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From Tree to Treasure: The Art of Selecting the Perfect Wood | 24 Hardwoods Rated

Updated: Nov 8, 2023


A acoustic guitar against a trunk of a tree

Welcome to a comprehensive guide on the journey from tree to treasure – the meticulous art of choosing the perfect hardwood for your projects.


In this extensive blog post, we'll delve into the world of 24 different hardwood wood species, exploring their characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses.


Whether you're an avid DIY enthusiast, a homeowner in search of bespoke furniture, or a business owner aiming to elevate your space, this guide is your gateway to understanding the intricacies of wood selection.


Table of Contents:

- Introduction

- Durability and Strength

- Appearance and Grain Patterns

- Suitability for Different Projects

A sample of different wood varieties end grain with a caption: the diversity of wood: exploring different species

The Diversity of Wood: Exploring Different Species

The world of wood is an enchanting realm, brimming with diversity that spans continents and climates. It boasts a plethora of species, each with its unique attributes and charm, waiting to be discovered by woodworking enthusiasts and nature admirers alike. From the deep, rich tones of mahogany that whisper of timeless elegance to the light, delicate grains of maple, reminiscent of nature's finesse, each wood species brings its own distinctive character to your creations.


A Symphony of Choices

Imagine standing in a vast forest, surrounded by a symphony of colors, textures, and scents. Each tree is a living testament to nature's artistry, and each wood species carries a story of its own. Some woods, like the regal oak, exude strength and resilience, making them ideal choices for sturdy furniture and architectural marvels. In contrast, the cherry wood's warm hues and fine grain lend an air of sophistication to any piece it graces.


Unearth the Secrets

As we embark on this journey through the diverse world of wood, we'll uncover the secrets and subtleties that make each species truly exceptional. We'll explore the history and cultural significance behind these woods, shedding light on their role in shaping our world and traditions. From the intricate patterns of zebrawood to the aromatic cedar's natural pest-repelling properties, there's a wealth of knowledge waiting to be uncovered.


This exploration of hardwood species will be your creative palette. It's a guide to not only understanding the technical aspects of each wood but also connecting with the soul of our creations.



Join Us on the Journey

So, join us on this captivating journey into the heart of the world's woodlands.


Together, we'll celebrate the diversity of wood, learn about its many species, and unleash the artist within.


Whether you're thinking of crafting a heirloom piece or simply want to appreciate the natural wonders around us, there's a place for you in the world of wood.


Let's embark on this adventure and unlock the endless possibilities that these remarkable species offer."


 

A man selecting wood from a rack

Factors to Consider When Choosing Wood:

Choosing the right wood for your project is a critical decision that impacts the final outcome in terms of both aesthetics and functionality.

  • Durability and Strength: Delve into the durability and strength of different wood species. Read More About Hardwood Durability & Strength

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns: The role of appearance and grain patterns in the visual appeal of woodworking projects.

  • Suitability for Different Projects: Insights into the suitability of specific wood types for various projects.

A wood workshop with a caption: a deep dive into 25 wood species: strengths, weaknesses and ratings

A Deep Dive into 24 Hardwood Species: Strengths, Weaknesses, and Ratings: Unveiling the Essence


Embark on an immersive exploration into the heart of woodworking craftsmanship. Join us as we dive beneath the surface of wood, uncovering the stories woven into each unique timber. In this chapter, we venture into the realm of wood species – where every grain holds a tale, every hue paints a picture, and every knot echoes its origin.


Picture having a palette of wood species, each with qualities that can transform your creations. From oak's rugged strength to rosewood's captivating allure, these woods are more than materials; they're the raw materials of dreams.


Discover the strengths, weaknesses, and nuances of 24 wood species. Delve into durability, explore appearance and grain patterns, and find the perfect match for your projects.


This isn't just a wood catalog – it's a narrative of craftsmanship, a guide to creation. So, fellow artisans, let's venture forth and unravel the stories these woods long to share. Beyond the grains and textures lies the magic of turning nature into art.


Join us on this journey of discovery and creation.


24 Hardwoods Unveiled. From Saligna to Oak, Explore the Beauty and Versatility of Nature's Palette.


The ratings for each wood species are based on several key factors that are important to consider when choosing wood for woodworking projects.

5 Wood star ratings

Here's an explanation of how each aspect was rated:


  • Durability and Strength: This rating evaluates how well the wood species can withstand wear, moisture, and other environmental factors, as well as its resistance to damage and decay. Higher ratings indicate greater durability and strength, which are crucial for long-lasting woodworking projects. Read More

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns: This aspect assesses the visual appeal of the wood, including its color, grain patterns, and overall aesthetics. Higher ratings are given to wood species with attractive colors and grain patterns that enhance the beauty of finished projects. Read More

  • Suitability for Different Projects: This rating considers the versatility of the wood species and its suitability for various types of woodworking projects. A higher rating indicates that the wood can be used in a wide range of applications, from furniture making to cabinetry and flooring.

  • Overall Rating: The overall rating is a composite score that takes into account all of the above factors. It provides a holistic assessment of the wood species, considering its strengths and weaknesses in various areas. A higher overall rating indicates that the wood is a well-rounded choice for woodworking projects.


It's important to note that these ratings are relative and can vary based on individual preferences and project requirements. For example, a wood species with a lower overall rating may still be the best choice for a specific project if its characteristics align with the project's needs.


Additionally, factors such as availability and cost can also influence wood selection. These ratings are meant to serve as a general guide to help woodworkers make informed decisions when choosing the right wood for their projects.

24 Hardwood species are listed with their ratings below:

African Mahogany wood Texture

1. African Mahogany (Khaya spp.)

  • Durability and Strength (7/10): Good durability and strength, suitable for various woodworking projects.

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns (8/10): Beautiful reddish-brown color with attractive grain patterns.

  • Suitability for Different Projects (8/10): Commonly used in furniture making and cabinetry.

  • Overall Rating (75/100): A solid choice for many woodworking projects.


Afrormosia wood texture

2. Afrormosia (Pericopsis elata)

  • Durability and Strength (9/10): Exceptionally durable and strong, ideal for outdoor projects.

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns (7/10): Medium to dark brown with a subtle grain pattern.

  • Suitability for Different Projects (8/10): Excelling in outdoor furniture and decking.

  • Overall Rating (80/100): Top choice for outdoor woodwork.


Alder wood texture

3. Alder (Alnus spp.)

  • Durability and Strength (5/10): Moderately durable and less strong, better for light-duty projects.

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns (6/10): Pale color with a subtle grain pattern.

  • Suitability for Different Projects (7/10): Commonly used in furniture and cabinets.

  • Overall Rating (56/100): Reliable choice for indoor woodworking.


American Ash wood texture

4. American Ash (Fraxinus americana)

  • Durability and Strength (7/10): Good durability and strength for various projects.

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns (6/10): Pale color with pronounced grain patterns.

  • Suitability for Different Projects (7/10): Commonly used in furniture making and sports equipment.

  • Overall Rating (70/100): Versatile choice for woodworking.


Beech Wood texture

5. Beech (Fagus spp.)

  • Durability and Strength (6/10): Moderately durable and strong, suitable for indoor projects.

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns (7/10): Pale, consistent color with a fine grain.

  • Suitability for Different Projects (7/10): Used in furniture and cabinets for its workability.

  • Overall Rating (63/100): Reliable for indoor woodworking.


Blackwood Texture

6. Blackwood (Dalbergia spp.)

  • Durability and Strength (8/10): Known for exceptional durability and strength.

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns (9/10): Dark, rich color with striking grain patterns.

  • Suitability for Different Projects (8/10): Used in fine furniture and musical instruments.

  • Overall Rating (80/100): Preferred choice for high-end woodworking.


Cherry Wood Texture

7. Cherry (Prunus serotina)

  • Durability and Strength (6/10): Moderately durable and strong, suitable for indoor use.

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns (9/10): Beautiful reddish-brown color with fine, distinctive grain.

  • Suitability for Different Projects (7/10): Popular in fine furniture and cabinetry.

  • Overall Rating (70/100): Known for its striking appearance.


Ebony Wood Texture

8. Ebony (Diospyros spp.)

  • Durability and Strength (9/10): Exceptionally durable and strong, ideal for high-end woodworking.

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns (9/10): Deep black color with fine, straight grain patterns.

  • Suitability for Different Projects (8/10): Often used in inlays, musical instruments, and high-end furniture.

  • Overall Rating (86/100): Top choice for luxury woodworking.


Iroko Wood Texture

9. Iroko (Milicia excelsa)

  • Durability and Strength (8/10): Known for durability and strength, suitable for outdoor and marine applications.

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns (7/10): Golden to medium brown with an interlocked grain pattern.

  • Suitability for Different Projects (8/10): Used in boat building, outdoor furniture, and flooring.

  • Overall Rating (78/100): Preferred for outdoor and marine projects.


Kiaat wood texture

10. Kiaat (Pterocarpus angolensis)

  • Durability and Strength (7/10): Good durability and strength, suitable for various woodworking projects.

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns (8/10): Warm reddish-brown color with prominent grain patterns.

  • Suitability for Different Projects (8/10): Commonly used in furniture and joinery.

  • Overall Rating (75/100): A solid choice for woodworking.


Mansonia wood texture

11. Mansonia (Mansonia spp.)

  • Durability and Strength (6/10): Moderately durable and strong, suitable for various indoor applications.

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns (5/10): Pale to light brown with a subtle grain pattern.

  • Suitability for Different Projects (6/10): Used in indoor furniture and joinery due to its workability.

  • Overall Rating (54/100): Practical choice for indoor projects.


Maple wood texture

12. Maple (Acer spp.)

  • Durability and Strength (7/10): Good durability and strength, suitable for various woodworking applications.

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns (8/10): Light, pale color with fine, consistent grain.

  • Suitability for Different Projects (8/10): Commonly used in furniture, cabinets, and flooring.

  • Overall Rating (73/100): Versatile option for woodworking.


Meranti wood texture

13. Meranti (Shorea spp.)

  • Durability and Strength (6/10): Moderately durable and strong, suitable for interior and exterior applications with proper treatment.

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns (7/10): Reddish to brown color with a medium to coarse grain pattern.

  • Suitability for Different Projects (7/10): Used in windows, doors, and outdoor applications where budget considerations come into play.

  • Overall Rating (60/100): Decent durability for outdoor use at a more budget-friendly price point.


Okoume wood texture

14. Okoume (Aucoumea klaineana)

  • Durability and Strength (5/10): Moderately durable and less strong, suitable for lightweight projects.

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns (6/10): Pale to pinkish color with a fine, uniform grain.

  • Suitability for Different Projects (6/10): Often used in plywood, cabinetry, and boat building due to its lightweight nature.

  • Overall Rating (51/100): Best suited for applications where weight is a primary consideration.


Patrys wood texture

15. Patrys (Erythrophleum africanum)

  • Durability and Strength (8/10): Known for durability and strength, suitable for outdoor and heavy-duty projects.

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns (7/10): Medium to dark brown with a coarse grain pattern.

  • Suitability for Different Projects (7/10): Often used in outdoor furniture and construction.

  • Overall Rating (72/100): Practical choice for outdoor woodworking.


Poplar wood texture

16. Poplar (Populus spp.)

  • Durability and Strength (4/10): Less durable and weaker than many other woods, more suitable for indoor projects.

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns (5/10): Typically has a pale, creamy color with a subtle grain pattern.

  • Suitability for Different Projects (6/10): Often used in interior millwork, cabinetry, and painted furniture due to its affordability.

  • Overall Rating (45/100): Cost-effective choice for indoor projects.


Red oak wood texture

17. Red Oak (Quercus rubra)

  • Durability and Strength (8/10): Good durability and strength, suitable for a wide range of indoor applications.

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns (7/10): Light to medium brown with pronounced grain patterns.

  • Suitability for Different Projects (8/10): Commonly used in furniture, cabinets, and flooring.

  • Overall Rating (75/100): Versatile choice for indoor woodworking.


Rhodesian Teak wood texture

18. Rhodesian Teak (Baikiaea plurijuga)

  • Durability and Strength (9/10): Exceptionally durable and strong, ideal for outdoor and heavy-duty applications.

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns (8/10): Rich, reddish-brown color with attractive grain patterns.

  • Suitability for Different Projects (9/10): Excels in outdoor furniture, decking, and flooring.

  • Overall Rating (86/100): Stands out for its durability and beautiful appearance, particularly in outdoor projects.


Rosewood wood texture

19. Rosewood (Dalbergia spp.)

  • Durability and Strength (9/10): Exceptionally durable and strong, a top choice for fine woodworking.

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns (9/10): Dark, reddish-brown color with striking grain patterns.

  • Suitability for Different Projects (8/10): Often used in high-end furniture, musical instruments, and veneers.

  • Overall Rating (86/100): A preferred choice for luxury woodworking.


Rubberwood wood texture

20. Rubberwood (Hevea brasiliensis)

  • Durability and Strength (6/10): Moderately durable and strong, suitable for indoor furniture and cabinetry.

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns (6/10): Light color with a subtle grain pattern, often used for affordability.

  • Suitability for Different Projects (7/10): Commonly used in budget-friendly furniture.

  • Overall Rating (55/100): Budget-friendly option for indoor projects.


Saligna wood texture

21. Saligna (Eucalyptus spp.)

  • Durability and Strength (7/10): Offers decent durability and strength, suitable for various woodworking projects.

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns (6/10): Light to medium brown with a subtle grain pattern.

  • Suitability for Different Projects (7/10): Versatile, commonly used in cabinetry, flooring, and outdoor furniture.

  • Overall Rating (65/100): Earns a respectable score for its balanced combination of durability, appearance, and versatility.


Walnut wood texture

22. Walnut (Juglans spp.)

  • Durability and Strength (7/10): Offers good durability and strength, suitable for various indoor applications.

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns (9/10): Dark, rich color with striking grain patterns.

  • Suitability for Different Projects (8/10): Often used in high-end furniture, cabinetry, and veneers.

  • Overall Rating (75/100): Impresses with its appearance and good durability, a preferred choice for indoor woodworking.


White oak wood texture

23. White Oak (Quercus alba)

  • Durability and Strength (9/10): Exceptionally durable and strong, ideal for outdoor and heavy-duty applications.

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns (8/10): Light to medium brown with pronounced grain patterns.

  • Suitability for Different Projects (9/10): Excels in outdoor furniture, boat building, and flooring.

  • Overall Rating (86/100): Stands out for its durability and appealing appearance, particularly in outdoor projects.


Wenge wood texture

24. Wenge (Millettia laurentii)

  • Durability and Strength (9/10): Renowned for exceptional durability and strength, ideal for high-end woodworking.

  • Appearance and Grain Patterns (9/10): Dark, chocolate brown with striking, distinctive grain patterns.

  • Suitability for Different Projects (8/10): Often used in fine furniture, cabinetry, and musical instruments due to its appearance.

  • Overall Rating (86/100): Top choice for luxury woodworking.


These ratings offer a comprehensive overview of each wood species, considering factors such as durability, appearance, and suitability for various projects.


Keep in mind that individual preferences and project requirements may influence your choice of wood for specific woodworking endeavors.


As our journey through diverse wood species concludes, we've uncovered a world of unique strengths and aesthetics. Each timber offers an artistic tale, waiting to be sculpted into timeless creations.


From the regal resilience of teak to the opulence of ebony, these woods stand ready to collaborate, infusing your craft with their essence. Embrace their stories, unleash your creativity, and let the legacy of your hands shape the future of woodworking.


Plant growing out of wood log with a caption: Sustainable wood choices

Sustainable Wood Choices: A Step Towards Eco-Friendly Crafting


In an age where sustainability matters, our commitment to environmentally friendly practices shines through every aspect of our craft.


Beyond responsibly sourced wood, we've embraced an innovative approach that not only minimizes waste but also showcases our dedication to preserving the planet.


We're proud to incorporate offcuts from large factories into our creations.


These discarded remnants, too small for the factories' efficient use, often find their way into landfills due to size limitations.


But we've transformed this overlooked resource into something extraordinary. These offcuts, while deemed insignificant elsewhere, become invaluable components in our crafting journey.


By repurposing these offcuts, we breathe new life into what would have otherwise been wasted.


These seemingly inconsequential pieces contribute to the unique character of our creations, adding layers of history and purpose.


Each fragment we rescue from landfill obscurity plays a vital role in our commitment to sustainable practices.


Choosing sustainable wood isn't just about making a responsible choice; it's about reshaping the narrative around waste and resourcefulness.


It's about understanding that even the tiniest piece can hold immeasurable value when placed in capable hands. With every creation, we proudly showcase how small changes in perspective can lead to significant positive impacts on our environment and our world.



Resin & oak dining table in production

Conclusion:

As we conclude our extensive exploration from tree to treasure, the art of selecting the perfect wood emerges as a blend of science, art, and intuition.


With each wood species possessing its own unique strengths and weaknesses, your creative choices are virtually limitless.


Whether you're a DIY enthusiast, a homeowner seeking functional elegance, or a business owner striving to leave a lasting impression, the choice of wood remains paramount.


Embrace the enchanting world of wood and unlock the potential to transform raw materials into cherished heirlooms.


At Minimaal en Mooi Houtwerke, our passion for wood is matched only by our dedication to crafting dreams.


Unveil the diverse range of wood products and services we offer, and allow us to transform your ideas into tangible marvels.


Reach out to us today and embark on a journey where wood transcends its natural form to become a symbol of artistry, innovation, and enduring beauty.

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