The 10 Best Woods for Woodworking (According to a Pro)

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

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    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

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    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

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    Butternut Wood

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


    Uses: Carving, cabinets, turning, kitchen utensils


    Price: $$

    House Beautiful

  4. Cherry

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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.org

  9. Teak

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    Teak

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


    Uses: Outdoor furniture, boat decks, flooring


    Price: $$$

    costaricainvest.blog spot.com

  10. Walnut

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    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

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    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.com

  12. Don't Miss!

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