10 Most Popular Types of Hardwood Lumber

10 Most Popular Types of Hardwood Lumber

Can the same type of wood be used indoors and outdoors - and if so, which one? Which is the best wood for a chess board? Can birdhouses and cutting board kits be made from the same lumber?

As a DIY woodworker, are you often confused by the seemingly endless species of wood to choose from? If the answer is yes and if you are looking for the best place to buy lumber, you’ve come to the right place.

1. Red Oak

Oak is available in two common varieties: Red and White. Both varieties are extremely strong and durable, making them two of the most popular types of hardwood available in the United States.

The Red Oak for sale at Forest 2 Home is 90% heartwood on one face with light to medium brown and reddish undertones. Its coarse texture and large pores add a distinctive look to the various interior projects.

Applications/Uses: Flooring, Interior trim, panels, moldings and millwork

Cool woodworking projects: DIY wood sign

 By @TheDailyDIYer

2. White Oak

White Oak can adapt to a variety of habitats and mainly grows in lower altitude areas. It has a light brown heartwood and slightly paler sapwood.

White Oak lumber can be stained or polished to an excellent finish.

Applications/Uses: Furniture, Wine/Whiskey Barrels, Cabinets, Interior trim, DIY projects, Boat building

Cool woodworking projects: DIY wood sign

 By @BuiltByBecDesigns

3. Hard Maple

There are two basic varieties to choose from: Hard and Soft. Hard Maple lumber is from the Sugar Maple trees and grows in dense stands and various types of soil.

A beautiful hardwood, Hard Maple lumber is one of the hardest and high-resistance species. It is a light cream color with subtle red undertones and is 100% sapwood on one side.

Applications/Uses: Musical instruments, Turned wooden objects, Food related items (dinnerware, butcher blocks, cutting boards, etc.)

4. Soft Maple or Red Maple

In case you’re wondering how Soft Maple is considered hardwood, here’s the answer.
Both Soft Maple and Hard Maple are harvested from dicot trees, making them hardwoods.Soft Maple comes in wide varieties and is 25% softer than Hardwood Maple lumber.

Forest 2 Home’s Soft Maple lumber is full of character and features a nice blend of bright white and gray tones, unique discoloration, and distinctive grain pattern.

Applications/Uses: Jewelry boxes, Shelves, Shadow boxes, Floating tables

5. Ash

Ash is another popular hardwood lumber that comes from a variety of trees: Black Ash, Green Ash, White Ash, and Blue Ash. Ash lumber is a lighter-colored wood and the Ash wood grain is straight with a coarse uniform texture.

Ash lumber can be stained or polished to an excellent finish, adding a tasteful look to your interior projects.

Applications/Uses: Moulding, Flooring, Small specialty wood items, DIY projects

By @Hubbs617

6. Sassafras

A sharp-smelling wood, the lore and lure of Sassafras dates back to ancient times. It is still believed that a bed crafted from Sassafras lumber promotes sound sleep and thus a longer life. Well, the belief is also based on the wood’s spicy scent, which drives away bugs.

Sassafras grain, the heartwood of Sassafras is pale to dark brown but often golden in color, making it an excellent selection for both indoor and outdoor projects.

Applications/Uses: Adirondack chairs, Outdoor patio tables, Crates, Closets

7. Cherry

Known for their warmth, American forest cherry trees grow tall and in dense stands with short rotations.Cherry lumber is straight-grained and machines well and is among the most sought-after wood types available in the United States.

Its smooth texture makes for an excellent finish, adding character and warmth to your various woodworking projects.

Applications/Uses: Moulding, Flooring, Small specialty wood items, Cabinets

By @DCTMorris

8. Hickory

The Hickory is known for its unique combination of hardness, strength, and toughness, which is rare in any other hardwood species.

Known for its straight grain, Hickory lumber is full of natural character and has colors ranging from reddish brown to white.

Applications/Uses: Chest of drawers, Bench, Dining tables, Bedside tables, Floating shelves

9. Walnut

The Black Walnut tree, which is common across the eastern United States, produces the darkest of the hardwoods - Black Walnut lumber. Apart from its wonderfully rich and chocolatey color, the dark Walnut is extremely strong and relatively easy to work with.

American Walnut is straight-grained, machines well, and can be stained or polished to an excellent finish.

Applications/Uses: Turned wooden objects, Flooring, Cabinets, DIY projects

By @Mended_Grain

10. Butternut

A member of the Walnut family, types of Walnut also have the Butternut lumber, sometimes referred to as the White Walnut. With a cathedral-like grain pattern, White Walnut has a silky natural luster, with light tan to cinnamon coloring.

Forest 2 Home supplies Butternut lumber by the board foot.

Applications/Uses: Jewelry boxes, Shadow boxes, Floating tables

Conclusion -

Now that you know a bit more about the most popular lumber and what you can make with them, buying wood for woodworking should be easier.

As a lumber company, we at Forest 2 Home would be happy to answer any questions you might have for your next DIY project.

You can reach out to us at your convenience. As always, Happy Woodworking!


  • John Withhart

    On our deck, we have 2 gliding deck chairs. I want to make gliding foot rests for each, unattached and not too large. What reasonably price wood would you suggest for outside? We live in Omaha, NE. Thanks.

  • Ronald Langford

    Do you not carry poplar ( tulip poplar, not aspen) ? It’s excellent for the interior of cabinets

  • James Farley

    The information was very helpful and appreciated.

  • Chuck D Rhudy

    this co. provides great lumber

  • Doug Siemens

    You may want to double-check your uses for red oak. Because of its porous nature, it can not be used for boats and wine/whisky barrels. Because it is much less porous, white oak is used for those applications.

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