European Beech Wood Species


Appearance:

The color is light cream with darker heartwood, something between maple and ash. The grain is short, mostly straight, with fine, even texture. Beech wood imparts definite warmth to the environment and has the ability to make the interior look more spacious. Furniture manufacturers and cabinet makers figured out the trick for quite a while; that’s one of the reasons many pieces of furniture designed for small habitats such as apartments are so often veneered with beech wood.

Physical properties:

Dense, heavy and hard (1300 on the Janka scale) yet somewhat brittle due to its short grain. Not having any specific taste or odor and being very gentle on the knife’s edge, it becomes an obvious choice of cutting boards, chopping blocks and butcher-block counter tops. The unfinished wood has a poor dimensional stability, as it reacts promptly to the changes in the environmental humidity. It is therefore, necessary for the wood to be sealed with great care prior to installation.

Working properties:

Beech wood machines very well and has an exceptional stain acceptance. Being a dense wood, it tends to split along the grain, so pre-drilling is a must for nails and wood screws.

Trivia:

Although beech wood is not very durable outdoors, its durability increases amazingly when constantly soaked. That’s why beech wood came to be used for building water wheels and underwater ship elements when white oak or other traditional water-resistant wood was not available.

European Beech wood texture sample:

European Beech Wood Species
European Beech Wood Species
Species

European Maple Wood Species


Appearance:

Generally straight-grained but often with wavy or curly grain and very intricate, filigree-like drawings. The European maple wood has a lighter color than its American cousin and lacks the yellowish tones of the later. It possesses an innate shining and makes a great presence when stained with a color light enough not to hide the wood’s natural drawing. The pieces derived from radial cut exhibit distinct shimmer (or chatoyance). Highly versatile, it blends well with a great diversity of hardwood flooring and cabinet kitchen types.

Physical properties:

It is slightly softer than the sugar maple but with a greater shock and decay resistance. In this regard, it closely resembles the western maple. It has good dimensional stability and does not impart taste or odor to the food it comes in contact with.

Working properties:

Works and machines very well but is predisposed to burning marks. Sands and polishes to a very smooth surface.

European Maple wood texture sample:

 
European Maple Wood Species
Species

White Oak Wood Species


Appearance:

Open, coarse grain with light tan color. White or creamy veins occasionally occur. Simultaneously elegant and rustic, the white oak suggests firmness and resilience. It will blend in quite nicely if other oak elements such as cabinetry or floorings exist but it will also go well along teak, chestnut or yellow pine. It makes especially a great presence within antique or heritage decorations.

Physical properties:

Hard, dense and heavy, with great wear resistance. Despite being a rather stiff wood, it shows a very good shock absorbance. The high content of tannins makes its fiber exceptionally water resistant and grants good dimensional stability. It can impart taste to the foods it comes in extended contact with, which is not always an undesirable effect (think oak barrel-aged whisky).

Working properties:

Works well with machine tools and rather hard with hand tools. It exhibits a tendency to chip and splinter, so pre-drilling is mandatory. When in prolonged contact with metal, it stains dark in the contact spot. It also reacts promptly when in contact with bleach, by turning brown or dark green.

Trivia:

Exceptionally well-preserved after spending nine centuries or more buried underground, the Viking long ships excavated in various locations in Norway were found to be built mostly or entirely of white oak.

White Oak wood texture sample:

White Oak Wood Species
Species

Cherry Wood Species


Appearance:

Pinkish to dark red, with rich color and smooth, satiny, most often wavy texture. The sapwood is always paler and may include tones of light gray or yellow. Generally, the color can vary substantially from board to board; hence we can accurately say that each panel is truly unique. The wood is light sensitive and develops an antique-like patina within 3-4 weeks when exposed to sunlight. The patina forms even without sun exposure, due to oxidation, but in this case it takes up to one year. Cherry is one of those woods that can be formal but also delicate. A skilled designer can turn it into a suave, rustic or antique element of decor. It blends well in a pretty wide variety of configurations. It can make a good transition from maple cabinetry to mahogany or similarly dark flooring. It can attenuate the austerity of Shaker style furniture, or the exuberance of a wood such as hickory or zebra.

Physical properties:

Although technically a hardwood, the cherry wood is pretty soft (950 on the Janka scale), therefore it is mostly used for bar tops, table tops, island tops, coffee table tops and similar areas that are intended for dining rather than cooking. A cherry top will perform somewhat poorly when used as a food preparation area, since it wears out quite rapidly. It shows good elasticity and dimensional stability, but only average shock and decay resistance.

Working properties:

It machines, shapes and molds exceptionally well. In this regard, it is very good choice for tops with a rich, intricate edge profile. It shows no tendency to split, so it nails and screws easily. Sands very well and polishes to an excellent finish. It has a very good stain acceptance, but its use lye primarily on the grounds of its natural looks.

Trivia:

The beech wood, when steamed for up to 48 hours, turns reddish and makes a very good (and less expensive) substitute for cherry. Apart from its lower cost, steamed beech wood is frequently employed where a cherry effect is desired but substantial hardness and resilience is also required. The wood, however, will lack the wavy grain of the cherry and will not develop the characteristic patina.

Cherry wood texture sample:

Cherry Wood Species
Species

Walnut Wood Species


Appearance:

Dark brown heartwood and lighter, often with dark streaks sapwood. The grain is frequently curly with mottled and burled figures. The wood first appears to be fairly dull and somewhat oily; with time, however, it develops a rich, lustrous patina that accounts for its aristocratic elegance. It works better in spacious, visually balanced areas, or as a way of inducing a sense of equilibrium to a rather light-colored décor. Most often is employed for small sections, to add character.

Physical properties:

The wood is hard (1300 on Janka scale), heavy and shows exceptional dimensional stability. Being a stiff wood, however, it tends to be a bit brittle. It is very durable, even under circumstances that would generally lead to decay. Due to its high content of aromatic compounds, it might impart taste to the foods it comes in a prolonged contact with. Therefore, in spite of its resistance to scratches and cut marks, it is not a good choice for cutting boards and butcher blocks.

Working properties:

It works equally well with machines or hand tools. Molds and shapes very well, and its rather short fiber allow some of the most elaborate edge profiles. Sands and polishes to a high luster but it stains rather poorly.

Trivia:

The European walnut (the edible walnut tree, Juglans regia) is a loner by nature. Unlike its American cousin (the black walnut, Juglans nigra) that grows well in forest stands, the European walnut does not suffer other trees in its immediate vicinity, and this is why it is never found in the forest. It grows instead in meadows and glades, where the closest tree is at least 40 feet away. Consequently, while the American walnut competes with other trees for sunlight and, therefore, grows a long, straight stem, the edible walnut, lacking such competition grows a short stem and low, thick branches. This growth configuration is viewed both as an asset (since it generates the curvy, twisted, unusual patterns of the grain that are highly priced for their visual effects) and a defect (since it becomes impossible to obtain walnut lumber with lengths exceeding 4’).

Walnut wood texture sample:

Walnut Wood Species
Species

Black Locust Wood Species


Appearance:

Brown yellowish with olive tones, resembling the teak wood at some extent, with thin, long grain. The wood exhibits pronounced chatoyance (different looks when light falls from different angles). Light rays appear frequently along the grain. On the end grain, it shows a velvety texture reminding of the old tobacco color. A well adaptable presence, it can warm an austere ambiance, or attenuate the exuberance of a vivacious one.

Physical properties:

Remarkably hard (1700 on the Janka scale), stable (one of the lowest shrinkage rates) and prominently decay resistant (the longevity of locust wood articles is subject of legend in the rural society). Its long grain provides very good elasticity and exceptional shock resistance. It has a good ability to resist friction while staying smooth and is also famous for being stable and resistant even under extreme conditions of chemical activity, heat and moisture. On the grounds of these qualities, the black locust wood is frequently employed for tough, heavy-duty applications such as mine posts, railroad ties, ship decks and heavy traffic floorings. As a kitchen top or a bathroom counter top, however, it is used primarily because its aesthetics. Although tasteless and odorless, it doesn’t make a very good cutting surface because it dulls the knife blade quite fast.

Working properties:

It saws well but, being a dense and hard wood, it will wear out the saw blades quicker than other wood species. It sands very well but it tends to clog the sandpaper. Polishes to an exceptionally smooth surface, stains and finishes very well. Being already oily by nature, it will absorb very slowly an oil finishing or any other similar penetrating finishing.

Trivia:

Unlike the great majority of wood species, the quality of black locust wood is in an inverse proportion with the quality of the soil; the poorer the soil is, the denser and harder the wood becomes, due to the slow annual growth.

Black Locust wood texture sample:

Black Locust Wood Species
Species

Whitebeam Wood Species


Appearance:

White sapwood and brown-reddish to chocolate-brown heartwood with narrow, smooth grain. Occasionally, curly or wavy grain also occurs. Due to the severe contrast between heartwood and sapwood, it makes a very good substitute for hickory. It can grant a lot of character to an average interior, or it can make the piece-de-résistance of an already daring kitchen design. Generally however, it blends naturally within any rustic home décor where light and dark alternate. Like hickory, it is often used to create a rustic effect.

Physical properties:

A very hard (1820 on the Janka scale) and resistant wood (despite of not being a heavy one), the whitebeam is famous for being used for making clogged wheels before the advent of the industrial revolution. Greatly stable, it exhibits a very low shrinkage rate and it can take a great deal of friction while staying smooth. Add great resilience, shock resistance, and durability and you’ll have the complete portrait.

Working properties:

Rather hard to saw, it will dull the tools quite fast, but then what else would you expect from one of the hardest woods of the Northern hemisphere? It generates a very smooth cut, but the white sapwood is prone to predisposed to burn marks. Whitebeam sands very well and polishes almost glass-like smooth. It tends to splint, so pre-drilling screw and nail holes is a big must.

Trivia:

Due to its high mineral content, whitebeam is such terrible firewood it gained the reputation of “the wood that doesn’t burn”. This flaw, however, turned out to be a sought-after quality owing to which, whitebeam came to be extensively used in the past to mark boundaries throughout the Europe’s countryside. Its bright-red berries hanging on branches all winter long would make it visible from the distance and, at the same time, no drifters in their right mind would ever attempt to cut it down to light their campfire.

Whitebeam wood texture sample:

Whitebeam Wood Species
Species