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Wood Species In Detail – Miscellaneous & Specialty Woods

At Osborne Wood Products, we supply the cabinet and furniture trade with the highest quality decorative wood components. Naturally, we work hard to source the highest quality wood possible. In an effort to better help our hobbyist and DIY customers make the right choice in which wood types to use in their projects, we are introducing a new blog series in which we go into detail discussing our various wood types and answering any common questions our customers may have.

A cross section of the growth rings of a mature western red cedar tree.

By this point in our series, we’ve gone over just about every stock wood species we have available. However, we do regularly get a few additional wood types as custom items only that we wanted to cover in this series, as well.

Last in our list of stock wood species are the two specialty varieties of cedar we offer: Spanish and western red.

Spanish cedar is a freshly cut heartwood native to Central and South America that is a pinkish to a reddish brown upon cutting that becomes a red or dark reddish brown upon exposure. This wood is coarse and not very dense, with a Janka hardness scale rating of 600. The grain is straight or shallowly interlocked with a medium texture and a natural luster.

Spanish cedar is easy to work, both by hand and with machinery, but due to its low density, it may not sand evenly, requiring extra sanding with finer grits to get that smooth surface. Additionally, Spanish cedar presents an extra challenge due to natural gum pockets. These pockets can remain wet and may ooze, which can clog blades and make finishing a challenge.

Unfortunately, due to exploitation, Spanish cedar is considered a vulnerable species, and some Central American countries have voluntarily chosen to control the exportation of its lumber. Because of this, it’s one of our specialty woods and typically has a large price tag.

Western red cedar is the least dense wood we offer. It scores a 350 on the Janka scale, and is the only wood we offer that’s less dense than knotty pine (score of 380). It is considered one of the world’s most durable woods, though it lacks in strength. Despite this, it has twice the stability of most commonly available softwoods.

Western red cedar’s heartwood is a reddish to pinkish brown, sometimes with random streaks or bands of darker red or brown, while the sapwood is a pale yellowish-white color. It has a straight grain and a uniform medium to coarse texture. It’s also considered one of the easiest woods to work with. Additionally, while we don’t recommend any of our products for outdoor use, western red cedar is one of the best options among our choices.

While western red cedar can be moderately inexpensive for construction-grade lumber, higher grades like the ones we source come with a much higher price tag. The quality of our western red cedar makes it one of our most expensive wood species available.

Now that we’ve covered all of our stock wood types, there are three additional wood types available only as customs left to go over.

Teak is a moderately dense wood, with a Janka hardness scale score of 1070. The heartwood tends to be a golden or medium brown and darkens with age. The grain is often straight and it has a coarse, uneven texture. Raw, unfinished teak has a slightly oily or greasy feel due to the wood’s natural oils, though this does not have a huge impact on its ability to glue and finish well. Teak is a very expensive wood type, and this is often attributed to its extremely high resistance to rot and decay.

Typical cypress forest in Everglades National Park, Florida

Cypress, found along the Atlantic Coastal Plain from Delaware to Florida, is noted for its color consistency, density, hardness (570 on the Janka hardness scale), and relative lack of knots. It has a predominantly yellow tone with reddish, chocolate, or olive hues. It also has oils in the heartwood that make it very durable. Cypress is a notably sturdy wood, as well, and while we do not recommend any of our products for exterior use, cypress is one of the best options among our choices due to its natural properties.

Finally, Douglas fir (also known as Oregon pine) is a light, rosy colored wood that reddens over time. It has a tight-knotted and close-grained wood with a high degree of stiffness. Douglas fir is a relatively low-density wood, scoring a 660 on the Janka hardness scale. It finishes well, holding all types of paints, stains, and finishes.

All of our wood types are sorted into a Traditional, Premium, or Specialty selection. If available as an option, you can find Spanish cedar and western red cedar in the Specialty selection.

Additionally, if you’re interested in getting a part made in one of these woods, you can contact us for a custom quote by filling out our online form, emailing info@osbornewood.com, or calling 800-849-8876 and speaking with a representative today.

Check out the links below to read more in-depth about all the other wood types we offer:

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