10 Great Woods for Woodworking

Woodworking pro, Spike Carlsen, shares his pick for the top ten best woodworking woods, along with the characteristics, best uses and cost for each.

  1. Which Wood is Best

    1/12
    Which Wood is Best

    For a seasoned woodworker, like Spike Carlsen, former executive editor of Family Handyman and author of “Woodwoorking FAQ: The Workshop Companion,” choosing the right wood for the right job is second-nature. For the rest of us, it involves a bit of research. If you are tackling a project—and in doubt, read on to find out Carlsen's top 10 picks for the best woodworking woods.

     Storey Publishing

  2. Ash

    2/12
    Ash Wood

    Characteristics: Gray-brown; straight, pronounced grain; coarse texture; heavy and strong


    Uses: Bats, hockey sticks, tool handles, furniture, curved boat parts


    Price: $$

    Trendir

  3. Butternut

    3/12
    Butternut Wood

    Characteristics: White to light brown; soft; straight, coarse grain


    Uses: Carving, cabinets, turning, kitchen utensils


    Price: $$

    House Beautiful

  4. Cherry

    4/12
    Cherry Wood

    Characteristics: Light to dark, reddish brown; straight, faint grain; moderately hard; finishes well


    Uses: Cabinets, architectural woodwork, furniture, pipes


    Price: $$$

    Core77

  5. Hard Maple

    5/12
    Maple Wood

    Characteristics: Light, reddish brown; straight, faint grain; moderately hard; finishes well


    Uses: Furniture, cabinets, flooring, butcher blocks, baseball bats, piano actions


    Price: $$

    DeVos Custom Woodworking

  6. Mahogany

    6/12
    Mahogany

    Characteristics: Light to deep reddish brown; straight, interlocked grain; coarse texture


    Uses: Fine furniture, office furniture, decorative veneers, stairways, boatbuilding, caskets, pattern making


    Price: $$$

    Pinebeds.org

  7. Pine

    7/12
    Pine Woodworking

    Characteristics: Pale yellow to light brown; soft and lightweight; stains poorly; good workability


    Uses: Construction lumber, millwork, window sashes, doors, musical instruments, cabinets, paneling


    Price: $

    Kitchencabinets.tk

  8. Rosewood

    8/12
    Rosewood

    Characteristics: Chocolate brown to violet brown; amazing figure; heavy, hard, and dense (barely floats); oily; rare


    Uses: Stringed instruments, turning, fine furniture, decorative items


    Price: $$$$

    Wikipedia

  9. Teak

    9/12
    Teak

    Characteristics: Golden brown; resists rot and moisture; oily; abrasive on tool edges; sawdust is an irritant


    Uses: Outdoor furniture, boat decks, flooring


    Price: $$$

    Costarica-invest.blogspot.com

  10. Walnut

    10/12
    Walnut Wood

    Characteristics: Light gray-brown to purplish brown; highly figured grain, burls, and crotches; polishes well; strong and stable


    Uses: Furniture, carving, gunstocks, cabinets


    Price: $$$

    Glumber.com

  11. White and Red Oak

    11/12
    Red Oak

    Characteristics: Reddish brown to tan; strong grain figure; hard and heavy; stains well


    Uses: Cabinets, flooring, furniture; cooperage and boatbuilding (white oak only)


    Price: $$

    Houzz

  12. For More...

    12/12
    Woodworking

    If you are interested in more about woodworking, consider:


    Choosing Essential Tools for Woodworking


    5 Easy Woodworking Projects for Beginners


    Planning Your Woodworking Shop

    Fine Woodworking

  13. See the House of the Week

    1pixel

    Discover and admire beautiful and innovative home architecture, from grand Victorians to quaint cabins and all the styles in between. Take a look at the latest images and inspiration!