A Comparison Of Cedar Varieties For Exterior Use Projects

Choosing the Right Wood Species and Grade for Your Project

Choosing the right wood species and grade is like selecting the perfect ingredient for your favorite recipe – it can make all the difference. This is why it is important that you make the right decision when you’re picking a wood species and grade for your woodworking project.

In this article, we’ll dive into selecting wood species and grades. We will break down the process so you can make informed decisions and achieve the best results for your project. 

So, let’s get right into it.


Understanding Wood Species

Wood species form the foundation of any woodworking project. They are the building blocks that determine the appearance, strength, and overall characteristics of your final creation. 

In this section, we will explain what wood species are, and why they matter, and then explore some common options for your woodworking endeavors.


What are Wood Species?

In simple terms, wood species, refer to the type of tree from which a particular wood is harvested. Since each wood species has its own unique set of qualities, it is very vital to choose the right one for your project. 

The choice of wood species can significantly impact the final product’s appearance, durability, and suitability for its intended purpose.

For instance, some wood species, like oak or maple, are prized for their strength and durability. This makes them ideal for furniture and flooring. 

Others, such as cherry or walnut, are celebrated for their rich colors and fine-grain patterns, making them a favorite choice for high-end cabinetry and decorative items. 

When choosing a wood species, consider the following:

  • Color: Different wood species offer a range of natural colors, from pale blondes to deep reds and browns. You should choose one that matches the aesthetic of your wood project.
  • Grain Pattern: Wood grains can be subtle/pronounced or straight/wavy. The grain pattern of the species you choose can greatly affect the visual appeal of your project.
  • Hardness: Some woods are harder and more resistant to wear, while others are softer. This factor influences the wood’s ability to withstand everyday use.
  • Workability: Not all woods are equally easy to work with. Some may require more effort when cutting, shaping, or finishing.


Common Wood Species

Now that we’ve talked about what wood species are and their importance let’s explore a few common ones:

  • Oak: Known for its durability and distinctive grain pattern, oak is often used for furniture and flooring. It comes in two primary varieties: red oak with a pinkish hue and white oak with a cooler, grayish tone.
  • Maple: Maple wood is celebrated for its light color, fine grain, and exceptional durability. It’s popular for kitchen cabinets, cutting boards, and musical instruments.
  • Cherry: Cherry wood is cherished for its warm, reddish-brown color that darkens over time. It’s a favorite for high-quality furniture, cabinets, and decorative woodworking.
  • Walnut: Walnut wood is known for its dark, rich color and elegant grain pattern. It’s often used in crafting high-end furniture, flooring, and decorative pieces.
  • Pine: Pine is a softer wood with a pale color. This makes it suitable for a rustic or casual appearance. It’s used for various woodworking projects, such as shelving and interior trims.


Understanding Wood Grading

Wood grading is like sorting through a box of chocolates, where you aim to find the best ones for your desired taste. This section will explore the wood grading system, its significance in woodworking, and the factors influencing wood grading.


Wood Grading System

Wood is categorized into various grades, which serve as quality indicators. These grades help woodworkers and consumers choose wood that aligns with their project requirements. 

Below are the key factors in wood grading.

  • Appearance: This factor considers the wood’s visual attributes, such as color, grain pattern, and texture. Clear, select, and common are examples of wood grade categories that highlight the appearance of the wood.
  • Defects: Wood grading also assesses any imperfections in the wood, like knots, splits, and blemishes. Higher grades, like “clear,” have fewer defects, making them ideal for premium projects.

Meanwhile, lower grades like “common,” may include more defects. This makes them more suitable for less visible areas.

  • Quality: Quality standards include the wood’s consistency, texture, and structural integrity. Premium grades are often more consistent in quality and better suited for high-end applications.


Factors to Consider When Selecting Wood Grades

When choosing wood for your project, it’s essential to be aware of the factors that influence wood grading. Understanding the elements below will help you make informed decisions.

  • Knots: Knots are circular imperfections in the wood. They often appear where branches once grew. 

Larger knots are often found in lower-grade wood, whereas premium wood tends to have smaller or fewer knots.

  • Splits: Splits or cracks in the wood can impact its structural integrity. Premium wood is less likely to have splits, while the lower-grade ones tend to have more.
  • Moisture Content: The moisture content in wood affects its stability. Proper dried and seasoned wood is typically of higher quality and less prone to warping or shrinking.
  • Insects and Decay: Premium wood species are more resistant to insects and decay than the lower-grade ones.



For a wide selection of premium wood options, including top-quality cedar, look no further than Longhouse Cedar. Our commitment to quality and expertise in the field makes us the ideal partner for your woodworking projects. Contact us today to explore a range of exceptional wood species and grades that will elevate your woodwork project to the next level.