Common Wood Types

June 25, 2018


When it comes to woodworking, there are two main classifications of common wood types: softwoods and hardwoods. Though judging by the name itself, these woods don't necessarily mean that one is sturdier or "harder" than the other. Wood classifications depend on the type of tree they come from and how their seeds are made. 

Trees that produce seeds with a covering (an example being an acorn) are called "angiosperm." Trees that don't provide their seeds with extra protection or a shell are called "gymnosperm," which are considered softwood. Hardwood trees take a longer time to grow, so their structure can be considered denser than softwood. This will mean that you can pay a pretty penny, but most antiques, cabinetry or flooring tend to be crafted from hardwood.

Here are the most common of each:

Softwoods (or conifers): cedar, pine, fir, spruce, and redwood

Hardwoods (or deciduous trees): oak, maple, ash, birch, mahogany, cherry, and walnut


After you've selected which wood you'll be working with, it's onto deciding which stain or finish to use. Our easiest to use dye stain, Solar-Lux, can be sprayed, brushed or wiped onto bare wood for a deep penetration and colorful transparency. Wait five minutes and move onto applying a finish coat of varnish, polyurethane, oil or conventional lacquer to seal and protect your project.

Not sure which to pick? Read our Wood Finishing 101: How to Choose A Finish to make that decision a bit easier.


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