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Characteristics of Wood Species


Characteristics of Wood Species

Historically, wood has been classified as hardwood (from leaf-bearing trees) or softwood (from cone-bearing trees). However, this categorization is not as simple as it seems since some leaf-bearing trees contain softwood and vice-versa.

To make the process of distinguishing between species more simple, here is some specific information about some of our different wood types.


With more than 60 species in the United States, oak is the most commonly used hardwood.

Unique Characteristics: Heavy and strong, oak is also ring porous.


Although there are 115 species of maple grown around the world, only 5 exist in the U.S.

Unique Characteristics: Maple is extremely hard and contains a fine texture with an even grain.


There are several species of mahogany, and it is mostly grown in the Caribbean. Mahogany is one of the hardest and highest-quality woods around.

Unique Characteristics: Strong with poorly defined rings, mahogany also has a uniform pore structure.


Sometimes referred to as “fruitwood,” this species is grown in the eastern part of the U.S.

Unique Characteristics: Moderately strong with a closed grain, cherry wood is practically immune to warping.


Perhaps the most versatile wood around, a variety of walnut species are grown all over the world.

Unique Characteristics: Although strong and very durable, walnut is light in weight.


Although it’s grown mostly in Asia, some species of teak also grow in Africa.

Unique Characteristics: Teak is extremely hard and durable with a straight grain.


With more than 100 species, pine is grown in the Northern Hemisphere.

Unique Characteristics: Soft and light, pine is resistant to shrinking and swelling.


Ash is among the most popular of wood types, and 6 species of ash are grown in the U.S.

Unique Characteristics: Ash is hard and heavy with porous rings.


Of the 16 species of hickory that exist, 8 are grown in the U.S.

Unique Characteristics: One of heaviest and hardest softwoods available, hickory is close grained.


Only one species of beech exists and it is grown in the eastern U.S.

Unique Characteristics: Strong and heavy, beech contains large pores.


Several species of birch are grown all over the world.

Unique Characteristics: Hard and heavy, birch is close grained.


Many species of cedar exist in the Western Hemisphere.

Unique Characteristics: Soft and durable, cedar is very knotty.

If you are interested in ordering wood for a project of yours, feel free to call (909) 920-5430 or fill out our information request form to find out more information. Cherokee Wood Products looks forward to helping you with any and all of your wood-product needs.

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