7 Essential Wood Selection Tips Every Woodworker Must Know

Have you ever wondered how to pick just the right wood for your awesome projects? Well, you’re in luck!

Wood selection tips

As a passionate woodworker myself, I’ve learned a few tips over the years that I’d love to share with you.

Here are 7 key tips every woodworker should know when finding the perfect wood for their projects.

1. Understand Wood Hardness

The Janka hardness test is what you’ll want to look at to understand how durable a wood is.

Hardwoods like oak, maple, and walnut are great for furniture and flooring due to their durability.

Softer woods like pine are better suited for projects where a bit of give is preferable, like some types of cabinetry.

Wood hardness

2. Consider the Grain Patterns

Wood comes with unique grain patterns that can significantly affect your project’s final look.

Straight grains give a clean and uniform appearance, while woods with more irregular grains, like burled wood, can add a distinctive character to your project.

Grain Patterns

3. Know Your Wood Colors

Wood isn’t just brown. From the pale yellow of pine to the deep chocolate of walnut, wood comes in a wide array of natural colors.

Choosing the right color can enhance the natural beauty of your project without the need for stains or paints.

Wood Colors

4. Pay Attention to Wood Movement

All wood expands and contracts with changes in humidity.

Understanding how different types of wood react to moisture can help you choose the right wood for the environment where your project will be placed.

Wood Movement

5. Sustainability Matters

With the growing emphasis on environmental responsibility, consider using sustainably sourced wood.

Look for certifications like FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) to ensure your wood comes from responsibly managed forests.


6. Budget Wisely

Exotic woods can be visually stunning but also quite pricey. Domestic woods can often offer beauty and durability at a more affordable price.

It’s important to balance the aesthetic desires with your project’s budget.


7. Finish Compatibility

Finally, think about how you plan to finish your project. Some woods take to stains and finishes better than others.

For example, oak absorbs stain well, highlighting its grain pattern, while maple can be tricky to stain evenly.

wood finish

Remember, the perfect wood for your project depends on a blend of factors including the project’s intended use, the environment it will be in, your budget, and, of course, your personal preference.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and, most importantly, have fun with the process. Woodworking is an art, and the wood you choose is your canvas.

Walter Parker is a woodworking enthusiast. He is passionate about woodworking projects & plays with woodworking tools having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Woodworking Planet. He wants to make people love woodworking! Read More About Him! Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

Leave a Comment