posted 5/31/2018 in Kreg Tool Tips: Wood Buying by Kreg Tool Company

Kreg Tool Tips: Wood Buying: Boards

Most home centers have an additional category called “boards.” These are what you’ll turn to for indoor projects that you want to have the best appearance because they look good and are milled with flat surfaces, straight edges, and a better overall appearance. Most home centers carry just a few species of boards, which are explained here. There are other important distinctions in boards, as you’ll see in Softwood vs. Hardwood and Nominal vs. Actual Dimensions.

General Info Common Uses   Pros   Cons

Pine/Whitewood: Home centers carry pine boards in a variety of standard sizes, and in a couple of "grades." "Common" boards have more defects, such as knots, and sell at a lower price. "Select" pine boards have fewer defects and cost more. Some home centers also carry "whitewood" boards, which look like pine but may be any combination of pine, spruce, fir, or several other species that have a similar appearance. 

furniture, home projects, shelving, etc. low cost, reasonably strong, accepts paint or stain, multiple grades available less stable, not as strong as hardwoods, challenging to stain
Oak is a classic American hardwood that is commonly used for building furniture, as well as for creating trim and molding in homes. Oaks has a distinctive grain pattern and a light- to golden-brown color. It can be coated with a clear finish or stained to achieve the look of your desire. furniture, trim, molding, cabinets, home projects attractive, strong, can be stained and finished to a high luster

cost, limited selection in home centers

Maple is a favorite of furniture makers and is also used in cabinetry. This wood has a white to light yellow color and subdued grain. Maple is hard and dense, which can make it challenging to work with. When finished or stained, maple has a beautiful appearance.  furniture, cabinets, home projects attractive, strong, can be stained and finished to a high luster cost, limited selection in home centers
Poplar is a common choice for creating painted trim and molding in homes and is also great for building projects. It doesn't have beauty of oak or maple, but has more density and stability than softwoods, such as pine. Plus, poplar can be stained to mimic the look of costly and less-common hardwoods like cherry, walnut, and mahogany. Poplar is also the easiest to work with of common hardwoods. furniture, trim, molding, cabinets, home projects strong, lower cost than other hardwoods, takes paint well, can be stained limited selection in home centers
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