstanding finish. Polishes well and is suitable for enamel finishes and brown tones.The wood is hard and heavy with good strength properties, in particular its high resistance to abrasion and wear. It also has good steam-bending properties.
Soft Maple: In most respects soft maple is very similar to hard maple. Generally the sapwood is greyish white, sometimes with darker coloured pith flecks. The heartwood varies from light to dark reddish brown. The wood is usually straight-grained. The lumber is generally sold unselected for colour.
Soft maple machines well and can be stained to an excellent finish. It glues, screws, and nails satisfactorily. Polishes well and is suitable for enamel finishes and brown tones. It dries slowly with minimal degrade and there is little movement in performance.
Soft maple is about 25 percent less hard than hard maple, has medium bending and crushing strength, and is low in stiffness and shock resistance. It has good steam-bending properties.
Soft maple is often used as a substitute for hard maple or stained to resemble other species such as cherry. Its physical and working properties also make it a possible substitute for beech.
Cherry: The heartwood of cherry varies from rich red to reddish brown and will darken with age and on exposure to light. In contrast, the sapwood is creamy white. The wood has a fine uniform, straight grain, satiny, smooth texture, and may naturally contain brown pith flecks and small gum pockets.
Cherry is easy to machine, nails and glues well and when sanded and stained, it produces an excellent smooth finish. It dries fairly quickly with moderately high shrinkage, but is dimensionally stable after kiln-drying.
The wood is of medium density with good bending properties, it has low stiffness and medium strength and shock resistance.
Ash: The sapwood is light-coloured to nearly white and the heartwood varies from greyish or light brown, to pale yellow streaked with brown. The wood is generally straight-grained with a coarse uniform texture. The degree and availability of light-coloured sapwood, and other properties, will vary according to the growing regions.
Ash machines well, is good in nailing, screwing and gluing, and can be stained to a very good finish. It dries fairly easily with minimal degrade, and there is little movement in performance.
Ash has very good overall strength properties relative to its weight. It has excellent shock resistance and is good for steam bending.