Tag Archives: hardwood

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.