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Wood Types


Alder Wood Small
Alder Wood


Alder is characterized by its straight grain and even texture. Its reddish brown color often looks similar to Cherry. While Alder is often used to mimic Cherry, its rich tone is beautiful. And certainly warrants use for its own distinct qualities. Though it dents relatively easy, it offers a stable surface.



Alder can be either painted or stained, depending on your application. The rich tones allow for a staining similar to Cherry, while the even texture make this wood a great painting option.


See Examples of Finished Products in Alder on our Blog


Beech Wood Small
Beech Wood


European Beech is a heavy, pale -colored, medium-to-hard wood. It is a fine, tight grain and has large medullar rays. Beech is similar in appearance to maple and birch. One excellent characteristic of Beech is the fact that it does stain and polish well. Beech is a wood with high crush strength and medium stiffness.



Beech provides an excellent staining surface. Because of its similarities to maples, another stain grade option would be Hard Maple wood- a more economic option.


Learn More about European Beech offered at Osborne.

Black Walnut

Black Walnut Wood Small
Black Walnut Wood


Black walnut is considered a rare wood type, and it is quite durable and strong. Its coloration can be light to chocolate brown, and may contain burls, butts, and curls. The sapwood is usually white in color, and may be as high as 25%, but we have it steamed to make it a light coffee color, allowing for better color uniformity.



Walnut is a beautiful stain grade wood type that easily complements other steamed walnut products.


See Examples of Finished Products in Walnut on our Blog


Cherry Wood Small
Cherry Wood


Cherry wood is moderately heavy, hard, and strong, and it also machines and sands to glass-like smoothness. Because of this, Cherry finishes beautifully. The heartwood in Cherry is red in color, and the sapwood is light pink. Components made of Cherry generally consist of approximately 25% sapwood and 75% heartwood.



Cherry is a stain grade wood. A more economical option to mimic cherry would be the Alder wood species.


See Examples of Finished Products in Cherry on our Blog


Cypress Wood Small
Cypress Wood


Cypress wood, which is found along the Atlantic Coastal Plain from Delaware to Florida, is noted for color consistency, density, hardness, and relative lack of knots. It has a predominantly yellow tone with reddish, chocolate, or olive hues. Cypress has oils in the heartwood that make it very durable.



Cypress is virtually indestructable and offers a great finishing surface for a variety of finishes.

Douglas Fir

Douglas Fir Wood Small
Douglas Fir Wood


Douglas Fir, also known as the Oregon Pine, is a light rosy colored wood that reddens overtime. It is a tight knotted and close-grained wood that has a high degree of stiffness as well.



If you are looking to paint or stain this wood it holds all types of stains and finishes. Douglas Fir is dimensionally stable.


Hickory Wood Small
Hickory Wood


If you are looking for strength, hardness, and durability; Hickory is the best commercially available wood in North America. The grain is normally straight, but can sometimes be irregular or wavy. Hickory has a coarse texture, with a great deal of color variation between reddish brown, lighter brown, and white. Color variation may have a striped appearance.



Hickory has a very unique color variation that adds dimension and texture to rustic style homes. Hickory is a stain grade option for projects where such variety adds to the detail of the design.


See Examples of Finished Products in Hickory on our Blog

Hard Maple

Hard Maple Wood Small
Hard Maple Wood


Hard Maple is considered our stain grade Maple, because it is more consistent in color than its “cousin,” Soft Maple. The wood is characterized as dense, and light in color. Similar to our Soft Maple, Hard Maple is a fine textured and close grained wood that does not require filling.



Hard Maple provides a smooth and clear surface for finishing of any kind. Whether you are choosing a light stain or a dark stain, we recommend hard maple as your go to wood type. Although Hard Maple offers a smooth painting surface, a more economical option is the Soft Maple.


See Examples of Finished Products in Hard Maple on our Blog

Heart Pine

Heart Pine Wood Small
Heart Pine Wood


Heart Pine is a wood where the color ranges from dark rich amber to various shades of golden yellow. When Heart Pine is exposed to light it does cause the wood to darken and yellow with time. Heart Pine is softer than red oak yet quite dense and strong. The grain of Heart Pine is open and broad with some knots as well.



Heart Pine is a specialty wood selection at Osborne Wood Products. This wood is best used conditioned and finished with stain.

Knotty Pine

Knotty Pine Wood Small
Knotty Pine Wood


Knotty Pine is a lightweight wood, characterized by a straight grain and a fine, even texture. While knots are prevalent in the wood, the knots tend to be small and tight, giving the wood the signature rustic look that pine is so well known for, Knotty Pine is dimensionally stable and durable.



Although our most economic wood option, Knotty pine is recommended for staining. This wood type may be painted for rustic or distressed projects, however the knots will bleed through the paint over time and grain may be exposed.


See Examples of Finished Products in Pine on our Blog.


Sapele Mahogany Wood Small
Sapele Mahogany Wood


Not only one of the most valuable timbers in Africa, this species is also one of the foremost cabinet woods in the world. Mahogany is characterized as having straight to interlocked grain and a medium coarse texture. The wood varies slightly in color from a light reddish brown to a medium red.



Our Mahogany is a Sapele Mahogany and is recommended for staining.


See Examples of Finished Products in Mahogany on our Blog.

Red Birch

Red Birch Wood Small
Red Birch Wood


The heartwood of Birch is red in color. While it is softer than Red Oak, it does actually have a tighter grain, which makes it very easy to finish. Red Birch is similar to Cherry in its appearance, as well as in its density and its resistance to abrasion.



Red Birch offers a great finishing surface for a variety of finishes. For an economical option for painting try Soft Maple.

Red Oak

Red Oak Wood Small
Red Oak Wood


Red Oak is a wood that is known for being very hard, heavy, and strong. However, given its density, it is actually fairly easy to work. Like Hickory, it does have a coarse texture. Red Oak turns, carves, and bends well. It is also characterized by having excellent sanding and finishing properties, and great stability.



Because of its unique grain patterns and texture, Red Oak is recommended as a stain grade option.


See Examples of Finished Products in Oak on our Blog.

Rustic Alder

Rustic Alder Wood Small
Rustic Alder Wood


Knotty Alder is a hardwood of medium density that features a color range of light browns with reddish hues. Knotty Alder, being true to its name, features large split knots and open knots that vary in size. The knots can come in a variety of shapes and colors which can cause the knots to take stain differently than the rest of the wood. Some knots may also be completely through the wood, making this wood a perfect choice for rustic style projects.
View Rustic Alder Standards



Rustic Alder is a specialty wood option at Osborne and is recommended for staining. A more economic paint option would be Clear Alder.


Rubberwood Wood Small
Rubberwood Woodtype


Belonging to the Maple family, Rubberwood has very little tendency to warp or crack, as well as a dense grain character. Another benefit is that it is Earth Friendly. Unlike other trees used for lumber, Rubberwood is not harvested until it can no longer be used for its latex-producing sap; and then when it is harvested, new rubber trees are planted.



Rubberwood is a great stain or paint option. Often considered an economic paint grade, we recommend a good primer be used before painting rubberwood. This is because Rubberwood is porous in nature.


See Examples of Finished Products in Rubberwood on our Blog.

Soft Maple

Soft Maple Wood Small
Soft Maple Wood


Having medium density, hardness, and strength, its machining and finishing properties are good, as is its stability. This fine textured and close grained wood does not require filling. Soft Maple exhibits color variation including gray mineral streaking and sapwood. This does not lend well to staining, so Soft Maple is recommended as a paintgrade.



Soft Maple is considered a paint grade because of minor mineral streaking, in addition to its close grained texture creating a more than adequate painting surface. For light stains and clear coat finishes try using our Hard Maple for a clearer, more consistent finish.


See Examples of Finished Products in Soft Maple on the Blog.

Spanish Cedar

Spanish Cedar Wood Small
Spanish Cedar Wood


Spanish Cedar is a freshly cut heartwood that is pinkish to reddish brown but becomes red or dark reddish brown upon exposure. The wood is coarser than that of mahogany. Spanish Cedar has many other great qualities such as being durable, light but strong and is a straight grain wood.



Spanish Cedar is a specialty wood type that is recommended as a stain grade option.

Tiger Maple

Tiger Maple Wood Small
Tiger Maple Wood


Tiger Maple has a unique pattern to it, the pattern travels across the grain and can look like stripes, waves or small flames. The curly grain can make tiger maple less stable than straight grained maple. Tiger Wood is a hard durable wood and is a frequent choice for custom-made furniture.



Tiger Maple is recommended with a stain or clear finish to accentuate the unique curly grain of the wood.

White Oak

White Oak Wood Small
White Oak Wood


White Oak, an American hardwood, ranges in color from a very light color to a light to dark brown heartwood. White oak is much harder and heavier than the Red Oak. White oak is characterized by a mostly straight grained wood with a medium to coarse texture. The white oak will exhibit longer rays than that of the Red Oak, giving it more figure. The tighter, straighter grain pattern does not allow stain to penetrate the grain as easily resulting in a more consistent finish.



White Oak is recommended as a stain grade wood.

Western Red Cedar

Western Red Cedar Wood Small
Western Red Cedar Wood


Western Red Cedar has twice the stability of most commonly available softwoods. Although Western Red Cedar is one of the world's most durable woods it however lacks in strength. Western Red Cedar has a uniform texture and is also a straight grained wood. One great characteristics of Western Red Cedar is that it is one of the easiest woods to work with.



Western Red Cedar can be used with a variety of finishing options.

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Frequently Asked Wood Type Questions

What wood type do you recommend for painting?

We recommend Soft Maple as our paintgrade option. Soft maple is a hardwood and offers a smooth painting surface for finishing. Soft maple is just a little less dense (or hard) than hard maple. It is actually the same density as Cherry on the Janka hardness scale.


Another paintgrade option would be Rubberwood. Often a more economical option, Rubberwood is also part of the Maple family. We do recommend using a good primer with this wood type, as it is more porous.
Learn more about Rubberwood.


A third option for a paintgrade wood is Alder. Alder is much less dense than Soft Maple and does tend to dent rather easily. This is an economical option when Soft Maple and Rubberwood are not available.


At times we may offer "Paintgrade" as a woodtype option for a particular wood component. Paintgrade could be any wood species that does not have a distinct grain that would show through paint. This option is often most economical but can only be used for painting applications.

Is soft maple a soft wood?

No. Soft Maple is actually a hardwood. In fact, Soft Maple has a density of 950 on the Janka Hardness Scale. Soft Maple gets its name because it is less dense than Hard Maple (1450 on the Janka scale). Soft Maple also exhibits mineral streaking in the wood. This gray coloring makes Soft Maple a much better paint grade option than stain grade, as the streaking may show through lighter stains.

What is the difference between hard and soft maple?

Soft Maple (950 on the Janka Scale) gets its name because it is less dense than Hard Maple (1450 on the Janka Scale). Soft Maple also exhibits mineral streaking in the wood. This gray coloring makes Soft Maple a much better paint grade option than stain grade, as the streaking may show through lighter stains.

Why is knotty pine not a good choice if we plan to paint wood?

Knotty Pine, true to its name, contains tight knots throughout the wood. These knots absorb paint much differently than the rest of the wood. Even if they are covered with paint at the time of finishing, the paint may be absorbed over time causing the knots to "bleed through."

Knotty Pine can be painted, however, if a distressed or rustic finish is required. If the desired finish includes seeing grain and knots through the paint than this wood type is a great option.

Does knotty pine have a lot of knots?

Not all Knotty Pine pieces will have knots but they are common. The knots are a variety of shapes and sizes. The craftsmen avoid knots that impact the integrity of the piece.  

What is Rubberwood? Can I stain it?

Rubberwood is a wood from the Maple family. It actually comes from a sap producing tree that no longer produces that sap which was turned into rubber. A green or eco-friendly option, choosing Rubberwood is re-purposing this tree for a new use! Rubberwood can be either painted or stained to achieve the desired finish.
Learn More About Rubberwood

What type of wood is the hardest?

Wood types are often measured by density to determine hardness. According to the Janka Scale, Hickory is the hardest wood type (1820 on the scale).

Why is white oak more expensive than red oak?

White oak is a speciality wood type at Osborne Wood Products. Because of its rare nature, White Oak tends to cost roughly twice the price of Red Oak in some cases.

Are components sold solid or are they glued-up?

While we realize that solid components are desired for aesthetics, it is not always possible for us to acquire wood that is wide enough to create components out of one solid piece. Because of this, laminates may be used for particular products, sizes, wood types, etc. Learn More about Laminates and Availability of Solids

How much weight can each wood support?

Our products are not weight tested. However, Osborne Wood Products components are specifically designed for load bearing purposes with proper installation.

What are the best wood types for exterior use?

Although we do not recommend any wood for outdoor use Mahogany, Cypress, and Western Cedar are the best options for exterior use. Osborne Wood Products also offers Exterior Glue as a service which may be an option for laminates used in exterior situations. Contact Us to discover availability and add this service to your order. Because Osborne does not recommend products for exterior use, we cannot guarantee the longevity or structural stability of your exterior components.

Can I leave my components unfinished?

No. All products must be finished upon receipt.

Osborne Offers Products in:

  • Soft Maple
  • Red Oak
  • Knotty Pine
  • Rubberwood
  • Alder
  • Cherry
  • Hard Maple
  • Mahogany
  • Red Birch
  • Black Walnut
  • Lypus
  • Beech
  • Spanish Cedar
  • Western Red Cedar
  • Knotty Ader
  • White Oak
  • Tiger Maple
  • Heart Pine
  • Douglas Fir
  • Cypress