Woodworking plans and projects often require a specific type of wood. The two different types of wood are softwood and hardwood. Choosing hardwood for a wood project does not mean that the wood is harder than the softwood. Hardwood and softwood designate what kind of tree they come from. A softwood tree is a tree that has seeds without a covering the drop to the ground. For example, a pine tree will drop a pine cone.
A hardwood tree, on the other hand, has a seed with a hard covering such as an acorn. To make it easy to understand which tree is which just remember that hardwood trees lose all of their leaves in the winter while the majority of softwood trees keep their leaves throughout the year. Wood from a hardwood tree is more dense and therefore harder to cut whereas wood from a softwood tree is easier to cut.
When you build an item out of wood it is important to match the project with the wood. For example, a project can be made from a softwood such as cedar, fir, pine, or redwood. If you were to build an outdoor deck, a good choice would be cedar. Cedar can handle a tremendous amount of moisture without rotting. Pine is a softwood that is used for furniture. There are different types of pine such as sugar, white, yellow, and Ponderosa. All of these types of pine are excellent choices when used for carving.
On the hardwood side of the coin, there are woods such as mahogany, cherry, oak, teak, walnut, maple, birch, and ash. Hardwoods are popular choices because they have a greater variety of grain patterns, textures, and colors. Unfortunately, hardwoods are also the more expensive of the wood types. The reason why they are more expensive is because it takes longer for a hardwood tree to grow than a softwood tree.
Hardwoods are very popular for front entry doors and kitchen cabinet doors. Oak is a popular hardwood that is used for furniture building. It comes in either red or white and is easy to work with. It tends to be also resistant to water which makes it a good choice for an outdoor project such as outdoor furniture or a tree house.
Walnut is also easy to work with and it has a very rich color. It is however one of the more expensive cuts of hardwood. Many craftsmen use a piece of walnut as an inlay to enhance other woods in a piece of furniture. Teak is a hardwood that is becoming more and more difficult to locate. It provides a golden color and is gorgeous to look at. Many lumber yards will not carry a complete selection of hardwoods because of their high cost and difficulty to locate.
Therefore, whatever type of wood you have in mind for your next creation you should first decide which type of wood or combination of woods you will be using for your woodworking plans and projects.