Hardwood Species Gallery

ASH WHITE Ash_White_SpeciesTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Domestic

Appearance

Color: Heartwood is light tan to dark brown; sapwood is creamy white. Similar in appearance to white oak, but frequently more yellow.

Grain: Bold, straight, moderately open grain with occasional wavy figuring. Can have strong contrast in grain in plain sawn boards.

Variations: Within Species And Grades: Sometimes confused with hickory; the zone of large pores is more distinctive in ash, similar to that of red oak.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Good machining qualities.

Sanding: Sands satisfactorily if the correct sanding sequence is followed.

Nailing: No known problems.

Finishing: May be difficult to stain

Properties

Hardness/Janka:1320; 2% harder than Northern red oak.

Dimensional Stability:Above average (7.8; 9% more stable than Northern red oak)

Availability
Readily available. Origin North America

BAMBOO Bamboo_SpeciesTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Imported

Appearance

Color: Typically available in light (manila/yellow tones) or dark (tannish brown) shades. Colors vary between manufacturers.

Grain: Distinctive grain pattern shows nodes from the bamboo stalks.

Variations: Within Species And Grades: Available either horizontally or vertically laminated. Horizontal construction tends to show nodes more prominently.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Cuts easily with most tools

Sanding: Due to its unique, fibrous structure, bamboo should not be sanded across the grain or at at 45-degree angle to the grain. Its light color tends to show swirl marks, other sanding marks & finish imperfections, much as a light maple floor can.

Nailing: No known problems.

Finishing: All surface-type finishes have been used successfully with bamboo. Darker colors may tend to show lap marks-moving quickly during application and applying finish quickly around cut-in areas can minimize this effect. Filling is recommended.

Comments Most available factory-finished. Because product is rigid, careful attention should be payed to flatness of sub floor. Origin: Asia. Majority made in China with some from Vietnam.

Properties

Hardness/Janka: Bamboo is a grass. Janka values vary widely between various manufacturers & between horizontal & vertical construction.

Dimensional Stability: Engineered construction

Availability
Readily available.

BEECHBeech_SpeciesTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Domestic

Appearance

Color: Heartwood is mostly reddish brown; sapwood is generally pale white.

Grain: Mostly closed, straight grain; fine, uniform texture. Coarser than European beach.

Variations: Within Species And Grades: Only one species is native to the United States. Moderate to high color variation between boards.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Difficult to work with hand tools, but good machining qualities.

Sanding: Sands satisfactorily if correct sanding sequence is followed.

Nailing: Has a tendency to split the tongues.

Finishing: May be difficult to stain

Properties

Hardness/Janka: Janka Hardness: 1300 (1% harder than Northern red oak.

Dimensional Stability: Below average (11.9%; 38% less stable than Northern red oak).

Availability
Moderately available. Origin North America

BIRCHBirch_SpeciesTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Domestic

Appearance

Color: In yellow birch (B. alleghaniensis), sapwood is creamy yellow pale while; heartwood is light reddish brown tinged with red. In sweet birch (B. lenta), sapwood is light colored and heartwood is dark brown tinged with red.

Grain: Medium figuring, straight, closed grain, even texture. Occasional curly grain or wavy figure in some boards.

Variations: Within Species And Grades: Yellow birch, sweet birch, paper birch. Paper birch (B. papyrifera) is softer and lower in weight and strength than yellow or sweet birch. However, yellow birch is most commonly used for flooring. Boards can vary greatly in grain and color.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Difficult to work with hand tools, but good machining qualities.

Sanding: Sands satisfactorily if correct sanding sequence is followed.

Nailing: No known problems.

Finishing: May be difficult to stain. Comments: Origin: North America

Properties

Hardness/Janka: Janka:1260 (yellow); 2% softer than Northern red oak.

Dimensional Stability: Average (Yellow: 9.5; 10% less stable than Northern red oak).

BLACK WALNUTBlackWalnut Top portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Domestic

Appearance

Color: Heartwood ranges from a deep, rich dark brown to a purplish black. Sapwood is nearly white to tan. Difference between heartwood and sapwood color is great; some flooring manufacturers steam lumber to bleed the darker heartwood color into the sapwood.

Grain: Mostly straight and open, but some boards have burled or curly grain. Arrangements of pores is similar to hickories and persimmon, but pores are smaller in size.

Variations Within Species And Grades: Great variety of color and figure within species, as well as variation in color among boards, especially in lower grades and from material that isn’t steamed prior to kiln-drying.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Excellent machining qualities.

Sanding: Sands satisfactorily.

Nailing: No known problems.

Finishing: No known finish problems.

Comments Frequently used as a highlight material for borders or other inlay techniques. Origin: North America

Properties

Hardness/Janka:Janka: 1010; (22% softer than Northern red oak).

Dimensional Stability: Average (7.8; 9% more stable than Northern red oak).

Durability: Moderately dense, very strong, good shock resistance. Not as dent-resistant as oak.

Availability
Moderately available.

BRAZILIAN CHERRY BrazilianCherryTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Imported

Appearance

Color: Sapwood is gray-white; heartwood is salmon red to orange-brown when fresh, and becomes russet or reddish brown when seasoned; often marked with dark streaks.

Grain: Mostly interlocked; texture is medium to rather coarse.

Variations Within Species And Grades: Moderate to high color variation.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Sawing is difficult due to high density; requires frequent resharpening of tools. Planing is difficult due to interlocked grain. Can be machined to a smooth surface. Carbide tooling recommended.

Sanding: Scratches are easily seen. Each sanding must carefully remove the scratches from the previous cut, or sanding marks will be visible in the finish.

Nailing: Due to hardness it is very important that the angle of penetration be adjusted carefully. If using a pneumatic nail gun, the air pressure should be adjusted.

Finishing: Coating with oil-modified polyurethane may occasionally cause white spots or specks, as well as white end joints, to appear. This may be avoided by buffing in a clear oil sealer or neutral stain, then buffing on satin polyurethane.

Comments Origin: South America

Properties

Hardness/Janka: Comments Origin: South America

Dimensional Stability: Average (8.5; 1% more stable than Northern red oak). However, actual installations have shown significant movement. Longer-than-normal acclimation time is recommended.

Availability
Readily available.

BRAZILIAN MAPLEBrazilianMaple
Top portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Imported

Appearance

Color: Pale cream to yellow cream; no contrast between sapwood and heartwood.

Grain: Straight, fine, uniform.

Variations Within Species And Grades: Lower grades may have darker tan/brown colors.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Works cleanly; requires a wide set for ripping; very hard on router bits.

Sanding: Sands satisfactorily if correct sanding sequence is followed.

Nailing: No known problems.

Finishing: Takes finish very well. May be difficult to stain.

Comments Origin: South America

Properties

Hardness/Janka: 1500 (16% harder than Northern red oak).

Dimensional Stability: Average (8.8; 2% less stable than Northern red oak). Very sensitive to moisture fluctuations.

Availability
Moderately available.

BRAZILIAN WALNUTBrazilianWalnutTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Imported

Appearance

Color: Can vary from light yellowish tan with green overtones to almost blackish brown; exhibits a large range of coloration when freshly milled; darkens over time to medium to dark brown.

Grain: Fine to medium, straight to very irregular.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Difficult, especially with hand tools.

Sanding: Difficult. This wood is dense and oily. Scratches are easily seen – each sanding must carefully remove the scratches from the previous cut, or sanding marks will be visible in the finish.

Nailing: Pre drilling and hand-nailing may be preferred.

Finishing: Test all products before using them on the actual floor. Oil-modified finish will require a lengthy dry time.

Comments Often used as a decking material. Has been known to cause contact dermatitis.

Origin: South America

Properties

Hardness/Janka: Janka:3680; (185% harder than Northern Red Oak).

Dimensional Stability: Average (8.0; 7% more stable than Northern red oak).

Availability
Readily available.

BUBINGABubinga
Top portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Imported

Appearance

Color: Pink, red or red/brown with purple streaks or veins; changes from pinkish rose when freshly milled to burgundy red when aged

Grain: Fine; straight or interlocked, can be highly figured.

Variations: Quartered exhibits flame figure; flat sawn has rosewood graining.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Saws and planes well.

Sanding: Sands satisfactorily if the correct sanding sequence is followed.

Nailing: Tends to split tongues. Pre drilled and hand-nailing may be preferred.

Finishing: Test all products before using them on actual floor. Oil-modified finished will require a lengthy dry time.

Comments Origin: Africa

Properties

Hardness/Janka: 2690 (109% harder than Northern red oak)

Dimensional Stability: Average (8.4; 2% more stable than Northern red oak.

CHERRY BLACKCherry BlackTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Domestic

Appearance

Color: Heartwood is light to dark reddish brown, lustrous; sapwood is light brown to pale with a light pinkish tone. Some flooring manufacturers steam lumber to bleed the darker heartwood color into the sapwood, resulting in a more uniform color. Color darkens

Grain: Fine, frequently wavy, uniform texture. Distinctive flake pattern on true quarter sawn surfaces. Texture is satiny, with some gum pockets.

Variations: Significant color variation between boards.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Good machining qualities.

Sanding: Sands satisfactorily if the correct sanding sequence is followed.

Nailing: No known problems.

Finishing: No known problems.

Comments Origin: North America

Properties

Hardness/Janka: 950; 26% softer than Northern red oak.

Dimensional Stability: Above average (7.1; 17% more stable than Northern red oak)

CORKCorkTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Domestic

Appearance

Color: Varies from light to dark; many colors available depending on manufacturer

Grain: Distinctive look unlike wood – cork is actually the bark of a type of oak.

Variations: Many patterns available depending on manufacturer.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Cork may be cut with a utility knife

Sanding: Use the finest grit possible to flatten the floor. The following sequences are recommended for use only with a multi-disc sander or a hard plate on a buffer. If the edger is used, fine sandpaper (100/120/150) should be backed with a maroon pad.

Nailing: Cork is installed using adhesive

Finishing: All surface-type finishes are successfully used on cork (choose a finish that will bend as the cork compresses). Oil-and-wax also is used frequently.
Comments Pay particular attention to sub floor preparation, as cork is very sensitive to moisture, and also transfers any imperfections in the sub floor to the surface appearance.

Origin: Spain and Portugal

Properties

Hardness/Janka: Varies

Dimensional Stability: Cork reacts quickly, sometimes within hours, to changes in moisture. (Typical dimensional stability measurements do not apply to cork’s composite construction).

CUMARUCumaru
Top portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Domestic

Appearance

Color:At first, red-brown or purple-brown with light yellow-brown or purple streaks, after exposure uniform light brown or yellow-brown.

Grain: Fine texture, interlocked, waxy or oily feel.

Variations: With dramatic shading that mellows as the floors matures

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Works well, but is very hard – use carbide blades and bits.

Sanding: Scratches are easily seen – each sanding. Suggested Sequence:
First Cut: 36 or 40
Second Cu: 50 or 60
Third Cut: 80
Hard Plate: 100
Screen: 80, then 100

Nailing: Pre drilling and hand-nailing is preferred.

Finishing: Test all products before using them on the actual floor. Oil-modified finishes may not dry if standard procedures are followed. Moisture-cure urethane, conversion varnish, or water base finishes are generally more successful.

Comments Has been known to cause contact dermatitis.

Properties

Hardness/Janka: 3540; 174% harder than Northern red oak

Dimensional Stability: Average (7.6; 7% more stable than red oak).

Availability

Moderately available.

CYPRESSCypressTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Imported

Appearance

Color: Cream-colored sapwood; heartwood is honey-gold to brown with darker knots throughout.

Grain: Closed.

Variations: High degree of color variability.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Good machining qualities.

Sanding: Tendency to clog paper due to high resin content. Hard plating & screening may leave swirls; screening more than twice may be necessary. The knots are extremely hard & may cause wave in the floor. a 12-by-18 inch oscillating sander is recommended as the

Nailing: Can be brittle (like Brazilian cherry); splits easily.

Finishing: Knots may cause drying problems with some finishes.
Comments Potential for respiratory/allergic reactions. Origin: Australia

Properties

Hardness/Janka: Janka:1375; (7% harder than Northern red oak.

Dimensional Stability: Excellent (change coefficient .00162; 56% more stable than red oak). However, actual installations have demonstrated significant movement in use.

Durability: Excellent (2.8; 67% more stable than Northern red oak). However, actual installations have demonstrated significant movement

Availability
Readily available.

DOUGLAS FIRDouglasFir Top portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Domestic

Appearance

Color: Heartwood is yellowish tan to light brown. Sapwood is tan to white. Heartwood may be confused with that of Southern yellow pine. Radical color change upon exposure to sunlight.

Grain: Normally straight, with occasional wavy or spiral texture. Nearly all fir flooring is vertical-grain or rift sawn clear-grade material.

Variations: Wood varies greatly in weight and strength. Young trees of moderate to rapid growth have reddish heartwood and are called red fir. The narrow-ringed wood of old trees may be yellowish-brown and is known as yellow fir.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Harder to work with hand tools than the soft pines.

Sanding: Sands satisfactorily if the correct sanding sequence is followed.

Nailing: Has a tendency to split the tongues.

Finishing: Some boards develop a slight pinkish to bright salmon color when finished with some products. Because of tendency toward color change, care must be taken to avoid over sanding when refinishing an existing floor. May be difficult to stain.

Comments Origin: North America

Properties

Hardness/Janka:660; (49% softer than Northern red oak).

Dimensional Stability: Above average (7.3; 15% more stable than Northern red oak)

Availability

Readily available.

HICKORY PECANHickory_PecanTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Domestic

Appearance

Color: Pecan heartwood is reddish brown with dark brown stripes; sapwood is white or creamy white with pinkish tones. Hickory heartwood is tan or reddish; sapwood is white to cream, with fine brown lines.

Grain: Pecan is open, occasionally wavy or irregular. Hickory is closed, with moderate definition; somewhat rough-textured.

Variations: In both hickory and pecan, there are often pronounced differentiations in color between spring wood and summer wood. In pecan, sapwood is usually graded higher than darker heartwood. Pecan and hickory are traditionally mixed by flooring mills.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Hickory’s density makes it difficult to machine and work with hand tools.

Sanding: Difficult to sand because of density, and because light color makes sander markers show more than on darker woods.

Nailing: Has a tendency to split the tongues.

Finishing: May be difficult to stain

Comments Origin: North America

Properties

Hardness/Janka:1820; (41% harder than Northern red oak). Pecan is slightly softer than true hickories.

Dimensional Stability: Pecan, average (8.9; 3% less stable than Northern red oak.

Availability

Readily available.

IROKOIroko Top portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Imported

Appearance

Color: Light to medium brown when newly installed; has a significant color change and turns to brown/dark brown over time.

Grain: Interlocked medium to coarse texture.

Variations: Dramatic difference between quarter sawn and flat sawn products.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Somewhat stringy – may split and splinter when re sanding or ripping.

Sanding: No known problems.

Nailing: No known problems.

Finishing: Staining and/or bleaching this species may be difficult. No finish compatibility problems are known.

Comments Dust is known to cause both contact dermatitis and respiratory reactions.

Origin: Africa

Properties

Hardness/Janka: 1260 (2% softer than Northern red oak).

Dimensional Stability: Excellent (3.8; 66% more stable than Northern red oak).

Availability

Moderately available.

JARRAHJarrahTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Imported

Appearance

Color: Heartwood is uniformly pinkish to dark red, often a rich, dark red mahogany hue, turning a deep brownish red with age and exposure; sapwood is pale. Frequent black streaks with occasional ingrown grain.

Grain: Frequently interlocked or wavy. Texture is even and moderately coarse.

Variations: Moderate to high color variation

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Difficult to work because of high density and irregular grain; carbide tooling recommended.

Sanding: Sands well, but dust can stain fabric and wall treatments.

Nailing: No known problems.

Finishing: Red color can bleed into some finishes – a problem when mixing species.

Comments Resistant to termites and fungus.

Origin: Australia

Properties

Hardness/Janka: 1910; (48% harder than Northern red oak).

Dimensional Stability:Below average (11.0; 28% less stable than Northern red oak).

Availability

Moderately available.

MAHOGANYMahoganyTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Imported

Appearance

Color: Dark reddish brown.

Grain: Striped figuring in quarter sawn selections; texture is even and very fine.

Variations Within Species And Grades: Moderate color variation

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Moderately difficult due to hardness; carbide tooling recommended.

Sanding: Sands satisfactorily.

Nailing: No known problems.

Finishing: Oil residue may be a problem. This can be eliminated by wiping with the appropriate 100% pure (not recycled) solvent before the sealer is applied.
Comments Some respiratory/allergic reaction potential.

Origin: South America

Properties

Hardness/Janka: Janka:2200; (71% harder than Northern red oak).

Dimensional Stability: Above average (6.2; 28% more stable than red oak).

Availability

Readily available.

MAPLE SUGAR HARDMaple_HardTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Imported

Appearance

Color: Heartwood is creamy white to light reddish brown; sapwood is pale to creamy white.

Grain: Closed, subdued grain, with medium figuring and uniform texture. Occasionally shows quilted, fiddle back, curly or bird’s-eye figuring. Figured boards often culled during grading and sold at a premium.

Variations Within Species And Grades: Black maple (B. nigrum) is also hard; other species are classified as soft.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Density makes machining difficult.

Sanding: Extra care must be taken during sanding and finishing, as sanding marks and finish lines are more obvious due to maple’s density and light color. The species also burnishes, dulling fine paper and screens and making it difficult to cut out previous scrap

Nailing: No known problems.

Finishing: Takes neutral finish well; May be difficult to stain.

Comments High resistance to termites.

Origin: Southeast Asia

Properties

Hardness/Janka: Janka: 1450; (12% harder than Northern red oak).

Dimensional Stability: Average (9.9; 15% less stable than red oak).

Availability

Easily available. Figured grains have limited availability.

MERBEAUMerbeauTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Imported

Appearance

Color: Heartwood is yellowish to orange-brown when freshly cut, turning brown or dark red- brown upon exposure.

Grain: Straight to interlocked or wavy; coarse texture.

Variations Within Species And Grades: Moderate to high variation in color.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Sawing is difficult; wood gums saw teeth and dulls cutting edges; carbide tooling recommended.

Sanding: Sands satisfactorily if correct sanding sequence is followed.

Nailing: No known problems.

Finishing: Takes neutral finish well. May be difficult to stain.

Comments High resistance to termites.

Origin: Southeast Asia

Properties

Hardness/Janka: Janka:1925; (49% harder than Northern red oak).

Dimensional Stability: Janka:1925; (49% harder than Northern red oak).

Availability

Moderately available.

MESQUITEMesquite
Top portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Domestic

Appearance

Color: Light brown to dark reddish brown.

Grain: High in character, with ingrown bark and mineral streaks. Most commonly used in flooring as end-grain block, which has small irregular cracks radiating across the grain.

Variations Within Species And Grades: One grade; moderate color variations.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Very good machining qualities.

Sanding: Plain sawn can be sanded to a smooth surface. End-grain requires a coarser abrasive to flatten; it is recommended that it be flattened by sanding at a 45-degree angle to the grain.

Nailing: Splits tongues easily.

Finishing: No known problems.

Comments End-grain block usage results in a hard, high-wear surface. Produces only shorter-length boards.

Properties

Hardness/Janka: Janka: 2345; (82% HARDER than Northern red oak).

Dimensional Stability: Excellent (3.2; 63% more stable than Northern red oak).

Availability

Origin: North America

PINE ANTIQUE HEARTPine Antique HeartTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Domestic

Appearance

Color: Heartwood is yellow after cutting & turns deep pinkish tan to warm reddish brown within weeks due to high resin content. Sapwood remains yellow, with occasional blue-black sap stain.

Grain: Dense, with high figuring. Plain sawn is swirled; rift- or quarter sawn is primarily pinstriped. Curly or burl grain is rare.

Variations Within Species And Grades: Moderate color variation.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Good machining and hand-tooling qualities.

Sanding: Tendency to clog paper due to high resin content; Abrasives will need to be changed frequently during sanding. Beginning with a coarse grade is recommended.

Nailing: No known problems.

Finishing: May be difficult to stain. To reduce the wood’s tendency to repel finish coats, surface resins may be removed with a 100% pure (not recycled) solvent that is compatible with the finish to be used. Do not use water.

Comments Origin: North America. Often recovered from structural timers in pre-1900 warehouses & factories, or as sunken logs from river bottoms.

Properties

Hardness/Janka: Janka:1225; (5% softer than Northern red oak).

Dimensional Stability: Values can vary greatly due to the variety of species and ages used.

Availability

Limited

PINE SOUTHERN YELLOWPine SouthernYellowTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Heartwood is vivid reddish orange when freshly cut, darkening to reddish- or purple- brown or black over time. Sapwood is cream-colored. Very uniform in color.

Appearance

Color: Heartwood varies from light yellow/orange to reddish brown or yellowish brown; sapwood is light tan to yellowish white.

Grain: Closed, with high figuring; patterns range from clear to knotty.

Variations Within Species And Grades: Longleaf pine (P. palustris), shortleaf pine (P. echinata), loblolly pine (P. taedo), slash pine (P. elliottii). All have many of the same characteristics as Douglas fir

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Good machining qualities.

Sanding: Resin in wood tends to clog abrasives; frequent sandpaper changes are required.

Nailing: Good holding ability and resistance to splitting.

Finishing: A durable finish can help minimize wear.

Comments Origin: North America

Properties

Hardness/Janka: Loblolly and shortleaf 690, 47% softer than Northern red oak; longleaf 870, 33% softer than Northern red oak.

Dimensional Stability: Above average (change coefficient .00265; 28% more stable than red oak).

Durability: Soft, fairly durable, although not as resistant to scuffs, dents and abrasions as the hardwoods. Often used for flooring, but may not be suitable for all applications due to its softness.

Availability

Easily available.

PUDAUKPudaukTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Imported

Appearance

Color: Heartwood is vivid reddish orange when freshly cut, darkening to reddish- or purple- brown or black over time. Sapwood is cream-colored. Very uniform in color.

Grain: Straight to interlocked; coarse texture.

Variations Within Species And Grades: Slight variation in color.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Saws well, but requires a slow feed rate; carbide tooling recommended. Machines easily, with some tearing of the interlocked grain.

Sanding: Sands satisfactorily.

Nailing: No known problems.

Finishing: Because of the oil in the wood, oil-modified finishes may require long dry times. Waterborne finishes are often recommended. Has a tendency to bleed. Conversion varnishes also have been known to work well.

Comments Dermatological and respiratory allergic potential.

Origin: Africa

Properties

Hardness/Janka: 1725; (34% harder than Northern red oak).

Dimensional Stability: Excellent (5.2; 40% more stable than Northern red oak).

Availability

Moderately available.

PURPLEHEARTPurpleheartTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Imported

Appearance

Color: Heartwood is brown when freshly cut, turning deep purple to purplish brown over time. Sapwood is a lighter cream color.

Grain: Usually straight; medium to fine texture. Presence of minerals in some boards may cause uneven coloration.

Variations Within Species And Grades: Moderate to high color variation.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Moderately difficult due to hardness; frequent sharpening of tools required; slow feed rate and carbide tooling recommended.

Sanding: Moderately difficult.

Nailing: Good holding ability.

Finishing: Takes finishes well; some have found that water-based finishes hold color better. Tendency to bleed with some finishes.
Comments

Origin: North America

Properties

Hardness/Janka: 2890, (124% harder than Northern red oak.

Dimensional Stability: Above average (6.1; 29% more stable than Northern red oak).

Availability

Limited.

RED OAKRedOakTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Domestic

Appearance

Color: Heartwood and sapwood are similar, with sapwood lighter in color; most pieces have a reddish tone. Slightly redder than white oak.

Grain: Open, slightly coarser (more porous) than white oak. Plain sawn boards have a plumed or flared grain appearance; rift sawn has a tighter grain pattern, low figuring; quarter sawn has a flake pattern, sometimes called tiger rays or butterflies.

Variations Within Species And Grades: Over 200 subspecies in North America; great variation in color and grain, depending on the origin of the wood and differences in growing seasons. Northern, Southern and Appalachian red oak can all be divided into upland and lowland species.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Above average in all machining operations.

Sanding: Sands satisfactorily if the correct sanding sequence is followed.

Nailing: No known problems.

Finishing: Stains well & demonstrates strong stain contrast. Red oak generally works better than white for bleached floors because it is more porous, and because tannins in white oak can discolor the floor.

Comments Origin: North America

Properties

Hardness/Janka: 1290 Northern (benchmark). Southern: 1060; 18% softer than Northern red oak.

Dimensional Stability: Northern: average (8.6). Southern: below average (11.3; 31% less stable than Northern red oak.

Availability

Easily available.

SAPELESapeleTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Imported

Appearance

Color: Medium to dark red-brown; darkens over time.

Grain: Fine, interlocked.

Variations Within Species And Grades: Quarter sawn material has a ribbon-striped effect.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Saws easily.

Sanding: Sands satisfactorily if correct sanding sequence is followed.

Nailing: No known problems.

Finishing: Staining may over-darken the wood. No known finishing problems

Comments Origin: Africa

Properties

Hardness/Janka: 1500 (16% harder than Northern red oak).

Dimensional Stability: Above average (7.4; 14% more stable than Northern oak).

Availability

Moderately available.

SPOTTED GUM
SpottedGumTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Imported

Appearance

Color: Heartwood is light to dark brown, sapwood is pale and may be as wide as 3.12 inches (8cm).

Grain: Interlocked, moderately coarse, Frequent presence of wavy grain produces “fiddle back” grain. Slightly greasy; gum veins are common

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Good.

Sanding: No known problems.

Nailing: Pre drilling and hand-nailing may be preferred.

Finishing: No known problems.

Properties

Hardness/Janka: 2473 (92% harder than Northern red oak).

Dimensional Stability: Data not available.

Availability

Moderately available.

SYDNEY BLUE GUMSydneyBlueGumTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Imported

Appearance

Color: Wide range from pinks to burgundy reds; regrowth timber may be a pale straw color with pink highlights. Colors mute over time and darken to a medium brown-red.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Very hard – carbide blades and bits required.

Sanding: No known problems.

Nailing: Pre drilling and hand-nailing may be preferred.

Finishing: No known problems.

Properties

Hardness/Janka: 2023; (57% harder than Northern red oak.

Dimensional Stability: Data not available.

Availability

Moderately available.

TASMANIAN OAKTasmanianOakTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Imported

Appearance

Color: Pale straw with occasional pinkish high-lights, tan colors, some medium gray/brown colors; over time overall color variation is muted with an ambering of the straw colors to darker tan.

Grain: All rift sawn.

Variations: Within Species And Grades: Even range of color shadings.
Workability

Sawing/Machining: Cuts easily; some splintering when routing.

Sanding: Sands satisfactorily if correct sanding sequence is followed.

Nailing: No known problems.

Finishing: No known finishing problems.

Comments Has an oily feel. Respiratory and dermatological allergic potential.

Origin: Asia

Properties

Hardness/Janka: 1350 (5% harder than Northern red oak).

Dimensional Stability: Data not available.

Availability

Moderately available.

TEAKTeakTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Imported

Appearance

Color: Heartwood varies from yellow-brown to dark golden brown; turns rich brown under exposure to sunlight. Sapwood is a lighter cream color.

Grain: Straight; coarse, uneven texture.

Variations: Within Species And Grades: Moderate to high color variation.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Moderate ease in working with hand and machine tools; silica in wood dulls tools quickly; carbide tooling is recommended.

Sanding: Clogs abrasives; frequent sandpaper changes are required. Generally difficult to sand – it may dish out if screened too much with a dull screen, and the edger digs easily.

Nailing: No known problems.

Finishing: Natural oils may interfere with adhesion and drying of some finishes. To reduce the wood’s tendency to repel finish coats, surface resins may be removed with a 100% pure solvent (not recycled) that is compatible with the finish to be used.

Comments Has an oily feel. Respiratory and dermatological allergic potential.

Origin: Asia

Properties

Hardness/Janka: Average of 1000; (16% softer than Northern red oak).

Dimensional Stability: Excellent (5.8; 33% more stable than Northern red oak).

Availability

Readily available.

WENGE
Wenge
Top portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Imported

Appearance

Color: Heartwood is yellow-brown when freshly cut, turning dark-brown to almost black with alternate layers of light and dark. Sapwood is yellowish-white and clearly demarcated from heartwood.

Grain: Straight when quarter sawn; coarse texture.

Variations: Within Species And Grades: Moderate variations in color.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Difficult due to rapid dulling of tools; carbide tooling recommended.

Sanding: Moderately difficult. Particular attention should be paid to removing the scratches from the previous sanding.

Nailing: No known problems.

Finishing: Staining may be difficult.

Comments: Dermatological and respiratory allergic potential.

Origin: Africa

Properties

Hardness/Janka: 1630; (26% harder than Northern red oak).

Dimensional Stability: Excellent (5.8; 33% more stable than red oak). However, actual installations have demonstrated significant movement in use.

Availability

Limited

WHITE OAKWhite OakTop portion is finished with water-base finish; bottom with oil-based finish

Species – Domestic

Appearance

Color: Heartwood is light brown; some boards may have a pinkish tint or a slight grayish cast. Sapwood is white to cream.

Grain: Open, with longer rays than red oak. Occasional crotches, swirls and burls. Plain sawn boards have a plumed or flared grain appearance; rift sawn has a tighter grain pattern, low figuring; quarter sawn has a flake pattern, sometimes called tiger rays or butt

Variations Within Species And Grades: Considerable variation among boards in color and grain texture, but variations not as pronounced as in red oak.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Excellent machining qualities.

Sanding: Sands satisfactorily if the correct sanding sequence is followed.

Nailing: Pre drilling and hand-nailing may be preferred.

Finishing: During the finishing process, tannins at the surface can react with some liquids to turn the wood green or brown. This effect tends to be more pronounced with products that have a high water content, such as wood bleach & water-based finishes.

Comments Stains very well and accepts stain evenly.

Origin: North America

Properties

Hardness/Janka: Janka: 1210 (6% softer than Northern red oak)

Dimensional Stability: Average (1-.5; 22% less stable than red oak)

Availability

Easily available.

Information on this page was taken from the National Wood Flooring Association NWFA website. We believe the information to be correct from there as they are the foremost experts on wood flooring that is out there. Not all species may be available in all areas. Consider the job site conditions when making a selection of the wood that you want to use in your situation. This is to give you an overview of materials that can and are used in hardwood installations.