If you are working with wood, there are a variety of choices when it comes to lumber. Most likely, the lumber you choose will depend on the kind of project you are doing. You will want a higher quality of lumber for some jobs than others and it is important to know just a little bit about lumber before you get started.
For Projects You Will Paint
Some people erroneously believe that the grade that lumber is assigned refers to the strength of the lumber when actually, it refers to the appearance. So you can get strong lumber with what is referred to as a common grade for projects that you will paint. For projects that you will stain or leave unfinished, you may want to choose a select grade.
Get to Know Wood Before Starting
Before beginning major woodworking projects, spend some time learning about the various lumber choices so you will make the right selection for your project. For example, some types of wood take stain better than other types. Some types of lumber are generally sturdier and make better furniture than other types.
Moisture content is also an important part of the quality of wood. Some wood is air dried and other wood is kiln dried. Some woods hold moisture more than others. If you are making furniture, this is an important aspect of the type of wood you will select. Since moisture can lead to mold, you want to make sure that the wood you buy has a low moisture content as mold can be present on lumber with as little as 20% moisture content.
Types of Hardwood
You’ll recognize many of the hardwood types of lumber because they come from trees that produce nuts such as oak and walnut. Other hardwood types are cherry, pecan, hickory, and maple. These are typically used for furniture making, shelves, and other sturdy projects, although some softwoods are used to construct furniture as well. However, for durability and appearance, the hardwoods do a much better job.
Types of Softwood
When you see trees that produce cones, like pine trees, this is an example of softwood. In addition, evergreen trees like cedar, spruce, and redwood are examples of softwood as well. While many indoor and outdoor projects are constructed from softwoods, they work extremely well with outdoor projects, such as benches. There are no hard and fast rules, though you should consider the type of project you are doing against the type and grade of wood for best results.
Many projects are simply constructed using plywood and then a richer finish is applied to the finished project. Whatever wood you decide to use for your home improvement project, make sure that it is the proper type and grade for what you are doing.