Woods Used for Building
By Editorial Staff
Contributed by Info Guru Rosemary O’Brien
There are a variety of types of wood available, and the type you choose depends on the project you want to tackle.
Some wood is best for building because it is hard and holds up well over time and some is more conducive to items such as furniture or fencing. Below is a rundown of 10 woods used for building and their possible uses.e
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One of the most envied hardwoods in the marina is teak. Teak products for boats are prized because beside the fact that it is beautiful with a lustrous color, it does not warp or crack as it ages and will last for years. It has been used for boat building for over 150 years and is also sought after for decking and fence material.
This is a hardwood that easily bends while working with it. Chairs and tables are common items made with beech, though it is also one of the woods used for building houses and log cabins. It can also be used to make items for the home such as plates and cabinets, but it is seldom used to create decorative items because it is often too difficult to work with using hand tools due to the fact that it is hard and heavy.
Basswood, or linden, is relatively inexpensive and can come in a variety of colors from white through a reddish brown. The wood is relatively soft and easy to carve making it a popular wood for the construction of guitars and wind instruments such as the clarinet. The Vikings also used it to carve their shields because of its straight, even grain.
Cedar has been used in many ways for thousands of years. From siding, deck, deck design, fencing, gazebos, sheds & pergolas, cedar holds up well and weathers well. Native Americans used to use its logs to create houses, totem poles, canoes and even ceremonial masks. It is fragrant and is popular in construction of closets because of its moth-repellant properties.
Cherry, or black cherry, a hardwood used to make furniture and often cabinets due to its attractive color and grain. Since cherry is close-grained, it often does not require a wood filler as do so many other types of food. Its color is such that a light stain is usually all that is needed. With all of these qualities, cherry wood tends to be a bit expensive.
Once one of the more commonly-used woods used for building, elm, also known as American elm, has become expensive and difficult to find since Dutch elm disease killed so many trees during the mid-20th century. It is an excellent wood for furniture because it is a hardwood and contains red streaks in the grain which is a nice contrast to the light brown areas of the wood.
This is another of those expensive hard woods because of its distinctive grain and brown to deep red-brown color. It is prized for its durability and color and is used most commonly in fine furniture making, instruments and sometimes as wall paneling. The United States is the largest importer of mahogany often from Africa or the Phillipines.
Maple is a hardwood favored for butcher’s blocks and bowling pins, among other things, but sugar maple in particular is used for building furniture. Maple hardwood floors are an interior design favorite for decorating versatility and livability. It is not, however, a favorite wood among house builders because of its tendency to shrink over time. Using maple wood requires the builder to season the wood so it is acclimatized to its environment before he builds with it or risk cracking.
Oak is a favorite hardwood for use in flooring due to its attractive grain and its strength. It is easily found and less expensive than many other types of wood because of its abundance. Some types of oak are white oak, grayish brown in color, and red oak which has, as its name implies, a reddish color. Red oak is often less expensive than its counterpart, white oak.
1. Reclaimed wood
With all the talk about the different types of wood, one should consider using reclaimed wood from other projects or buildings that have been torn down. Antique rough sawn wood beams, for example, add a rustic look to a home or commercial building. Using reclaimed woods used for building saves a new tree from being cut down and adds a visual appeal to the whatever space it occupies.
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When choosing wood for your project, keep in mind what you need your project to do. Some types lend themselves to furniture and other items such as instruments while others will make a building that will stand tall for years and weather beautifully.
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