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65 Types of Wood Every Designer Needs to Know About

Have you ever wondered why one polished wooden floor looks shinier than the other? Then, you need to get to know more about the different types of wood out there! After all, wood is a versatile material and designers are always finding ways to utilize in architectural projects.

What makes wood as a material commonly used worldwide is that it comes in many “types”. In fact, different types of wood have different characteristics which make them suited for various things, not only from a functional perspective but also in terms of aesthetics. Generally, the major characteristic difference is the hardness and softness of the wood. However, there are other characteristic differences, such as the material’s grain and color. Here is all you need to know about cross laminated timber CLT.

How many types of wood is there?

Then don’t search further! We have put together a collection of different types of wood sorted according to their characteristics. We hope that this would help you figure out the right type of wood for your project!

1. Hardwood

Looking for a natural yet sturdy material? Then you should consider your hardwood options. Coming from the slow growing and broad-leaved trees, the material tends to come out denser than other alternatives. This gives it its higher durability and darker color. However, not all hardwoods are “hard”. Woods like the “Poplar” and “Basswood” are examples of softer hardwood. It should also be noted that hardwood tends to be more expensive than softwood. The following are examples of hardwood:

a. Mahogany

With variable colors ranging from medium brown to deep red, Mahogany is a traditional and versatile type of wood. It is also expensive, and its color varies according to its age.

b. Oak

Not only is Oak popular for being hard wearing and heavy, but it is also known for having open wood grain markings. Oak comes in two shades: white oak and red oak.

c. Ash

With its flexible properties, Ash is mostly used for bent pieces of furniture, such as chairs with curved backrests. You can identify Ash with its light brown color and straight grain.

d. Maple

Known for being stronger and heavier than others, Maple wood could withstand years of wear and tear. This is also partly because Maple is moisture-resistant. Naturally, Maple is pale in color with natural swirls and twists in its grain. However, it accepts any type of stain or paints, making it easy to modify its appearance. Other types of hardwood to check out include; Walnut, Birch, and Cherry. 

2. Softwood

Compared to hardwood, softwood grows faster. The wood comes from conifer trees, which have needles and do not produce seeds. Softwood is lighter and cheaper than hardwood; however, it is as popular as hardwood within the furniture industry.

The following are examples of softwood:

a. Pine

With its pale finish, Pine is great for staining and blends well with other woods. These properties make easily fit in with existing furniture and materials. Also, it is lightweight and very affordable.

b. Cedar

Known mostly for its aesthetics, Cedar gives a crisp rich feel. Besides its tonal properties, Cedar is pitch and resin-free which makes it ideal for indoor and outdoor architectural finishes. Other types of softwood to check include Spruce, Fir, and Larch.

3. Manufactured Wood

As the name implies, manufactured wood is engineered using several types of wood. Those hybrids come with advantages; they are considerably cheaper and lighter than other types of wood. For instance, furniture made using manufactured wood could be more affordable and easier to ship. However, the strength and durability of manufactured wood vary according to its components.

The following are examples of manufactured wood:

a. Fibreboard

Fibreboard is composed of broken down hardwoods and softwoods, bonded together with a mixture of wax, resin, and heat. The outcome is an inexpensive dense piece of wood. 

b. Veneer

To simply put it, Veneer is composed of a thin layer of wood cut from a circumference of a tree bonded with a dense piece of wood. Usually, MDF, Chipboard, or Plywood are used as the dense part.

c. MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard)

While MDF is also formed of different types of wood, here the wood is pressed together, unlike with Fibreboard. MDF has a dense structure which makes it very strong and more durable than other manufactured woods. These qualities and its reasonable price make it popular in the market.

d. Particle Board (Chipboard)

 The Chipboard is a dense hybrid of wood chips and shavings combined using resin.

 e. Plywood

Plywood is made of a build-up of veneer wood layers, bonded to create a smooth, flat sheet of wood. Its “cross-ply” structure makes it resistant to warping and gives it inherent strength, which makes it popular in both the flooring and furniture industries.

Do you want to know about more types of wood?

Then you might want to check out the following infographic by Alan Bernau Jr. of AlansFactoryOutlet.com. Leaving off with a quote from Bernau: “Let’s take a moment to admire the huge biodiversity of the earth’s many kinds of trees, including fruit trees, conifers, rare species, and common types of trees you can find in many places throughout the world.”


Read more about wood appllications in projects here:

Wood-spot | Alessandro Zambelli

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