Everything You Need to Know About Our 11 Hardwood Species

Everything You Need to Know About Our 11 Hardwood Species

There is more to hardwood than meets the eye and we treat each of our 11 Northern hardwood species (White Ash, Basswood, Birch, White Oak, Cherry, Hard Maple, Hickory, Poplar, Red Maple, Red Oak, and Walnut) with the respect they deserve.

This guide highlights each of the Northern hardwood species Forest 2 Home is proud to carry and includes common uses, physical characteristics, fast facts, and much more.

White Ash

Our White Ash hardwood is dense with bright white sapwood, light tan heartwood, and uniform, well defined annual growth rings. It comes from within approximately 100 mile radius (62 km) of our manufacturing facilities in New York and Pennsylvania. White Ash is commonly used in furniture, tool handles, guitar bodies, lobster traps and flooring. White Ash lumber turns well and retains such strength that it has been the hardwood of choice for making everything from baseball bats to long bows.


Basswood is a soft, light weight wood, pale in color, with fine close grain. It is usually free of large knots. Our Basswood hardwood comes from within about 100 mile radius (62 km) of our manufacturing facilities. The light density of basswood lumber makes it well suited for wooden-ware, crates, blinds, and internal furniture parts. Easy to work with hand tools, kiln dried basswood is often used for wooden carving. In mouldings and many other applications, it can be used as a substitute for aspen or poplar.


Our Birch hardwood comes from approximately 100 mile radius (62 km) of our manufacturing facilities in New York and Pennsylvania. Heartwood tends to be a light reddish brown, with nearly white sapwood. There is virtually no color distinction between annual growth rings, giving Birch a uniform appearance. The grain is generally straight or slightly wavy, with a fine, even texture. Birch lumber is typically easy to work with hand and machine tools, turns, glues, and finishes well. Kiln dried Birch is often used for furniture, kitchen cabinets, paneling, moldings (interior trim), interior doors, flooring, and other small specialty wood items.

White Oak

White Oak has a light brown heartwood and slightly paler sapwood. It is strong, tough, dense, tight grained, durable and beautiful. Our White Oak hardwood is harvested from prime timberland in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. White Oak lumber is water resistant which makes it the primary species for whiskey and wine barrels. Along with Black Cherry, it was a signature wood used in mission style furniture by Gustav Stickley in the Craftsman style in the Arts and Crafts movement. It is still used in fine furniture today, as well as in doors, mouldings, caskets, boat decking, flooring and outdoor applications. Kiln dried White Oak is rated as one of the best hardwoods for machining and steam bending.


Cherry hardwood from our region is one of the most valued species of hardwoods with its rich red heartwood, beautiful grain patterns and minimal gum spots. Various subspecies of Cherry exist across the eastern and southern United States and far down into Mexico. Our Cherry lumber comes from Pennsylvania and New York, a region where the quality of the wood is renowned worldwide and close to our manufacturing facilities (approximately within a 100 mile radius). Cherry is medium density, with good wood bending properties. It machines, nails and glues well, and has an unsurpassed finish when stained or polished. Uses for kiln dried cherry lumber include fine furniture, cabinets, paneling, flooring, doors, recreational vehicle interiors, string instruments, coffins and carvings.

Hard Maple

Hard Maple is a dense hardwood noted for its sturdy bright white sapwood. Our Hard Maple hardwood comes from premier growing areas for the species which are within about 100 mile radius (62 km) of our manufacturing facilities in New York and Pennsylvania. Hard Maple is one of the hardest and most dense hardwoods. It has high resistance to abrasion and wear. It is prized for furniture, cabinets, stairs, mouldings and millwork, coffins and flooring. It is also used for gym and basketball courts, bowling alleys, bowling pins, rolling pins and other turnings, skateboard decks, baseball bats, billiard cues, cutting blocks, and a variety of musical instruments. Hard Maple lumber machines and glues well and can be stained or polished to a fine finish.


Northern Shagbark Hickory is found in the northern Appalachians of the United States. It is distinct from Southern Shagbark Hickory (or “Carolina Shagbark Hickory”) which is a separate species or variety. Its light sapwood and brown heartwood make for distinctive contrasts. Our Shagbark Hickory hardwood comes from the north Appalachian region in the proximity of our New York and Pennsylvania manufacturing facilities. Hickory is hard, dense and heavy. The tough resilient properties of Northern Shagbark Hickory lumber makes it desirable for products subject to impact and stress. It is used for cabinets, tool handles, axles and shafts, bows, skis, paddles, furniture, and flooring.


White Poplar (Populous alba) is a light, soft hardwood with sapwood that is white or light green cast. The color is lighter and more uniform than that of native American Southern “Yellow Poplar”, also known as Tulipwood. It is generally free of dark mineral streaks that are found in the southern species making it a stain grade Poplar. Our White Poplar lumber is harvested from prime timberland in northern Appalachian region of Pennsylvania near our manufacturing facilities. White Poplar hardwood machines easily and takes paints and stains well. It is often used in furniture, mouldings and millwork, paneling, panels, carvings, crates and picture frames.


American Black Walnut is a straight-grained, medium density hardwood with beautiful dark red heartwood and steamed dark sapwood. It is distinct from other walnuts found in the American west and south central states. Our Black Walnut hardwood comes from North Central Ohio, where the wood is especially prized for its color and working properties. It machines and bends well and can be polished or stained to an exceptional finish. Applications for Black Walnut lumber include furniture, paneling and cabinets, doors, paddles, coffins, flooring and rifle stock.

We are working to add all of the above species to our website, so in the meantime please email us at support@forest2home.com to place a custom order with your choice of species and size.

Red Maple

Red Maple is similar in appearance to Hard Maple. Its close grained sapwood generally is creamy white and its heartwood reddish brown. The grain of Red Maple hardwood is often dotted with flecks. Figured grain is less common but highly prized for certain product applications. Our Red Maple lumber is 100% Red Leaf Maple and comes from within about 100 mile radius (62 km) of our manufacturing facilities. We do not mix Silver Leaf with this species, as is a common practice in the industry. Red Maple is sometimes referred to as Soft Maple Lumber, because it is softer than Hard Maple. It machines well and can be finished to resemble Hard Maple, Black Cherry or Alder so is sometimes used as a substitute.

Red Oak

Red Oak is strong, durable, easy to work with and consistent in color and texture. Our Red Oak lumber comes from preferred areas of prime timberland within about 100 mile radius (62 km) of our manufacturing facilities in New York and Pennsylvania. Red Oak machines exceptionally well and can be stained or polished to a beautiful finish. Kiln dried Red Oak is commonly used in furniture, cabinets, doors, panels, mouldings and millwork, floors and caskets.


  • Frankie DeSantis

    I am looking for a light ( white looking) wood.. the size I am open too 3/4 2 inch thick, 4 6 inches wid, and 24 -48 inches long

  • John Carpenter

    To you have any 1/2 inch lumber available?

  • MIke Sullivan

    Can you provide wood that is half inch thick?

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