Woods we use

There are two main types of wood commonly used for building our projects. Softwood and hardwood. Some of this information comes from Eric Meier of the “The Wood Database”, https://www.wood-database.com/ and U.S. Forest Service


Softwood is wood that is milled from conifer trees commonly referred to as evergreen trees. Conifer trees are any tree that produces needles and cones rather than leaves and seeds. The classification of the wood is misleading because softwood is not necessarily soft. Softwood lumber is easy to work with and quite strong. You will find it used in home construction and many woodworking projects. Common examples include Pine, Spruce and Fir. Lumber yards often label softwoods as “SPF” meaning that it could come from any of these species.


Fir trees are found in North America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, preferring mountainous regions. The Douglas Fir is native to western North America is not actually a true fir, a pine, or spruce. However, they are evergreen trees, meaning they keep their needle-like leaves year-round, so they are a variety of softwood. The Douglas Fir is an important wood in many construction projects. It can vary in color based upon age and location of the tree but usually fir is a light brown color with a hint of red and/or yellow, with darker growth rings. Fir has tight, close straight grain lines and is much less prone to warping or twisting, and much stronger than pine.

Fir has a Janka hardness score of 620 lbs.


Pine is typically grown in Northern Hemisphere and Europe. Pine is a coniferous softwood with over 126 named species. Pine is a soft, white, or pale-yellow wood that is lightweight, straight grained wood that lacks the figure characteristic of hardwoods. The heartwood is a light brown, sometimes with a slightly reddish hue, sapwood is a pale yellow to nearly white that tends to darken with age. It is one of the most popular woods used in manufacturing and carpentry and can be found in most homes in the form of flooring, windows, furniture window frames, paneling, floors, and roofing. The grain is straight with an even, medium texture. Eastern White Pine is one of the most common species and is widely used for construction.

Pine has a Janka hardness score of 380 lbs.


Spruce is grown Canada and the United States. Spruce is a coniferous softwood that grows in most North America and has at least 35 different named species. White Spruce is typically a creamy white, with a hint of yellow. White Spruce has a fine, even texture, and consistently straight grain. Easy to work if there are no knots present.

Spruce has a Janka hardness score of 480 lbs.


Hardwood is a term that describes woods that are more dense, durable, and rigid than softwoods. Hardwood lumber is milled from Deciduous trees. Deciduous trees do not have needles and cones but rather they produce leaves they lose in the fall and annual seeds. Hardwood trees are generally slower growing, making the wood denser than softwoods. Hardwoods have pores on the surface and the size of these pores determines the grain pattern, texture, and how the hardwood is classified either closed grained with small pores like cherry and maple or open grained with larger pores like oak, ash or poplar. Pore size and color variation within hardwood species is often the reason that hardwood is said to have more character than softwoods. Common examples include Cherry, Maple, and Walnut.


Cherry is typically grown in the Midwest to eastern United States. Cherry is famed for its durability and beautiful color. Cherry wood is a desirable wood to work with because of its rich color, straight smooth satiny grain. Highly figured pieces with curly grain patterns are possible with certain growing conditions. Cherry is a light pink to brownish color wood that darkens over time after exposure to light.

Cherry has a Janka hardness score of 950 lbs.

Hard Maple

Hard Maple is typically grown in forests of North America. Hard maple is also known as “Sugar Maple” producing maple syrup & beautiful fall foliage. Maple has a unique color and grain, which makes it a highly prized woodworking product. Unlike most other hardwoods, the sapwood of hard maple lumber is most used rather than its heartwood. Maple sapwood is very stable, hard, and has a uniform color throughout. Sapwood color ranges from nearly white, to an off-white cream color, sometimes with a reddish or golden hue. The heartwood tends to be a darker reddish-brown and is therefore not often used. The grain is generally straight with a fine, even texture.

Hard Maple can also have specific grain growth patterns that include Curly and Birdseye. Birdseye grain patterns that occur in trees that have a hard time growing and form tiny knots in the grain that resemble small bird’s eyes. Curly grain patterns that occur when ripples in the grain create a three-dimensional effect that appears as if the grain has “curled” along the length of the board.

Maple has a Janka hardness score of 1450 lbs.

Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry)

Jatoba is typically grown in South America. With a heartwood color like black cherry, Jatoba is often marketed as “Brazilian Cherry”. Although it is widely named “Brazilian Cherry” by hardwood flooring sellers, it bears little relation to the domestic Cherry that is found in the US. Jatoba’s natural color closely matches the color of domestic Cherry that has been aged/stained reddish-brown. It is a very dense, oily lumber with the heartwood color varying from a light orangish brown to a darker reddish brown. The color tends to darken upon exposure to light. The grain is typically interlocked with a medium to coarse texture.

Jatoba has a Janka hardness score of 2670 lbs.


Purpleheart is grown in Central and South America. There are 23 known species of Purpleheart tree. When freshly cut the heartwood of Purpleheart is a dull grayish/purplish brown. Upon exposure, the wood becomes a deeper eggplant purple. With further age and exposure to UV light, the wood becomes a dark brown with a hint of purple. The grain has a medium texture and is usually straight but can also be wavy or irregular.

Purpleheart has a Janka hardness score of 2520 lbs.


Padauk is grown in Africa. Heartwood color can vary, ranging from a pale pinkish orange to a deep brownish red. Most pieces tend to start reddish orange when freshly cut, darkening substantially over time to a reddish/purplish brown. The grain is usually straight but can sometimes be interlocked with a coarse, open texture.

Padauk has a Janka hardness score of 1970 lbs.


Sapele is grown in Africa. Once considered a more refined member of the mahogany family, Sapele is now being used as the industry standard for doors, windows, and moldings due to the restrictions on South American Mahogany. It has interlocking grain patterns and a medium texture. It is used for both veneers and lumber and is highly prized when figured. Heartwood is a golden to dark reddish-brown. Color tends to darken with age. Besides the common ribbon pattern seen on quartersawn boards, Sapele is also known for a wide variety of other figured grain patterns. The grain has a fine uniform texture that can be wavy.

Sapele has a Janka hardness score of 1410 lbs.


Walnut is grown in North America. Heartwood can range from a lighter pale brown to a dark chocolate brown with darker brown streaks. Its rich brown color puts the wood in a class by itself. Sapwood is pale yellow gray to nearly white. Figured grain patterns such as curl, crotch, and burl are also seen. The grain is usually straight but can be irregular. Walnut has a medium texture.

Walnut has a Janka hardness score of 1010 lbs.


Wenge is grown in Central West Africa. Wenge is a very dense, medium textured, dark hardwood. It can be used as a substitute for Ebony. Heartwood is medium brown, sometimes with a reddish or yellowish hue, with nearly black streaks. Upon application of a wood finish, the wood can become nearly black. The grain is straight, with a very coarse texture.

Wenge has a Janka hardness score of 1930 lbs.


Yellowheart is grown in South American with a yellow-colored heartwood. Heartwood color ranges from pale to golden yellow, darkening only slightly with age. Sapwood is a pale yellow/white. The grain is usually straight with a fine uniform texture, though some figured pieces may have wavy or interlocked grain.

Yellowheart has a Janka hardness score of 1790 lbs.