Not everyone can be a master woodworker, but it is helpful to understand the basics of wood species when you're shopping for furniture. Following are samples and descriptions of some of the most popular woods: Cherry: A strong hardwood with a straight, closed grain and a satiny smooth texture. In it's natural state, it has a pinkish hue and stains beautifully with a red to brown finish.
Maple: A closed grain and creamy white color are characteristics of this dense, strong wood. Beautiful in it's natural state, also stains well. Great for cabinetry.
Oak: One of the strongest hardwoods, oak has a distinctive grain and has either a natural red or yellow color. Very commonly used in craftsman style furniture.
Pine: A lightweight, soft wood with a fine grain and characteristic knots. Not receptive to darker stains, pine is best used natural or with a painted finish.
Mahogany: A tight grain with ribbons of color ranging from dark red to deep reddish browns. Very durable and strong, mahogany finishes beautifully both natural and with stain.
Walnut: Tough and dense, this tight-grained wood polishes to a smooth, natural finish. Because of its attractive grain and beautiful color, it is a prized furniture and carving wood.