What's the Easiest Wood to Work ?

      Woodworkers rate wood species on machinability, looks, and stainability. December 14, 2005

Question
In your opinion, what is the easiest wood to work and finish into cabinets? I prefer alder.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor A:
Beech is gaining in popularity, especially with dark finishes.



From contributor B:
For my shop it is red oak. We have worked so much of it over the years we are very good at reading the grain to predict what it will do.


From contributor C:
Balsa wood.


From contributor D:
Alder and Poplar are the easiest woods I have worked with. They are easy on the tools and sand very well. I've heard beech and bass wood are nice to work with also.


From contributor E:
Walnut.


From contributor F:
Pattern grade Mahogany.


From contributor G:
Ash.


From contributor H:
Teak.


From contributor I:
Alder (western red).


From contributor J:
Cherry (medium hardness and quite smooth)
Walnut (medium hardness but not as smooth)
Alder (it's so soft and the boards are narrow)
Oak (it's hard and not smooth)
Maple (it's so hard, but so smooth)
Beech (it's really hard, but not smooth)

As far as finishing goes, easiest to hardest:
Oak (starts light, easily goes any shade)
Beech (kind of like oak, but starts an ugly pink)
Walnut (starts too dark and too purple, but sucks up stain easily)
Alder (grain patterns aren't that inspiring)
Cherry (varies in color too much and doesn't suck up stain)
Maple (difficult unless you clear coat it, and that looks nice)



From contributor K:
I have just recently started my first project in Ash and I have to say it is an easy wood to work with and it is reasonably priced. I do prefer working with Teak because it is such a nice oily wood that it machines very smooth and has a nice aroma too. Some time back, I did a piece in cypress and that worked easily. Poplar can be used to make furniture and it is easy on the tools and it stains and even paints well. For cabinets I think red oak is the easiest plywood to work with because it is so easy to match the ply, hardwood frame and doors. Red oak also stains really well. Cherry can be tricky to match the frame to the plywood because so much of the hard wood has heart wood in it and often the plywood will be much darker than the hardwood.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?


Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking

  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking: General

  • KnowledgeBase: Wood Engineering

  • KnowledgeBase: Wood Engineering: Wood Properties

  • KnowledgeBase: Woodworking Miscellaneous

  • KnowledgeBase: Woodworking Miscellaneous: Woodworking


    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.



    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2016 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB











  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers


      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article