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Evaluating Different Types of Wood

When you start new woodworking projects, there are a couple of things that you are going to need.  You are going to need a plan, the right tools, and most importantly, you are going to need some wood.  There are quite literally hundreds of different types of wood that you can use in your project going from the very cheap to exotic woods that will cost you thousands of dollars.  Evaluating different types of wood can be challenging if you’re new to woodworking, so let’s show you to do just that.

Get What You Like

First and foremost, don’t purchase wood that you’re not crazy about.  Don’t feel you need to compromise on either quality or style when it comes to your projects.  When you visit a lumberyard or even a craft store, the salespeople may pressure you to buy what they want to sell you rather than what you might want.  On the other hand, many of the people that work here are relatively knowledgeable, and they may have reason to suggest a different type of wood. Carefully look at each piece of wood, and whether it meets your specs, if it doesn’t, you can ask for something different.  It is up to you what piece of wood you want and ultimately buys.

What to Look For

You want to sift through each piece of wood to make sure it is straight.  You can work with wood that has some curves, but that will take some experience before you are ready to handle that.  You are also going to need to search for splits or warped wood; you want to look at each side and check out the edges.  The last thing you want to do is by an expensive but useless piece of wood.  If there are cracks or splits, you won’t be able to use it, or it will look awful.

Knotholes are another thing you want to check for, now knotholes are naturally occurring and can add character to a piece, but you want to check with your plans first.  Some plans don’t work well with knots.  If you are building something that is going to be staying outside like a bench or a picnic table, then you want to make sure that you have treated lumber.

If you are new to wood woodworking, then spruce and pine are good beginner woods, they are considered softwood and easier to work with.  Once you have the experience, then you can move up to cedar or oak. I have managed to network with Tree Service Keller, and the owner provides me with some good choices. It’s a Win-Win because they have to dispose of the Tree cuttings anyway.