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.

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

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

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

Cherry

4/11
Cherry Wood

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


Uses: Cabinets, architectural woodwork, furniture, pipes


Price: $$$

Core77

Hard Maple

5/11
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

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

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

Rosewood

8/11
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

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

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

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

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