Selecting a wood for your piece

When it comes to your custom built piece of furniture, pay special attention to the type of wood you want to use. Different types of wood have unique qualities that can really add something special. Aside from aesthetic appeal, certain woods are recommended for their long-term durability. Let’s go over some the basic properties of the most commonly requested species.

Southern Yellow Pine

Southern Yellow Pine is plentifully grown across the southern United States, making access and availability to this superior product widespread. Southern Yellow Pine thrives in the red clay soil of the South. Because it’s grown in the US, you can feel good about supporting an American product that’s more environmentally friendly and better for local economies.

yellow pine

an example of southern yellow pine

Grain can vary widely. Some lumber will have knots that will add to the overall character of the piece.


Alder is the first step into hardwoods. It comes in two varieties, clear or knotty. The knotty type is my personal favorite for dining room tables, since it has deep knots that can run through both sides of a board. It is the definition of rustic!
Because it is softer than other popular hardwoods such as maple, walnut and ash, historically alder has not been considered of high value for timber. However it is now becoming one of the more popular hardwood alternatives as it is more economically priced when compared to other hardwoods. In the world of musical instrument construction, red alder is valued by some electric guitar / electric bass builders for its balanced tonality.

knotty alder

a sample of knotty alder

Grain is more subdued than pine. Most boards will have deep rough knots. Love this wood!

Appalachian Red Oak

Arguably the most popular hardwood in the United States, Red Oak is a ubiquitous sight in many homes. Even many vinyl/imitation wood surfaces are printed to look like Red Oak. Hard, strong, and moderately priced, Red Oak presents an exceptional value to clients—which explains why it is so widely used in cabinet and furniture making

red oak boards

red oak boards

Grain is more pronounced and will become more so once stained. Very classic appearance!

White Ash

Norse mythology refers to ash as “the mighty tree that supports the heavens” and “below earth its roots went down to hell.” Slightly harder than Red Oak, Ash wood has been used for centuries where durability is critical. If you’re looking for a wood that will withstand a house full of children, look no further!

ash board

example of ash board

Grain is more pronounced and will become more so once stained. Very close in appearance to Red Oak.

This is only a very small sample of the available woods. Each species has its own characteristics and natural beauty, and it’s up to you to decide which wood will best suit the needs of your project. If you’d like to inquire about a specific wood, don’t hesitate to email me.