Ash, Beech, Black Locust, Cedar, Cherry, Elm, Hackberry, Hard Maple, Hickory, Poplar, Red Oak, Sassafras, Soft Maple, Sweet Gum, Sycamore, Walnut, White Oak
Photos of Lumber Species
Ash is used for furniture, flooring, cooperage, handles, oars, vehicle parts, baseball bats, and other athletic goods.
Commercial white ash is a group of species that consist mostly of white ash and green ash, although blue ash is also included. Heartwood of commercial white ash is brown; the sapwood is light colored or nearly white. Second-growth trees have a large portion of sapwood. Old-growth trees, which characteristically have little sapwood, are scarce.
The major species of ash grow in the eastern half of the United States.
Second-growth commercial white ash is particularly sought because of the inherent qualities of the wood; it is heavy (42lbs./cu.ft.), strong, hard, stiff, and has high resistance to shock. Back to List
Largest amounts of beech go into flooring, furniture, handles, veneer, woodenware, containers, cooperage, and laundry appliances. When treated, it is suitable for railway ties.
Beech varies in color from nearly white sapwood to reddish-brown heartwood in some trees. Sometimes there is no clear line of demarcation between heartwood and sapwood. Sapwood may be from 3 to 5 inches thick. The wood has little figure and is of close, uniform texture. It has no characteristic taste or odor.
Only one species of beech, American beech, is native to the United States. It grows in the eastern one-third of the United States and adjacent Canadian provinces.
The wood of beech is classified as heavy (44lbs./cu.ft), hard, strong, high in resistance to shock, and highly suitable for steam bending. Beech shrinks substantially and therefore requires careful drying. It machines smoothly, is an excellent wood for turning, wears well, and is rather easily treated with preservatives. Easy to stain, paint or bleach. Back to List
Black Locust is a safe, environmentally friendly alternative to Pressure Treated and Tropical Hardwoods. A plentiful renewable resource that is well suited for all outdoor wood uses. Black Locust fence posts have been noted to last eighty years in some of America’s toughest climates. Above all Black Locust is one of the most structurally sound species of wood available. Possible uses for Black Locust are: Decks, tree steaks, Boardwalks, outdoor furniture, Arbors, raised bed gardens, fencing, boat building/restoration, barriers, telephone poles, railroad ties, piles, framing, and also bridge building.
Description: Below is a copy of a blog string on Black Locust. Some pretty interesting reading if you have time. Back to List
Posts made of locust wood are good for grapevine supports in vineyards. Locust wood lasts longer than pressure treated wood, and it does not leak harmful chemicals into the soil as pressure treated wood does, such as arsenic, which can be absorbed by the plant and therefore into the fruit. Vineyard posts are usually 8 feet long and about 4.5 inches in diameter. In a vineyard, 1.5 to 2 feet of the post is put into the ground, depending on the soil, and two to three wires are run between the posts on which the grapevine is tied. Locust can also be used for fence posts. Some use a waterseal to help it resist rot, and others use roofing tar on the part being put into the ground.
Comment from contributor D:
An article from 2002 in the Wooden Boat magazine discussed the attributes of black locust wood. There were a number of woods listed as desireable in the construction of wooden boats, including white oak, but none more desirable than black locust. Not only is the wood strong and durable, but less prone to wood rot and easily formed in the making of ribs. An excellent choice for those taking on a boat restoration project, or even a more aggressive new boat construction project.
Comment from contriutor G:
As a bandmill sawyer, last year I started sawing black locust, and what a surprise, it saws just as easy as cherry, and the grain and color is out of this world. I sawed a couple hundred board feet the other day to use as a floor for a kiln, due to the moisture resistance. It's the most under-rated lumber out there.
Comment from contributor R:
I had a project recently involving a wood that needed to be yellow but dark, like osage orange patina, for the handle of a fishing net. I made it out of osage. About two weeks later I was wandering in the back room of a wood supplier and found a piece that glowed with a golden magic I've only seen in lightly flamed bamboo. The small grains are light and the meat is a brassy golden color. It was black locust. I bought enough to do an experiment. Wow - you should see it in the sunlight. It's pretty hard, so sharpen those blades. Sands like a dream and polishes well. My supplier can't sell it, so I'm getting it for the price of pine!
Comment from contributor M:
I am a furniture maker in Central Illinois and my favorite sawmill had a few hundred board feet of perfectly straight and clear locust, which I bought. I made wonderful furniture! It is hard, but not really worse than hickory or oak. It planes fine if done at 64th or 32nd inch - even the wide boards. It is really beautiful. The grain is much like quilted maple and very colorful. If you have red oak that has been stained with standard golden oak stain, this looks much the same, but brighter. That is with no stain, just oiled the finished with polyurthane or lacquer. This is great wood for furniture and I can not understand why more people do not use it.
Comment from contributor V:
Get a black light and check, if you're uncertain about the species. Robinia P. is flourescent, and this may explain the luminous character others have noted. I agree it is our most under-appreciated lumber; and a crying shame that is.
Comment from contributor K:
Black locust is the best wood grown in North American, in my opinion. The general public is ignorant of this fact, though, which is good since that holds down lumber prices.
It's great for furniture, ideal for boat building and decks. It's also great for fenceposts, but that's a waste of a wood that is our best wood. It's a native exotic.
It is native to the Eastern USA, but was brought to CA by goldminers to grow for minining timbers. The railroads also planted it because it makes excellent railroad timbers for bridges and railroad ties.
Black locust can last well in excess of 70 years in the ground without painting or chemical treatment. It's very strong, shock resistant, stable (doesn't shrink or swell much), durable (rot resistant), looks great (in part due to fluorescent grain. It's somewhat hard to work, but not too bad, considering it's very hard. It's easy to glue. Unlike other very hard woods, black locust nails reasonably well. It is also a fairly smooth wood.
To get better physical properties than black locust, you have to look at ebony or some other expensive, exotic import. You can basically think of black locust as hickory that is more rot resistant and more stable when humidity changes. It looks similar to red and white oak, except is better looking due to greater smoothness and fluorescent grain.
It's considered a pest by some Western environmentalists because it's an aggressive tree that kills the Western native trees and plants in a wide area around it. However, that was a very useful quality to pioneer farmers who worked hard to clear fields. The easy way to keep a field cleared of brush, alder, other trees, and weeds is to plant some black locust. Black locust only allows grass to grow in its field. Nothing else. That's a convienent way to keep a field cleared without manual weeding or spraying weed killers.
Black locust is mostly dead in Oregon now due to a beetle attack. Black locust is mostly ignored in CA and WA. Though native to the Eastern USA, it's spread all over the Western USA and parts of the Southern Midwest and Europe. It is appreciated by environmentalists in those places because it is an easy, quick way to reforest strip mined areas and logged out areas. Although it prefers good soil and lots of sun, it can grown in bad soil (mine spoils) and cloudy and cold climates too. It has spread all over Canada over the last 250 years.
It was imported to France in the 1600s. The French recognized awesome shipbuilding wood when they saw it. They also used it for medicinal properties (seeds) and cooking (flowers). The seeds have also been used in Europe as a coffee substitute. The English importanted it to England hundreds of years ago where it still grows.
It has spread all over Western and especially Eastern Europe. The Europeans appreciate the black locust for it's supposed medicinal properties (seeds are laxative) and for the quality of its wood. The biggest attraction is that it is an aggressive tree that self-cultivates and spreads without any human effort needed. The black locust is reforesting much of the logged out areas of Europe that have been logged out for centuries. It's also a renewable resource for them since it's so easy to regrow. It's such an aggressive, persistant tree that it continually replants itself. Black locust is the national tree of Hungary and the basis of their forestry industry.
It makes great fence posts, but it's a far superior wood to white oak, hickory, hard maple, walnut, or cherry for furniture and boat building. Using black locust for fence posts is not the highest or best use of this wood. Black locust fence posts last well over 70 years without needing any chemical treatment.
I found a supplier of it who sells it for a bit less than white oak. I'd like to build a house and use it for the hardwood floor and desk. It would probably make great siding and roofing, too. Since it lasts 70+ years in the ground, it ought to last hundreds of years as siding or roofing. It's supposed to nail reasonably well.
Comment from contributor W:
Black locust is an awesome wood. It's most common use that I know of is wood boat building on the east coast of the USA - yachts, sailboats, etc. Black locust and osage orange are the finest woods that grow in the USA. I base this on their physical properties.
These are both native exotics. Exotic because they aren't widely used or known. The physical properties of black locust are nearly identical to purpleheart. The physical properties of osage orange are nearly identical to santos mahogany (not mahogany). The properties of black locust and osage orange are similar to hickory, except that hickory isn't very stable (shrinks and swells a lot with moisture changes and can rot easily if used outdoors). Both black locust and osage orange have the same good properties as hickory without its bad properties. Black locust and osage orange are stable and resistant to rot, mildew, germs, and bugs.
Don't whine about hardwoods being hard to work. What would you expect? If you want an easy-to-work wood, use a softwood, but expect dents and dings in the furniture or whatever you make from it. Hardwoods are tough, so they resist dents and dings. Therefore they also resist tools when working the wood. Use sharper tools. Use carbide tipped tools whenever possible.
Comment from contributor J:
While black locust has many incredible uses, it also has qualities that should be taken into account before anyone rushes out to plant it. For example, it is toxic to grazing animals and for that reason is maybe not the best way to clear a field. Goats might be fine with it; I don't know and don't have any experience with goats. My other animals will graze around most other plants that are supposedly toxic. Seems the animals are wise enough to eat just enough of whatever they might need for medicinal use and to avoid excess. Horses especially are extremely sensitive. One mouthful of yew can kill a horse before it finishes chewing. Cows might be wise enough to leave it alone. Ponies are generally pretty tough but will avoid most toxic plants. Goats might tolerate it, but again, that is something to look into.
It is also highly invasive, and while a controlled stand might be something very useful, it is good to remember that the stand will take over everything else if left untended.
Years ago a friend who does permaculture design recommended using existing stands for whatever I needed, but never to plant it. It regenerates itself quickly.
It may also be toxic to children, who love things that look like beans. Like poison ivy, the levels of toxins may vary at different times of the year and in different parts of the plant.
Be careful; don't plant it unless you can also be sure of removal if necessary.
Comment from contributor S:
Some have mentioned that black locust is very difficult to work with due to its density and hardness characteristics, while others have dismissed such concerns by saying to use sharper tools. As one who has worked with black locust, there are two types of black locust - those that are "long-cured" and those that are "green-cured."
Green-cured black locust, or fresh cut, is not terribly difficult to work with as the wood gives way to sharp implements and is fairly easily worked. Long, or "weather-cured" locust, locust that has been slow cured by age often in areas exposed to weather, is very hard and very difficult to work. In fact, if you try to cut an old locust fence post with a chain saw, a six-inch log will dull a brand-new chain, and forget about hand-planing. It's almost impossible to even drive a stout spike into a well-cured log unless you use very hard (and brittle) masonry nails. Everything else will pierce only about an inch and then bend. If you intend to work with black locust, make sure it hasn’t been too-well cured. If it has, you'll only make much progress with power planers, high-grade saws and high-pressure nail-guns.
Comment from contributor E:
We got a lot of black locust logs in a while ago and have tried using the lumber for many things. It is rather tough to get any grade lumber from these trees, due to their typical gnarly growth and large cavities in the trees. The good lumber that you do get can be used to make nearly anything that is ok to be heavy, provided that you have sharp tools and some patience. The grain is very open and some of the more exotic whorls can be splintery. Where the grain is straight, it is extremely strong and can be cut paper-thin without splintering if your saw is sharp. It can be sensitive to vibration (brittle) if the grain is not continuous and parallel to the force acting on it, such as in a pittman arm. It shrinks very little and can be used for framing with minimal drying time. In fact, it becomes very hard to nail, even with a framing gun, when fully dry.
For use as flooring, trim, or projects it will need to be fully dry. With a good flooring stapler, you can nail the flooring down, but plan on drilling trim or projects before nailing. The wood that isn't good enough to be used visibly can be used for framing in high moisture environments, such as pool rooms, kilns or saunas. Otherwise, it is good for pallet stock or various small items. Below is a list of things we have used it for and the degree of success we achieved.
2x4, 2x6, and 2x8 framing timbers - excellent if you use decent lumber and don't wait too long.
Tongue and groove flooring - we put it down too soon and it shrunk. It is very hard and does the job, if you like yellow/green floors.
Exterior log posts and rails (8" plus diameter) – it has worked well so far. Very sturdy, no rot so far (only 3 years) and decent appearance with proper log selection. The stain we used didn't stick very well. It seems to have to do with the oils in the wood.
Bed frame struts - excellent, very sturdy and effective.
Three mowing machine pittman arms - fair. The first two broke because the grain was so uneven. The third one is still holding. Had we selected a piece with continuous grain from end to end (hard to find) it would probably have worked better.
Wheelbarrow handles - excellent. They were a bit hard to turn due to the hardness and open grain. It tends to grab the tool a bit, particularly on long work pieces like wheelbarrow handles. They are very strong (it's a large wheelbarrow and I've been using it a lot) and should last a long time.
Comment from contributor Y:
I have about 20 cords of black locust logs from a land clearing job we did last summer. It's a wonderful species for firewood – it burns hot and long if properly seasoned. It's also very rot resistant and commonly used for fence posts and exterior construction on farms. It's a fast growing pioneer tree here in the northeast - meaning it's one of the first species to appear in fields left fallow. It will seed itself in these old pastures and grow in fairly dense stands that are very straight and tall (sometimes over 100 feet).
The downside to this tree is that it's not the best choice for a yard. Its shallow surface roots make it prone to uprooting under certain weather conditions. Overall it's a very valuable wood with many uses and one of my personal favorites for firewood. Additionally, its rapid growth rate makes it a renewable resource - something we all need a bit more of!
Comment from contributor S:
I live on Long Island near the abandoned Kings Park Psychiatric Hospital. The hospital itself was established pre-1890, and the grounds (400+ acres) were apparently planted with many Black Locust trees, many of them now over 75-80 feet in height. Some of the older ones were cut down by N.Y. State in its infinite wisdom, and I was able to take out about a cord and a half of Locust as firewood.
Let me tell you, once properly split and dried, that wood is among the best I have ever burned in my heatilator-equipped fireplace. It burns slowly, and very hot. The key mechanism here is to make sure it is properly stacked and dried; this will keep spitting during burning to a low level. While splitting the wood one can't help but notice a beautiful gold-green sheen to the heavy, straight veined splits. The wood is as hard as any I've ever worked with, and I must agree with the wood-working individual above who states that it is of the highest quality!
Comment from contributor N:
I've had a number of large black locust trees taken down in the past due to age and potential property damage. I saved a number of large logs using them for landscape timbers - 10 years later they are still hard as a rock even with soil piled up against them. I am about to have more taken down - again due to potential risk of house damage. Two of them are roughly 3 feet in diameter - approximately 120 ft high.
After reading your posts the original plan to let the tree crew haul it away will change to having it band sawed into boards by a local guy with a portable mill. I could use some new decking and it sounds like the way to go! Thanks all for your comments - and I agree with the burning of it. Once it’s dry it gets the wood stove hotter than any other wood species.
Comment from contributor F:
I have known of locust for some time as our local best choice for timber framing pegs. Much of my work of late has been barn repair for the NYS barn grant program. Being a historic preservation program, no pressure treated wood is allowed. So I had to secure a steady supply of timber for my various projects. Since then I've used it for many projects including pegs, fence posts, mud sills, scaffold planks (short), bark for mulch (where I want nothing to grow), and I just completed a corral of spilt rails.
On a job a couple years ago I found an old split rail in the dirt on the dark side of the building. I picked it up and was amazed at how heavy it was. I cut it in half and the wood was obviously locust and looked as good as the day it was cut. We harvested some logs from a stand next to the project and slabbed some planks for mud sills. I've started about two thousand seedlings and am seriously considering expanding my business to deal in this amazing wood.
Comment from contributor G:
Black locust is the most durable, gorgeous outdoor wood available. I have a sawmill and every available log I can get I saw. Locust when freshly sawn has a yellow tint. Build your outdoor furniture, set it outside, spray Thompson's waterseal on it and watch it explode over a few days into this beautiful reddish brown. Keep spraying until you have at least five coats of waterseal, then every few months spray again. It soaks it up and stays beautiful. Back to List
Uses: Fine Furniture, Cabinetry, Exterior Uses, Blanket Chests, Closets (aromatic smell)!
Description: Knotty (unselected)
*Shows reddish heart with white sap
*The material is generally full of knots
*As name suggests the wood has an aromatic smell, which makes it ideal for closets and blanket chests. Back to List
Black cherry is used principally for furniture, Cabinetry, fine veneer panels and architectural woodwork. Other uses include caskets, woodenware, novelties, patterns and paneling.
The heartwood of the black cherry varies from light to dark reddish-brown and has a distinctive luster. The sapwood is narrow in old trees and nearly white.
Black cherry is sometimes known as cherry, wild black cherry, or wild cherry. It is the only native species of the genus Prunus of commercial importance for lumber production. It is scattered from southeastern Canada throughout the eastern half of the United States.
The wood has a fairly uniform texture and very good machining properties. It is moderately heavy (36lbs./cu.ft.), strong, stiff, moderately hard, has high shock-resistance and moderately large shrinkage. After seasoning, it is very stable dimensionally. The finished Cherry wood is a beautiful salmon pink to reddish color that with time only improves in color. Along with a fine grain texture and the possibility of beautiful figure this species is one of the most used North American hardwoods for any purpose needing beautiful wood. Back to List
Elm lumber is used principally in boxes, baskets, crates, and slack barrels; furniture, agricultural supplies and implements; caskets and burial boxes; and vehicles. The hard elms are preferred for some uses where more strength is required.
The sapwood of the elm is nearly white and the heartwood light brown, often tinged with red.
Six species of elm grow in the United States: American elm, slippery elm, rock elm, winged elm, cedar elm, and September elm. The supply of American elm is threatened by two diseases, Dutch Elm and phloem necrosis, which have killed hundreds of thousands of trees. American elm is also known as red elm, water elm, and gray elm. Slippery elm is also known as red elm or basket elm.
The elms may be divided into two general classes, hard elm and soft elm, based on the weight and strength of the wood. Soft elm is moderately heavy, has high shock resistance, and is moderately hard and stiff. Hard elm species are somewhat heavier than soft elm. Elm has excellent bending qualities. Back to List
Hackberry's uses include pallets and railroad ties, furniture, cabinet work, sports and gym equipment, tool handles, farm implements and vehicle bodies. Most hackberry is cut for lumber, but some is used as dimension stock and some is cut into veneer.
Hartzell sells hackberry flooring and says he thinks the wood makes superior flooring that offers great wearability and a good look. "People don't always realize that hackberry is harder than walnut and cherry."
Care should be taken while drying the wood, to maintain the color. "Hackberry is one of the woods that should be cut in winter for the best color and to avoid 'stick stain' when it is dried," Hartzell says
Hackberry belongs to the Elm family, Ulmaceae, and has many similarities to elm trees.Back to List
Sugar Maple, Black Maple
Used for lumber, wall paneling, flooring, furniture, handles, interior finish, cabinets, woodenware, and novelties.
The two hard maples are sugar maple and black maple. Black maple grows in the upper Mississippi Valley while sugar maple grows in the Eastern U.S. excluding the southeastern coastal plains.
Five of the 13 species of maple native to the United States are important timber trees. Two are in the hard maple category, three are in the soft maple category.
The wood of all maples is similar. It has a cream to light reddish-brown colored heartwood, with a thin white sapwood tinged slightly reddish-brown. The wood is heavy (44lbs./cu.ft.), strong, stiff, and has high shock resistance. Shrinkage during seasoning is large. It takes stain satisfactorily and polishes well. Although usually straight grained, maple occasionally has a curly, wavy or birdseye grain. Back to List
The wood of the true hickory is used for tool handles, flooring, ladder rungs, athletic goods, agricultural implements, dowels, gymnasium apparatus, poles and furniture. Knotted, low grade hickory is useful for pallets and similar items. Hickory sawdust, chips and some solid wood are used to flavor meat by smoking.
The sapwood of hickory is white and usually quite thick, except in old, slow-growing trees. The heartwood is reddish. The wood of pecan resembles that of true hickory.
True hickories are found throughout most of the eastern half of the United States. The species most important commercially are shagbark, pignut, shellbark, and mockernut. The Southern and South Atlantic states produce nearly half of all hickory lumber. Species of the pecan group include bitternut hickory, pecan, water hickory, and nutmeg hickory.
The wood of hickory and pecan is exceptionally tough, heavy, hard, strong, and shrinks considerably in drying. Back to List
Lumber goes mostly into furniture, interior finish, siding, fencing, and structural components. Boxes, pallets, and crates are made of lower grade stock.
The sapwood is white and frequently several inches thick. The heartwood is yellowish-brown, sometimes streaked with purple, green, black, blue, or red. These colorations do not affect the physical properties of the wood.
Yellow poplar is also known as poplar and tulip poplar and grows from Connecticut and New York southward to Florida and westward to Missouri. The greatest commercial production of yellow poplar is in the South.
The wood is generally straight-grained and comparatively uniform in texture. It has moderately large shrinkage when dried from a green condition, but is not difficult to season and stays in place well after seasoning. Back to List
The wood of the red oak is largely cut into lumber, railroad crossties, and veneer. It is remanufactured into flooring, furniture, general millwork, boxes, pallets, and crates, agricultural implements, caskets, woodenware, handles, and railroad cars and boats.
The sapwood is nearly white and usually 1 to 2 inches thick. The heartwood is brown with a tinge of red. Sawed lumber of red oak cannot be separated by species on the basis of the characteristics of the wood alone. Red oak lumber can be separated from white oak by size and the arrangement of pores in latewood and because, as a rule, it lacks tyloses in the pores. The open pores of red oaks make them unsuitable for tight cooperage.
Most red oak comes from the Southern states, the Southern mountain regions, the Atlantic coastal plains, and the Central states. The principal species are: northern red oak, scarlet oak, Shumard oak, pin oak, Nuttall oak, black oak, southern red oak, cherrybark oak, water oak, laurel oak, and willow oak.
Wood of the red oak is heavy (47lbs./cu.ft.). Rapidly grown second-growth oak is generally harder and tougher than finer textured old-growth timber, and shrinkage in drying is fairly large. Back to List
It was highly prized by the Indians for dugout canoes, and some sassafras lumber is now used for small boats. It is also used in limited quantities as paneling, furniture, fencing and general millwork.
The wood of sassafras is easily confused with black ash, with resemblance in color, grain and texture. The sapwood is light yellow and the heartwood varies from dull grayish-brown to dark brown, sometimes with a reddish tinge. The wood has a distinct odor on freshly cut surfaces.
The range of the sassafras covers most of the eastern half of the United States from southeastern Iowa and eastern Texas eastward.
Sassafras is moderately heavy (31lbs./cu.ft.), moderately hard, moderately weak in bending and endwise compression, quite high in shock resistance, and quite durable when exposed to conditions conducive to decay. Back to List
Red Maple, Silver Maple
A large portion is used in flooring, furniture, pallets and crates, shoe lasts, handles, woodenware, spools, bobbins and novelties.
The heartwood is usually light reddish-brown, but sometimes considerably darker. The sapwood is commonly white with a slight reddish-brown tinge.
The three maples that comprise the soft maple category are: red maple, silver maple, and boxelder. In general, all three species grow throughout the Eastern United States.
The wood of all the soft maples is similar. Although 25 percent softer than the hard maple, soft maple is suited to most of the same uses. The wood possesses about the same finishing properties as hard maple and is suited for enamel finishes and brown tones. Soft maple is moderately heavy (38lbs./cu.ft.). It takes a stain well and can be finished to look a lot like cherry. Soft maple can produce a strong tiger maple figure pattern. Back to List
Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) grows from southwestern Connecticut westward into Missouri and southward to the Gulf Coast. Almost all lumber is produced in the Southern and South Atlantic States.
The lumber from sweetgum is usually marked as sap gum
(the light-colored sapwood) or redgum (the reddish-brown
heartwood). Sweetgum often has a form of cross grain called
interlocked grain, and it must be dried slowly. When quartersawn,
interlocked grain produces a ribbon-type stripe that
is desirable for interior woodwork and furniture. The wood is
moderately heavy and hard. It is moderately strong, moderately
stiff, and moderately high in shock resistance.
Sweetgum is used principally for lumber, veneer, plywood,
slack cooperage, railroad crossties, fuel, pulpwood, boxes
and crates, furniture, interior molding, and millwork. Back to List
Sycamore is used principally for lumber, veneer and railroad crossties. Sycamore lumber is used for furniture, Cabinetry, boxes (particularly small food containers), pallets, flooring, handles, Guitar/instrument building, and butcher's blocks. Veneer is used for fruit and vegetable baskets, decorative panels and door skins.
The heartwood of sycamore is reddish-brown and the sapwood is lighter in color and normally 1 1/2 to 3 inches thick.
American sycamore grows from Maine to Nebraska, southward to Texas, and eastward to Florida.
The wood has fine texture and interlocked grain. It shrinks moderately in drying. Sycamore wood is moderately heavy (35lbs./cu.ft.), moderately hard, moderately stiff, moderately strong, and has good resistance to shock. This is one of our locally grown North American species. In order to be stable the wood must be quarter sawn. Sycamore trees can grow to be one of the biggest domestic timbers in North America and are often left to grow to full maturity because the wood is very difficult to split for firewood and many sawmills don’t quarter saw.
Sycamore produces beautiful quarter sawn lumber in a color range from light tan to an orange brown.
*Beautiful underappreciated domestic timber
*Good for high-end furniture and cabinetry
*Has become more appreciated as a tonewood
*Displays a lace pattern on the quarter
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Because of its properties and interesting grain pattern, black walnut is used for furniture, architectural woodwork, decorative panels, gunstocks, cabinets and interior finish.
The heartwood of black walnut varies from light to dark brown, and the sapwood is nearly white and up to three inches wide in open-grown trees.
Black walnut's natural range extends from Vermont to the Great Plains and southward into Louisiana and Texas. About three-quarters of the walnut timber is produced in the Central states.
Black walnut is normally straight-grained, easily worked with tools, and stable in use. It is heavy (39lbs./cu.ft.), hard, strong, stiff and has good resistance to shock. Black walnut is well suited for natural finishes. Back to List
White oak is used for furniture, railroad crossties, cooperage, mine timbers, flooring, pallets, railroad cars, millwork and many other products. An important use of white oak is for planking and bent parts of ships and boats, heartwood often being specified because of its decay resistance.
The heartwood is generally grayish-brown, and the sapwood, which is from 1 to 2 or more inches thick, is nearly white. The pores of the heartwood are usually plugged with tyloses. This tends to make the wood impenetrable by liquids. It is therefore suitable for tight cooperage.
White oak lumber comes chiefly from the South, South Atlantic, and central states, including the Southern Appalachian area. Principal species are: white oak, chestnut oak, post oak, overcup oak, swamp chestnut oak, bur oak, chinkapin oak, swamp white oak, and live oak.
The wood of the white oak is heavy (48lbs./cu.ft.), averaging somewhat higher in weight than that of red oak. The heartwood has moderately good decay resistance. Back to List