Wood For Woodworking

By Robert Robillard on Workshop tips

The following guest post was written by Marcy Tate.   Marcy is a home improvement blogger at fixyourhome.wordpress.comblog and has been working with carpenters for over a decade.

The Different Types of Wood for Woodworking

Before beginning woodworking projects, the first step is to pick the right wood for the craft. Start by researching the different types of wood in order to select the right one for your project. When selecting a wood, consider the wood’s:
• Strength
• Hardness
• Grain characteristics
• Cost
• Stability
• Weight
• Color
• Durability
• Availability

If you are new to woodworking, the many different types of wood may seem confusing and overwhelming. Below is a simple guide to the different types of wood to help you get started with your project on the right foot.

Softwood, Hardwood and Manufactured Panels

There are three types of wood used in carpentry: Softwood, hardwood and manufactured panels.


Softwoods come from evergreen trees. They are great for beginner woodworkers because they are soft and easy to work with. They are great for intricately carved projects. Softwoods are more susceptible to marks and dings, but this can often result in an appealing weathered quality.


• Reddish color
• Aromatically sweet
• Uniform texture
• Resists decay
• Used for: chests, closet linings, roof shingles and outdoor projects such as decks and fences


• Easy to work with
• Finishes well
• Can decay easily with excessive moisture
• Used for: trim, doors, furniture and sandboxes


• Lightweight
• Similar qualities to fir
• Used for: sub-flooring, planks, crates and small woodworking projects


• Uniform texture
• Easy to work with
• Finishes well
• Used for: house construction, paneling and trim


• Lightweight
• Durable
• Easy to work with
• Resists decay
• Used for: siding, fencing and paneling


• Strong and hard
• Finishes well
• Moderate shrinkage
• Lightweight
• Used for: crates, boxes and general millwork


Hardwoods come from leaf-shedding trees.  They are used for making fine furniture, as they offer greater strength and stability.  Hardwood has a higher density than softwood and is therefore harder.


• Ages well
• Resists warping and shrinking
• Used for: cabinets and furniture handles


• Reddish brown
• Durable
• Resists swelling and shrinking
• Used for: cabinets, decks and fine furniture


• Strong and hard
• Fine textured
• Used for: flooring, bookcases and other furniture


• Extremely strong
• Durable
• Resists moisture absorption
• Used for: trim work, desks, flooring, bookcases and other furniture


• Fragrant
• Hard to work with
• Needs a high polish
• Used for: musical instruments, flooring and cabinetry


• Hard and durable
• Resists rot
• Used for: doors, window framing, flooring and general construction


• Dark brown
• Strong
• Easy to work with
• Finishes well
• Used for: various carpentry projects from wall paneling to furniture

Manufactured Panels

Manufactured panels, such as plywood, are made from thin laminates of wood glued together. Manufactured wood is used widely in the building industry. There are several varieties of plywood, including interior and exterior plywood.

Your woodworking project will have a greater chance at success if you select your wood carefully. Plan ahead and make sure your local lumberyard has the type of wood you need in stock.

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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