In this post, a more general vision on the most used type of wood and its main characteristics is going to be discussed.

What is wood?

The wood is obtained from the tree trunk, underneath its bark. Trees grow year after year, this growth allows the formation of concentric rings depending on the seasons.

Herbaceous plants are those plants that do not produce wood. Wood has been used since the Palaeolithic period. However, the possible uses of this material were exacerbated by the discovery of metals.

For obtaining wood, the following steps must be taken into account:

  1. Logging
  2. Extracting the bark and removing the branches.
  3. Chopping and cutting down the tree.
  4. Extracting and drying the wood.

There are different types of wood as different types of trees. The classification of this is divided between soft and hardwoods.

The following sections will explain the most used wood and its characteristics. They will be classified by its hardness in two major groups.

wood
wood

Types and characteristics of softwoods.

Softwoods normally come from fast-growing, perennial, and coniferous trees.

For example, pines, poplar, elms, paulownias, spruces, or cedars. Softwoods are easy to work with, and they wear out our machines less, however, this type of wood does not withstand the weather as much as other types.

Although, one should not associate soft with fragile since there are softwoods that are very resistant.

Pine

Working with pine is really easy. Is one of the cheapest woods in the market and also, one of the most used.

The term “pine” encompasses an infinite type of light-colored softwood. That is the reason why within timber stores there are different types of pine wood.

Despite they have a considerable number of knots that produce wood’s shrinkages, it has a uniform texture and is easy to work with.

Still, it is one of the most used woods by the professionals in carpentry, panelling, furniture, and mouldings.

pine
Pinewood planks.

Poplar

Is a wood easy to work with, light and normally holds light colours. It has plenty of knots but this wood, whether it’s hard of soft, is widely used in different wood formats by specially in plywood.

Despite China is the main producer, poplar is widely used in Europe.

Boxes made upon poplar wood.
Boxes made upon poplar wood.

Elm

Despite nowadays is not a common wood in Europe, it was widely used in the continent for several centuries.

It stands out by its beautiful appearance, its outstanding behaviour towards wet environments and its use in bending techniques.

Elm tree
Elm tree

Paulownia

Paulownia wood is one of the lightest softwoods (270kg/m3). It is easy to work with, clear from knots and it outstands by its light colour with pink shades.

It is originally from China and it has been uses throughout thousands of years in that very same region and Japan for saunas, furniture, timber claddings, models, surfboards, joinery…

Paulownia is a cheap wood, similar to pine. Its great abundance and quality make it very competitive and one of the most used woods in China.

Paulownia wood strip board with tools.
Paulownia wood strip board with tools.

Spruce

It is a white, lightweight wood that is widely used in Europe. The difference between sapwood and heartwood can be seen at first sight. It is used in various formats such as plank, veneer, plywood.

Spruce wood is of good quality and resistant to humidity. That is why it has been used for centuries in construction.

In Northern Europe it is used extensively for firewood and due to its lightweight it can be easily loaded on an easel.

sprace
sprace

Cedar

Cedar wood stands out for its reddish tones and its characteristic smell. As it is a soft wood, it is easy to work with. The trees can reach up to 20 and 50 metres and there’s been found trees over 2000 years old.

Cedar
Cedar

Malpe

Maple wood is light in colour, the hue can range from white to yellowish and pink.

It is a semi-light wood that is used for construction but also in the manufacture of musical instruments and furniture.

There are more than 20 different types of this tree in the World. As it is on the verge of being a hardwood, it has certain problems typical of the last ones, such as brushing produces the typical grain.

Maple wood
Maple wood

Types and characteristics of hardwoods

Hardwoods come from slow-growing trees, meaning trees that take many years to grow, this makes their wood more resistant than softwood but also more difficult to work with.

The supply of this type of wood is smaller than that of softwood, making it more expensive.

Hardwoods are commonly used for high-quality construction and joinery, as they hold up well over time.

Among the most used types of hardwoods stand out Oak, Mahogany, Teak, Walnut, Ash, Elm, Olive.

Oak

Oak originally growth in the northern hemisphere, reaching 40 meters of height and 3 in diameter, its hardwood is, along with pine, the most widely used due to the its quality, appearance, resistance, and ease to work with.

Although it is not a cheap wood, thanks to its abundance it is not excessively expensive.

Oak wood in a beer barrel.
Oak wood in a beer barrel.

Mahogany

Mahogany wood comes from South America. It is a wood with shades ranging from reddish to brown.

It is extremely versatile, of high-quality and resistant to both bumps and moisture.

The price of mahogany wood is high due to the current risk of overexploitation.

Mahogany Wood Tea Set
Mahogany Wood Tea Set

Teak

Teak wood stands out among all the others for its excellent behaviour outdoor and its durability.

It is a wood used throughout the world for shipbuilding and luxury-outdoors’s joinery. Tree native to Southeast Asia and can reach 40 meters.

Logging is controlled and this is reflected in the price, there are plantations in Africa and Latin America, although their quality is not exactly the same as that of Burma, for example.

Boat deck with Teak wood
Boat deck with Teak wood

Walnut

Walnut is a tree from western Asia and south-eastern Europe. The tree reaches up to 30 meters and with diameters that can reach 4 meters.

Walnut wood is semi-heavy, slightly nervous and semi-hard. It is famous because it is easy to work because it can be machined, applied finishes, glued, nailed and screwed without any problems.

Walnut
Walnut

Ash

Ash Wood is a dense, hard and very strong but also elastic wood, used to make bows, tool handles, high-quality furniture, and other uses that require great strength and resistance.

We can find the ash tree throughout Western Europe, North Africa, and in the eastern half of the United States mainly.

Ash tree
Ash tree

Elm

The Elm tree can be found in Central and Mediterranean Europe, America and Asia.

Olmo wood has some peculiar characteristics, it stands out for its ability to remain submerged and among its different uses sticks out floors, furniture, musical instruments or boat construction.

That is why the elm tree is highly appreciated.

Elm wood
Elm wood

Olive tree

The Olive trees are found in southern Europe and northern Africa. Olive wood is highly prized for its appearance.

The irregularity of its veins makes complex drawings that make each piece unique.

An important remark is its tendency to crack, making it complex to saw. However, once sawn it is not difficult to work.

Olive Wood
Olive Wood

Wenge

Wengue wood has its origin in Africa, specifically from the eastern part, it is very dark in colour and very dense (865 - 910 kg / m3).

We are dealing with a highly dark and hard wood that is mainly used in the manufacturing of musical instruments, pieces of furniture, floors and carpentry.

Wenge wood
Wenge wood

Most used type of wood video

This has been our classification of the different Most used types of wood most used and their characteristics, below we show you our video of the best woods with their characteristics.

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