Selecting the Best Wood for Your Next Woodworking Project

Selecting the Best Wood for Your Next Woodworking Project

Selecting the Best Wood for Your Next Woodworking Project

Have you spent considerable time and effort setting up your shop and equipping it with the right tools to produce a wide variety of home décor items? Have you also been able to dedicate as much effort to understanding everything you should know about selecting the best lumber for each project?

Paying more attention to the material aspect of the projects could enhance the construction and appearance of your finished woodworking products!

Material Selection

Material selection often begins with cost consideration, but beyond that, woodworkers should also consider the suitability of the wood (hardwood or softwood) for the planned indoor or outdoor product usage. Other factors such as workability (cutting, machining, sanding, etc.) and ease of wood finishing are other important considerations.

Of equal (or maybe even greater) importance in determining the beauty of your finished piece, is the careful selection of quality lumber with compatible grain patterns. We have to admit that we've completed some nice home furnishing pieces that would have looked nicer if we've had paid more attention to whether the lumber was plain sawn, quarter sawn, or rift sawn.

Mixing type of sawn boards on edge-glued solid panels, such as table tops, makes it hard to achieve a solid look and can result in failed glue joints and seams because of the different expansion and contraction tendencies of the boards. Mixing plain sawn and quarter sawn boards on rail and stile constructed furniture can also negatively affect the finished appearance of the piece.

Research, Research, Research

Our best advice? Take the time to go online or go to your local library and research all of the many good sources available to better understand the characteristics of woods. You’re sure to learn more about grain patterns and lumber selection, which will help refine your choices for the best results.

Here are some recommended books and websites:


(1) Woodworker’s Guide To Wood (Rick Peters)

(2) World Woods In Color (William A. Lincoln)

(3) Understanding Wood (R. Bruce Hoadley)


(1) Lumber Characteristics (

(2) Types of Woods (

(3) Visual Characteristics (

July 5, 2021
Natalie Olin
September 17, 2021
Thanks for sharing these tips. I found these tips very helpful. I believe that every mother like me who is reading this article now is truly happy about this very informative article.
Blog Comments