It's the wood that is the foundation and beauty of our project.

Wood comes in hundreds of species and characteristics making it very versatile to work with. There are two classifications, hardwood and softwood. This is more of a botanical reference then it is a reference for hardness or softness of the wood and has more to do with the tree it was cut from.

Hardwood is wood that comes from a broad leaf deciduous tree, one that sheds their leaves in the fall of the year.Some examples of hardwood are birch, cherry, maple, and oak.

Softwood is wood from needle bearing trees, the conifers. this can be confusion at times because there are certain softwoods that is actually harder than some of the hardwoods. Some examples of softwood are cedar, fir, pine, and redwood.

The grade of wood informs us of the quality and structure of the wood. There are several grading categories in which each offers valuable information about the wood.

Softwood has two categories of grades, select which is clear of defects and has fine appearance and common which has more knots and the appearance being less desirable than the select grade. There is only approximately 25 percent of all softwood that is used in woodworking.


C Select-----Clear of defects. Can be used for cabinets and interior trim.

D Select-----Fine appearance, somewhat similar to C select but may have some knots.

1 Common-----High quality pine with a knotty look. Knots will be tight, and are generally small.

2 Common-----Tight knots, but a little larger than in 1 Common. Used for paneling and shelving and is very suitable for general woodworking projects.

3 Common-----Can have knots larger than in 2 Common. Also used for shelving and paneling, and well-suited for crates'fences, and boxes.

Hardwood grading depends on the number of defects in the length and width of hardwood boards. As with softwoods, a lower grade can be acceptable, depending on usage and placement.

Hardwoods are graded by the National Hardwood Lumber Association.

This chart will help explain the grading system listing from highest to lowest.

Grades that are below #2 Common are typically not suitable for woodworking.

Lumber is separated and designated by grade at the mill by species and size. A stamp will usally identfy the grade and the species along with other valuable information included also.when purchasing wood or lumber.

Always look for its grading stamp because different lumberyards can sometimes use different names of the same grade. The consistency of grain or color is not indicated by the grade so keep the final results of your project in mind.

Always ask for help if you are having a problem figuring out what all the information on the stamp means


Grain And Texture

The term grain and texture are commonly used rather loosely in connection with wood. Grain is often used in reference to annual rings, as in fine grain and coarse grain,but it is also used to indicate the direction of fibers, as in straight grain, spiral grain, and curly grain.

Wood finishes refer to wood as open grained and close grained and these terms reflect the relative size of the pores in which this determines whether the surface needs a filler or not.

Earlywood and latewood within a growth period increment usually consist of differentkinds and sizes of wood cells. Thedifference in cells resultsin difference in appearance of the growth rings, and the resultingapperance is the texture of the wood. Coarse texture can resultfrom wide bands of large vessels such as oak.

This is cross section of a ponderosa pine log showing its growth rings. Light bands are earlywood, dark bands are latewood.A annual growth ring is compose of an inner earlywood zone and a outer latewood zone