Hardwood Species Grain Guide

Use this guide to easily identify hardwood species

Forest 2 Home's Hardwood Species Grain Guide

Each hardwood species has its own characteristics. This wood grain guide can help you identify Northern hardwood lumber species based on the wood's grain and color. This guide includes White Ash, Basswood, Butternut, Birch, White Oak, Cherry, Hard Maple, Hickory, Poplar, Red Maple, Red Oak, Soft Maple, and Walnut hardwood species. Need help identifying a species? Reach out! Our team of hardwood experts would be happy to help with your wood grain identification needs.

Basswood hardwood

Basswood is a soft, light weight wood that is pale in color. Basswood wood has a fine close grain with subtle annual growth rings that can be very hard to see to the untrained eye.

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Birch hardwood

Birch hardwood's heartwood is a light reddish brown, with nearly white sapwood. Birch wood grain is generally straight or slightly wavy, with a fine, even texture.

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Butternut hardwood

Butternut hardwood is often referred to as “White Walnut” because of its light tan to cinnamon-colored heartwood. Butternut wood has a cathedral like grain pattern.

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Cherry hardwood

Cherry hardwood is known for its reddish brown coloring and is 100% heartwood on one side. Cherry wood grain is normally straight with the occasional curly grain pattern.

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Hard Maple hardwood

Hard Maple hardwood is a light cream color with subtle red undertones. It is 100% sapwood on both sides. Hard Maple wood grain is usually straight with the occasional wavy grain.

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Hickory hardwood

Hickory hardwood's heartwood is a medium brown with a paler yellow sapwood appearance. Hickory wood grain is usually straight with the occasional wavy grain.

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Poplar hardwood

Poplar hardwood is a light, soft hardwood with sapwood that has a white, light green, or yellow cast. The "Rainbow Poplar" variety features multicolored mineral streaks giving it a rainbow appearance.

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Red Oak hardwood

Red Oak hardwood is a light to medium brown with reddish undertones. It is 100% heartwood on one face. Red Oak wood has a straight grain with a porous texture.

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Red/Soft Maple hardwood

Red Maple hardwood, also known as Soft Maple hardwood, has close grained sapwood and is creamy white and with reddish brown heartwood. Soft Maple wood grain is often dotted with flecks. 

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Walnut hardwood

Walnut hardwood is a light to medium brown and has a minimum of 90% heartwood on one face. Walnut wood is mostly straight grained.

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White Ash hardwood

White Ash hardwood is dense with bright white sapwood and light tan heartwood. White Ash wood grain is uniform and has well defined annual growth rings.

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White Oak hardwood

White Oak hardwood has a light brown heartwood and slightly paler sapwood. White Oak wood is strong, tough, dense, tight grained and durable.

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