Species of wood and their charecteristics

Species of wood

Oak – Quercus

oakOaks are a large group of strong and widely spread bushes and trees that grow up to 40 meters tall. There are about 600 species of oak native to the Northern Hemisphere, and they are keystone species in many habitats. Due to its strength and resistanceto biological breakdown oaks have been a significant source of building materials as well as food stocks for humans since prehistory, and remain a significant resource of many modern economies. Many fine wines and whiskeys are matured in oak caskets, and many great oak ships has crossed the oceans. Oak has a characteristic grain pattern and patinates beautifully.

Ash – Fraxinus

ashAsh is a small group of about 50 species of medium to large trees widely spread across Europe, South East Asia and North America. It has an open growth and is mostly found in mixed forests. They get up to 35 meters tall.  Ash is a bright wood with clearly pronounced grain patterns. The ash wood is very strong and rigid, and it is commonly used for making tools like hammers, axes or shovels. It is very bendable and is excellent for steam bending and pre-compression.

New species have been specifically bred to be resistant to the ash dieback that has become an increasing problem in North Europe.

Maple – Acer

mapleMaples are a diverse and versatile group of trees beloved especially for the colours of their autumn leaves.  They are commonly recognisable by the whirlybird fruits. There are almost 200 species of maples ranging from bushes to trees that grow up to 45 meters tall. They thrive in the high altitudes of the Himalayas, to

the rainforests of South East Asia, to rocky cliffs in the Mediterranean and the edge of swamps in North America. The maple wood is delicate and bright with subtle grain patterns. It is a tone wood widely used in the making of string instruments and drums. Maple is hard and dense and is excellent for furniture making.

Cherry – Prunus Avium

cherryCherry is a member of the Prunus family and is related to plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots and almonds. Cherry is a fast growing tree. Each branch can grow more than one meter every year. However, cherries seldom get taller than 30 meters.

Cherry is a tone wood and is used for making instruments. It also has a sweat flavour that is utilised in wine and licqeur making. Cherry wood is deep redish brown with distinguished grains and colour nuances that vary significantly from tree to tree

The Schiang guide to solid wood