Category Archives: Hardwood Lumber 101

Hardwood 101 – Hard Maple Lumber

Hard Maple Lumber

Hard Maple is a tried and true hardwood of choice for many woodworkers.

Hard maple sapwood is nearly white and its heartwood is a uniform, delicate, very light reddish-brown or very light tan. It has a fine, even texture. It is very strong and hard, with close straight grains. Hard maple can sometimes be wavy or curly, which produces special figures such as ‘Bird’s Eye Maple’ and ‘Curly Hard Maple.’ The figuring in Bird’s Eye has brownish dots on a whitish background.

With a Janka hardness of 1450, hard maple is ranked as one of the more valuable hardwoods because of its strength and stiffness. It has great wood working properties and is used for a variety of different projects. Hard maple has good crushing strength and bending properties, and very good steam bending qualities. It has above average fire resistance and glue adheres satisfactorily. It takes stain well and gives an excellent result with paint or enamel, and finishes smoothly.

Hard maple is well suited for furniture, interior trim, turnery, paneling, cabinetry, veneer, tool handles, woodenware, musical instruments, and bowling pins. It is popularly used for heavy duty flooring, and is used for dance floors, bowling alleys, and skating rinks. Figured grain hard maple is used for decorative cabinetry.

Check out how important hard maple wood has been in the sports industry. It was used in 1891 for the very first basketball court and is still used today for sports flooring!

When it comes to a great domestic wood, maple has the qualities you look for in lumber, including the range of figuring present in the different species. Go to our website for additional information on Hard Maple and Curly Hard Maple wood. There you can also find Hard Maple, Curly Hard Maple, and Bird’s Eye Maple lumber. We also offer Maple thinwood and Bird’s Eye Maple thinwood.

Hardwood 101 – Soft Maple Lumber

Curly maple lumber

A closeup of Curly Maple in both finished and unfinished forms

Soft maple has creamy white sapwood, and light beige or tannish-brown heartwood, sometimes with a grayish-green hue. Soft maple is a fine textured, diffuse-porous wood, and its grain is normally straight and close, but it can be wavy or curly. The different grain pattern generates special figures like, ‘Curly Soft Maple’ (shown above) and ‘Ambrosia Maple.’  The figuring of Ambrosia Maple has a distinctive wormy pattern.

With a Janka hardness of 950, soft maple is actually 25% softer than hard maple. The wood of soft maple resembles that of hard maple, but it is not nearly as heavy, hard, or strong. However, the better grades of soft maple are used as a substitute for hard maple in some projects. This is because soft maple has good steam bending, and medium crushing and bending strengths. It works well with hand and machine tools, and nails, screws, planes, and bores satisfactorily. It is reliably stable, which also makes it easy to work with. It can be stained and polished to an excellent glass smooth finish.

Soft maple is used for turnery, cabinetry, furniture framing, domestic flooring, internal joinery, kitchen utensils, veneer, plywood, crates, toys, and musical instruments.

Take a look at how soft maple was even used during the Civil War in 1864. This interesting relic of the war was made by George M. Colt , and will forever be known as the Civil War fiddle.

When it comes to a great domestic wood, maple has the qualities you look for in lumber, including the range of figuring present in the different species. Go to our website for additional information on Soft Maple, Curly Soft Maple, and Ambrosia Maple wood. There you can also find Soft Maple, Curly Soft Maple, and Ambrosia Maple lumber. We also offer Maple thinwood.

Hardwood 101 – Holly Lumber

Holly Lumber

Holly Lumber is an exceptional wood for carving.

Holly hardwood lumber (also referred to as Ilex Opaca) comes from North America and is taken from the holly tree. It is commonly 40 to 50 feet in height and has a diameter of 1 to 2 feet, but can reach heights of 80 feet. The holly sapwood is quite wide and much whiter than the heartwood, which ranges from very white to ivory-white in color, with a low luster more closely resembling ivory. Holly features an irregular, very close grain, and an even, very fine texture.

The holly tree has been traditionally connected to Christmas for centuries and its history is important in the traditions of religious and pagan belief systems. It is well known for its red berries and spiny green leaves. Holly is significant to Christmas and is a symbol representing the holiday. It is commonly used in decorative pieces in homes or for uses in festivals. For many, just even thinking about holly brings up the Holidays…and some great cheer!

One unique trait of Holly is how it can spalt (change color from white to a pale grey) when cut down during local rainy seasons or when the ground is moist. How do you prevent holly from spalting? One way is to buy pieces that were cut from logs with minimal sap. It has to be as dry as possible to ensure that it stays white. Any remaining moisture within the log will lead to the wood turning gray.

With a Janka hardness of 1020, Holly lumber is tough, heavy, and a moderately hard wood. It machines very well, with the help of very sharp wood working tools. It also holds screws well and glue adheres without difficulty. Holly finishes very uniformly and is easy to stain to match other wood species. It is sometimes dyed black and used as a substitute for ebony.

Holly is used for carving, engraving, turning, and furniture making. Woodworkers also use this hardwood in inlays because of its white color. Holly lumber is popularly used to make piano, organ, and accordion keys. The ivory white color of the wood is a major reason why it has replaced real ivory. I don’t know about you, but just knowing that this wood is being used for those instruments instead of the tusks of elephants makes me very thankful.

Check out our website to learn more about Holly lumber.

Hardwood 101 – Hickory Lumber

Hickory Lumber

Hickory is very dense and has high crushing, stiffness, bending, & toughness qualities.

Hickory wood is used in making sporting goods, such as fishing rods, baseball bats, drum sticks, bow making, and laminates for tennis racquets. It is a great wood for tool handles, like hammers, hatchets, picks, and axes. It is also used for cabinets, furniture, walking canes, ladders, plywood faces, and veneers. Hickory is also popular for ‘distressed’ or ‘rustic’ hardwood flooring.

Take a look at a curved piece of hickory wood, named “the world’s oldest hockey stick. It was hand carved by a family ancestor in the 1850’s and is appraised at $4 million today!

It’s no wonder why Hickory would be used for such a high-impact sporting good. With a Janka hardness of 1820, hickory wood is tough, heavy, hard, resilient, and capable of resisting impact and stress. Hickory has excellent steam bending characteristics. It is well-known for its high bending and crushing strength, high stiffness and very high shock resistance. Hickory sands, turns, stains, and polishes well.

Rustic Hickory wood

A sample pic of our Rustic Hickory wood.

For additional information about Hickory wood, go to our website. You can also go to our online store and take a look at our Hickory lumber and Hickory thinwood.

Hardwood 101 – Cherry Lumber

cherry lumber

Cherry is an important hardwood steeped in American history.

Cherry lumber is one of the most valued cabinet and furniture woods in North America. It is an excellent turning and carving wood, and is a great option for hardwood flooring. Woodworkers also use cherry for high-class joinery, boat interiors, tobacco pipes, paneling, veneers, interior trim, tool handles, crafts, toys, musical instruments, and scientific instruments.

Cherry lumber has been used for centuries. One pretty amazing relic that we came across goes back to the days of Western expansion here in the United States. Western frontiersman, Buffalo Bill, opened the luxurious Irma Hotel in 1902. One of the most striking features of this hotel was a stunning hand carved Cherry wood bar, complete with a carved buffalo head at the top. When you see the detail of this bar, you have to admire the great skill and patience it took to craft such an exquisite piece. Clearly, the wood worker who created this piece did the cherry lumber justice.

With a Janka hardness of 950, cherry lumber isn’t the strongest wood, but it’s still firm, with a smooth, uniform texture. Craftsmen enjoy working with cherry with an assortment of tools. Cherry also polishes to a beautiful finish. Cherry lumber also nails, screws, and glues very well.

To learn more about Cherry wood, go to our website. There you can find our online store, where you can find more information about Cherry lumber and Curly Cherry lumber. We also have Cherry thinwood available.

Hardwood 101 – Cedar Lumber

Cedar Lumber

Cedar lumber has been used for centuries by societies throughout the world.

Cedar lumber is one popular option due to its unique and delicate fragrance. It is a highly aromatic wood and is a natural repellent to moths, mildew, and mustiness.

Cedar lumber is popularly used for furniture, such as chests and closets, because it keeps your clothes moth hole free! It is also used for cabinet building, paneling, shingles, buckets, posts, and poles.

Check out the discovery of the first ancient remains of Egyptian seafaring ships, inside two man made caves on Egypt’s Red Sea coast. Archaeologists found well-preserved timber, including cedar beams and planks.

Cedar is a beautiful choice in domestic lumber, with important wood working qualities as well. Cedar sapwood is a light cream color, while its heartwood is dull to bright pinkish-red, sometimes with a purple-red tinge and often streaked a deep reddish-brown. It has a Janka hardness of 900, which means it is durable and easy to work with.

Go to our website for additional information about our supply of Cedar wood.

Hardwood Lumber 101 – Butternut Wood

Butternut Lumber

Butternut offers wood carvers an excellent opportunity to create something special.

Butternut Lumber is one domestic hardwood that we offer here at Advantage Trim & Lumber Co.

Butternut Lumber has a Janka hardness of 490, which deems it a soft wood. This makes it a great wood for carving because it shows its beautiful color and grain pattern. Butternut heartwood is chestnut brown with darker areas, while its sapwood is white. It is sometimes referred to as ‘white walnut’ because it resembles black walnut, just not as dark.

Woodcarvers favor Butternut lumber because it carves easily without being brittle. Take a look at this Butternut cane, which has shallow relief carvings of oval designs on it.

For being such a soft wood, Butternut is a versatile wood. It is also used for furniture, interior trim, boxes, crates, paneling, and veneer. This is due to the quality of the wood. Butternut is a relatively light weight wood, which makes it easy to work with. It has good nailing and screwing properties. It glues, stains, and finishes well. It also holds up to hand and power tools, but make sure the cutters are sharp since it’s a soft wood.

Check out Butternut wood on our website. There you can find out more information about our Butternut lumber and Butternut thinwood.