Wood Basics


As I have mentioned many times before, I am an avid woodworker.  Although not good enough to do classes on the subject I want to share the knowledge that I have gained from this outstanding hobby.

There are several basics that every woodworker should know.  The main one, before a saw is put to wood, is to know your wood.  This decreases the chance of accidents and will allow best selection for maximum beauty in the project.

There are two types of basic wood: hardwood and softwood.  Softwood comes from the evergreen trees (coniferous) that you see in the norther hemisphere.  Examples of softwood trees are pine, spruce, cedar, fir, larch, and douglas fir.  When it comes to working these woods they tend to be easy to cut and carve but tend to be weaker woods due to the lower density of the material.  These softwoods can make great furniture but most fine furniture makers will use the hardwoods.

Hardwoods are mostly from deciduous trees such as mahogany, teak, walnut, oak, ash, elm, aspen, poplar, birch, and maple.  These woods have a much more dense structure making it harder to work but the furniture you make from it will be ready to last for eons.

How are these measured and sold?  That is dependent on your choice of wood.  Most hardwoods are sold by the board foot (bft).  You will see it labeled as 2/4, 4/4, 6/4, or 8/4.  What does this mean?  It is a label in inches 4/4 equals 1 inch thick, 8/4 is 2 inches thick.  You will still have to select your width and length.  Other woods are measured in the common 2 x 4, 3/4 x 6, ext …, where the first number is the thickness and the second the width.  All you have to select is your length.

No matter the wood you choose, all woods can be beautiful if used in the right project.  I suggest going down to the local hardwood store or lumberyard and looking around, you will find that seeing the process is much more descriptive than just reading about it.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Topical Discussions by Tired Doggie. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tired Doggie

Ray Gilmore is a Aerospace Engineering Technician for the U.S. Navy. His true passions are the hobbies he does in his spare time. He loves to build household wood crafted items including furniture and decorative items, enjoys miniature painting, and crafts his own beer and hard cider. DIY is his thing. He also publishes the tireddoggie and dungeondoggie blogs, and is co-author of The DIY Initiative Blog on wordpress.com.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s