So, just like the lumberyard map, email your entries to me at [email protected], and to help sort through, put “Vacation Spot” in the subject line. It could be a Shaker village with outstanding furniture, the Giant Sequoias of Northern California or a quirky out-of-the-way museum or shop. This will be put up for public consumption just like the above map – I want everyone to find their lumber and see great woodworking.

The topic of lumber confused me mainly because I couldn’t find a simple summary of the topic. I found a lot of complex discussions with different terms used by different “experts”. I am by no stretch of the imagination a lumber expert, but I’m very good at simplifying complex topics so that everyone can understand. As a result, this is a simple practical guide to help you understand how wood moves, what wood to buy, how to buy it, and where to buy it.
It's good practice to purchase all of your lumber for a project at the same time. By doing this, you can acclimatize all the lumber to the same relative humidity level. More importantly, the wood will likely be of a more consistent appearance. Some woods, cherry in particular, can have extreme changes in colour and figure from one tree to the next. Trying to find a few more boards with the same appearance can be an exercise in frustration. The shopping list ensures that you will purchase enough stock for your project the first time.
Lumber for your projects can come from many sources, but before you can use it to build anything, it must be dry. Lumber that is kiln dried will have a moisture content right out of the kiln of 7 or 8%. However, by the time the lumber is delivered to your local dealer and arrives at your shop, the moisture content may have changed dramatically. Storage conditions between the kiln and your shop are clearly out of your control, so it is always a good idea after purchasing lumber to acclimatize it in your shop for several weeks. To avoid using lumber that is still in the process of adjusting to its new environment it is best to use a moisture meter to verify the moisture content of the wood. Most dealers don't mind customers checking the moisture content at the yard as long as they are using a pinless meter. The meter in my lumber kit uses electromagnetic waves to calculate the moisture content of a given piece of wood. Its use couldn't be simpler or quicker – simply turn it on, enter the species, and place the meter on the wood to be measured. The result is displayed right on the screen instantly without the need for conversion tables and other calculations. Typically, I check a couple of areas on each board as I select them just to confirm they are all in the same moisture range. Back at the shop I once more check each piece of wood and note it in chalk on the board. Every few days I'll recheck the boards, and when the readings have stabilized, I can be reasonably certain there won't be any surprises when I start the milling process.

Solid wood — that is, wood cut into boards from the trunk of the tree — makes up most of the wood in a piece of furniture. The type of wood you choose determines the beauty and strength of the finished piece. Many varieties of wood are available, and each has its own properties. The following sections introduce you to the most common types of soft- and hardwoods.


I’m currently working on a dining room table with this color in mind (I also plan on a coffee table soon). I’ve been testing out stain colors and dark walnut is currently in the lead. I love the way this coffee table turned out in color. How many coats of stain did you use? Also, did the dark wax make a big difference in color? I was planning on using a satin poly for sealant (mostly because it’s what is most convenient and what I’m accustomed to), but I’m interested in the dark wax after seeing this post. Any recommendations you have are much appreciated.

Afrormosia Alder Andiroba Anigre Ash Apple Aspen Avodire Balsa Beech Bilinga Birch African Blackwood Australian Blackwood Boxwood Bubinga Camphor Cedrela Cherry Chestnut Cocobolo Cumaru Ebony Elm Eucalyptus Hazel Hickory Hornbeam Idigbo Imbuia Ipê Iroko Jarra Jelutong Lignum vitae Linden (lime, basswood) Merbau Mahogany (American, African) Maple Meranti Oak Padauk Pear Plum Poplar Purpleheart Ovankol Ramin Red Quebracho Rosewood Rubberwood Sapele Teak Totara Utile Walnut Wenge Willow Zebrano
Often referred to as Douglas Fir, this wood has a straight, pronounced grain, and has a reddish brown tint to it. Fir is most often used for building; however, it’s inexpensive and can be used for some furniture-making as well. It doesn’t have the most interesting grain pattern and doesn’t take stain very well, so it’s best to use it only when you intend to paint the finished product. Douglas fir is moderately strong and hard for a softwood, rating 4 on a scale of 1 to 4.
“Basic,” on the other hand, is a word that allows for growth – and that’s exactly what you want in your woodworking tool kit. You want to be able to take the same kit with you through many years in the craft. With my basic woodworking tools list, I wanted to provide a core set of tools that will serve you well from project to project. I’m especially concerned these days with the transition to hardwood furniture making, as opposed to plywood boxes of various sizes. That’s the transition I’m making right now in my own work!
The campaign features a new customer-focused website, new advertising centered on visually-appealing wood applications, and the launch of Northwest Hardwoods’ Pinterest and Instagram accounts to convey visual ideas and aspirations for the many uses of hardwoods. The campaign offers an opportunity for Northwest Hardwoods to reach out to new audiences including designers, specifiers, architects and OEMs, underscoring the fact that no other building and design material is as visually appealing and as sustainable as timber. Additionally, the campaign includes the creation of product specific communications outreach that will support the company’s sales objectives.
Designed for students interested in becoming contractors or carpenters, this course introduces the process of remodeling a home from start to finish. Coursework provides an opportunity for students to work on construction sites performing carpentry work on various remodeling projects, such as basement or attic conversions or renovations to existing areas. Students learn skills in scheduling, materials estimation, planning and demolition.
All trees share common growth characteristics (annual growth rings, branches, sap, etc.), but these individual characteristics vary widely from one species to another. Different species have marked variations in the characteristics of their wood. For example, ash wood is pale with wide, open grain, while cherry wood is reddish brown with fine, closed grain. It is these variations that give each species its unique characteristics, making them suitable for one job and unsuitable for another. Wood falls into one of two categories, either softwood or hardwood, though it could be argued that the categories might better be labelled "Wood I can afford" and "Wood I can only dream about". Generally, coniferous trees fall into the softwood category, and deciduous into the hardwood. 

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Now it’s time to attach the top of the table. Line up the 1×6 boards and place the frame you built upside down and centered on the boards. Drill 1 1/4″ screws through the supports into each board to secure them to the table. I used regular wood screws for this step originally, but the heads were sinking into the supports and not pulling the top boards down tight like I wanted. So I swapped them out for the Kreg Jig screws, which have washer heads, and they worked like a charm. If you’re having trouble getting those top boards secured tight, I’d try switching to the Kreg Jig screws!

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If you can buy a bunch of tools at one time, you can save a ton on shipping, as the more you buy, the lower the rates. Also, take advantage of free shipping offers. Compare to see where you can get the best deal. Whatever you buy, make sure it is high quality. I have a Nicholson backsaw I bought at a local store before I knew of the woodworking suppliers. It has never been used much, but cuts much slower than saws such as Gramercy or Lie-Nielsen, even though mine have smaller teeth than the Nicholson.

The topic of lumber confused me mainly because I couldn’t find a simple summary of the topic. I found a lot of complex discussions with different terms used by different “experts”. I am by no stretch of the imagination a lumber expert, but I’m very good at simplifying complex topics so that everyone can understand. As a result, this is a simple practical guide to help you understand how wood moves, what wood to buy, how to buy it, and where to buy it.

Somehow I overlook #1, the jointer and thickness planer, and I saw all the other tools and immediately thought that this was my first set of tools I bought when I started working as a carpenter on a friend’s crew. Then I saw my oversight and just couldn’t get over how incongrous those two items were to the rest of the list. Had I seen a scrub plane and a jack plane I would have more harmony in the list.

This woodworking plans project is a Bentwood Coffee Table that is a challenging design for those who would like to try a project which requires wood bending. The contemporary lines combined with traditional natural wood allow this table to fit comforatbly with many other styles of furnishings. The technique for bending the wood does not require any special tools or steaming processes.
Afrormosia Alder Andiroba Anigre Ash Apple Aspen Avodire Balsa Beech Bilinga Birch African Blackwood Australian Blackwood Boxwood Bubinga Camphor Cedrela Cherry Chestnut Cocobolo Cumaru Ebony Elm Eucalyptus Hazel Hickory Hornbeam Idigbo Imbuia Ipê Iroko Jarra Jelutong Lignum vitae Linden (lime, basswood) Merbau Mahogany (American, African) Maple Meranti Oak Padauk Pear Plum Poplar Purpleheart Ovankol Ramin Red Quebracho Rosewood Rubberwood Sapele Teak Totara Utile Walnut Wenge Willow Zebrano
This is the side table version of the stylish project we shared previously. In certain configurations, it could function as a coffee table. It’s a design suitable for small spaces. The wooden top has this hollow storage compartment which is great for keeping things like a book, a magazine, the remote control or the phone when relaxing on the sofa. The hairpin legs give the table a slender look.
From on-time and on-grade products to an unwavering commitment to its customers, Northwest Hardwoods continues to think ahead and lead with high-quality products and approaches to market. The company announced the launch of its new marketing campaign, Lumber Brings Everything to Life at IWF 2018, which unites its two brands – Northwest Hardwoods and the Industrial Timber and Lumber Company (ITL) brand acquired in 2015 – and illustrates the importance, sustainability and natural beauty that lumber holds in each of our daily lives.
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