What wood would you use when using wood for a project?

michaelgarner

Michael
Senior User
Good morning Woodslingers!

I want to ask the group of experts here for some guidance on what woods can be used for a couple of projects that I have planned.

Criteria:

Cost: Inexpensive as possible (Pine comes to mind, but may not be as strong as needed)
Finish: Will mostly be finished with paint (milk paint), but needs to be able to apply stain/finish for tabletops. Would like to avoid woods prone to blotching.
Workability: Easy for handtool work, but has strength and structure for mortise & tenon, dovetails, half-laps, etc.
Strength: needs to hold up for daily home use, not necessarily heirloom quality lumber, but holds up to daily utilitarian use.

Woods on the shortlist that I am considering:
Pine (prone to blotching)
Poplar
Soft maple
Ash


What other woods do yall use for such projects?
 

zapdafish

Steve
Senior User
From your list I like ash because of the grain and my hardwood floors are kind of dark so I have a better contrast. I wouldnt paint ash, but i guess I'd use poplar for painted sections.
 

Matt Furjanic

Matt
Senior User
Ash is definetly the hardest, but the pores will show through the paint. The figure in pine will probably also show through, and most pine wood is soft. Soft maple is really fairly hard, and grain minimal so it’s a good choice. But I would recommend poplar. It has a very tight grain which should not show through the paint, it is medium hard; it’s very easy to work, it is stable when dry, and it’s low cost. Good luck with your project.
 

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