Timber Descriptionss

Apple (UK)
Ash (UK)
Ash (American White)
Beech (English White)
Beech (European Steamed)
Cherry (American)
Chestnut - sweet (UK & Europe)
Elm (English)
Elm (Europe)
Elm (American Red)
Iroko
Oak (American Red)
Oak (American White)
Oak (English)
Oak (Brown)
Pine (Parana)
Pine (Yellow)
Walnut (African)
Walnut (American Black)
Yew
Zebrano

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Apple (UK)
Heartwood is pinkish to ligh/mid brown, darker in older mature trees. The timber is hard and heavy but can be a little brittle. Grain is straight with a fine even texture. There is little degrade during appropirate kilning, but it can show a tendency towards warping when air dried. An excellent timber for domestic and kitchen items, a delight to turn and carve, also a firm favourite for quality furniture construction.
Workability Machines & turns well works well with hand tools.
Finishing Takes an excellent polish, dyes easily.

 
Ash (UK)
A medium to large tree reaches a hight of 25-30m a diameter of 0.6-1.5m. Heartwood is cream to olive-brown. Large logs often have an olive heart which is irregular and streaked. Sapwood in smaller logs is usually not distinguishable from the heartwood. Straight to wavy grain, coarse texture, very tough and elastic. Dries rapidly with only slight checking.
Workability  Machines and turns well. A very good wood to turn, ideal for     larger bowls
Finishing Takes an excellent polish, Good for colouring effects.

 
Ash (American White)
A light coloured wood, cream to light brown, with a bold, straight grain it is suitable for high class cabinet making, interior joinery as well as most aspects of furniture making, possessing a good resistance to splitting and takes stain well.  Similar to UK timber but tends to be tougher with a coarse, wider grain and a uniform oatmeal colour. This timber in most respects works in the same way as UK Ash but tends to be more consistant in texture, density and colour. An excellent choice for anyone turning their own tool handles.
Workability  Machines & turns well
Finishing Finishes and dyes well.

 
Beech (English White)
English white beech is whitish to light pink in colour. While it is a very good turnery wood, it is also suitable for furniture, cabinet making and various aspects of joinery.

 
Beech (European Steamed)
Steamed Beech has similar uses to English White Beech but it ows its unusual colouring to the way it is steam dried as opposed to kiln dried.  A verypale pink/brown coloured timber, can be darker in timber from older trees. It is very versatile although not recommended for exterior work. Moderately hard and heavy, the medullary rays appear as characteristic darker flecks in a line on the quarter sawn face, it has a straight fine, close grain and even texture. An ecconomical choice of timber for domestic ware cabinetery tool handles etc. Has a slight tendency to cup, warp or twist during machinging due to internal stresses - prone to occur in timber sections especially.
Workability Easy to work
Finishing Finishes well

 
Cherry (American)
Principally from North American, cherry is suitable for a range of uses such as boat building, cabinet making and can easily be turned.  Additionally its nailing and screw holding abilities are good, and it is ideal for carving.  A medium to large tree up to 35m high & 1m dia.  Heartwood is pinkish/mid brown with distinct growth rings. Grain is straight with a fine even texture. There is little degrade during appropriate kilning but it can show a tendancy towards shrinkage. A good timber for domestic and kitchen items, easy to turn and carve, also a firm favourite for quality furniture construction.
Workability Machines and turns well, works well with hand tools.
Finishing Produces a good finish colur depends on ageing

 
Chestnut - sweet (UK & Europe)
Whilst ranging from greyish brown to brown in colour, aging to dark brown, Sweet Chestnut is often scattered with small holes. These are caused by insects who burrow holes throughout the entire tree giving it a popular antique appearance.  The timber is a pale brown colour similar to Oak but with a grain pattern more like Ash. It has a coarse texture and the grain varies from straight to spiral. Drying can be difficult with a tendancy to collapse and honeycomb but when dry shows litttle movement. Its acid nature will cause corrosion on ferrous metals it contacts and iron stains can be found on the timber if left in contact with iron compounds in damp conditions.
Workability  Easy to work with hand or power tools.
Finishing Takes a good finish and polishes well.

 
Elm (English)
Commonly used in areas such as cabinet making, flooring, and boat building, English Elm is typically a dull brown in colour, its grain can be described as close and irregular which produces an attractive figure.

 
Elm (Europe)
Ten species of Elm grow in Europe including English, Dutch and Wych Elm. The trees are large, up to 40m high. The timber varies in colour and figure from the straight grained Wych Elm with its distinctive wide sapwood and green streaks, to the Dutch Elm with a heavy dull reddish brown figure. It requires careful seasoning and is not truly stable when dry. Coarse textured.
Workability Machines and saws well, turns easily
Finishing Takes a good finish.

 
Elm (American Red)
A light brown to brown wood with a redish tinge. American Red elm is commonly used for cabinet work, furniture and turnery, and it works fairly easily in most wood working conditions.

 
Iroko
This is comparable to teak in its uses and its straight/hardness with its suitability ranging from boat building and interior/exterior joinery, where machining properties such as planing, turning, moulding and boring are all said to be good.  Dark brown, relatively coarse textured timber with some irregular and interlocked grain, it is often used as a substitute for Teak which it visually resembles. Has a slightly oily feel when machined. Dust produced during cutting and sanding can cause irritation - avoid inhalation. Used for outdoor furniture as a substitute for less sustainable timbers.
Workability  Machines & turnes well, very durable.
Finishing Takes a reasonable finish.

 
Oak (American Red)
Red Oak is regarded as one of the most beautiful woods to work with because of its grain pattern and character. Red Oak is suitable for turning and steam bending.

 
 
Oak (American White)
Grown throughout the United States and Canada, American White Oak is widely regarded as having excellent boring ,mortising and screwing characteristics.  These make it suitable for stair rails, veneering, and cabinet making.

 
Oak (English)
Similar in qualities to American White Oak, English Oak is suitable for furniture and doors, being hardwearing and tough. It is a light tan to dark brown in colour with the wood structure and quality dependent upon the growth conditions.  A rich light brown in colour, it is very hard and strong. Usually straight grained but irregular or cross grained material can sometimes occur. Large medullary rays give an attractive silver grain figuring when quarter sawn. Haardens and darkens with age. Dries very slowly with a tendency to split and check, thicker sections are prone to honeycombing during kilning. Reasonably stable in small section, large sections can warp. Its acidic nature will cause corrosion in ferrous metals in contact.
Workability  Saws and machines moderately well, good to work on the lathe
Finishing Takes waxing, liming, fuming and polishing well.

 
Oak (Brown)
Growing trees are sometimes attacked by the ‘Beefsteak’ fungus which enters the tree through a wound. The tree remains essentially healthy but the heart wood is stained a rich dark brown. Much valued for furniture making and turnery alike.
Workability As for Oak
Finishing As for Oak

 
Pine (Parana)
Native to Argentina, and Paraguay, it is especially prevalent in the state of Parana, Brazil - from where it takes its name. Many small, tight knots, which are often present add to the beauty of the wood without affecting its uses or properties.

 
Pine (Yellow)
Similar in many ways to Douglas Fir, Yellow Pine is native across southeastern states in the United States, ranging from New Jersey, down to Florida and across to Texas.  It is commonly used for Panelling, tool handles and toy making.

 
Walnut (African)
Not a true walnut, this is a large tree up to 30m high and 1.2m dia. Heartwood is a golden brown colour with gum lines causing occasional black lines or streaks. Grain is interlocked sometimes giving a ribbon figure on quarter sawn surfaces. Moderately fine texture, dries rapidly but care is required to prevent shakes.
Workability Works well with machine or hand tools, easy to turn.
Finishing Stains and polishes to a good finish

 
Walnut (American Black)
Varying from a light grayish brown to a deep chocolate, American Black Walnut offers good resistance to insect and fungai attack. In addition, turning and boring qualities are both good and it is a popular wood for decorative veneer.  A tall tree up to 50m high and 1.2m dia.  Heartwood is rich dark brown, darkening over time, with darker bands and stripes. Sapwood is light gray-brown. Grain generally straight but some wavy or curly grain present. A tough timber but texture is rather coarse. Dries slowly with a tendency to honeycomb. A famed timber cropped young.
Workability Saws, planes and turns very well
Finishing Finishes very well

 
Yew
With its deep orange brown heartwood Yew has an unusual and distinctive grain. Often used for exceptionally decorative veneers, it is suitable for panelling, and cabinet making. Also yew has a high natural resistance to attack by decay fungi.  Botanically a softwood but tough and very dense.  Heartwood colour is golden orange brown streaked with purplish tints, stripes and spots. Sapwood is distinctive off white. Grain is straight but sometimes curly and irregular. Veins, knots, heart shake, ingrown bark all contribute to most attractive figuring.  Dries rapidly with little degrade although care is necessary to prevent shakes.
Workability  Machining easy, Turns well.
Finishing Can be polished to a beautiful finish.

 
Zebrano
A very high tree up to 45m high and 2m dia. Heartwood is light golden yellow with darn brown to black streaks and veining.  It has a decorative zebra-stripe appearance on quarter sawn surfaces. Sapwood is wide, grey-white in colour. Interlocked or wavy grain produces aalternating hard and soft material which is difficult to machine. Has a coarse texture and lustous surface. Dries slowly, care needed to minimise surface check, splits and distortion.
Workability  Difficult to saw & plane but works well on the lathe.
Finishing Finishes to a good polish.


Compiled March 2000