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5 Most Common Types of Lumber and Their Uses

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5 Most Common Types of Lumber and Their Uses

According to a writer for, the success of a project involving lumber depends on selecting the right wood for the project. Selecting the wrong wood can have disastrous effects. The professionals at Sutherlands will help you find the best lumber for your project!

Hardwood and Softwood

The two common types of wood, hardwood and softwood, have very different uses. Hardwood is derived from deciduous trees (trees that shed their leaves), including maple, oak, cherry, mahogany, and teak trees.

Softwood comes from coniferous trees, or evergreens, such as pine, fir, cedar, poplar, and redwood. Trees that produce softwood grow faster than hardwood trees, and they are used for a wide variety of purposes.

Softwood Lumber and Its Uses

1. Pine Lumber

According to, pine is abundant and relatively inexpensive compared with other lumber. It is used in construction and in furniture.

There are four main types of pine lumber in the United States. Southern yellow pine has a bright yellow hue and is favored for construction projects due to its high density and strength.

White pine is a softer pine that is not used in construction, but is favored by craftsmen for carpentry, furniture, and handicrafts.

Blue pine is much like southern yellow pine except in its coloring, which ranges from a blue or brown to gray due to a fungus that often grows on it. It is strong and has a high capacity for load bearing, but does not stain very well. It is used in construction and furniture making.

2. Poplar Lumber

Classified as a softwood at times and a hardwood at others, poplar is known as the hardest of the softwoods. Poplar is popular with cabinetmakers because, when stained, it can masquerade as one of the more expensive hardwoods like cherry or oak.

Poplar is used in painted furniture, but not in fine furniture because of its tendency to be easily scratched or damaged. It is also used for ceiling moldings and trims.

3. Cedar Lumber

Cedar lumber is great for both indoor and outdoor projects. There are two main types of cedar lumber.

Because it is naturally resistant to bugs and rotting, northern white cedar has a wide range of uses, including decks, siding, panels for fencing, outdoor furniture, shingles, saunas, and marine uses such as boats and ships. White cedar absorbs staining in a uniform manner, and it is resistant to water. Because it will not crack or split, shingles made from it are long lasting.

Red cedar has that subtle cedar aroma and is one of the most durable types of lumber. It is used in furniture, cedar chests, shingles, decks, fences, and many other outdoor projects.

Hardwood Lumber and Its Uses

 4. Oak Lumber

While red oak lumber and white oak lumber may look somewhat similar, they are very different. Red oaks grow more rapidly than white oaks do, so lumber made from them is less costly.

Oak is one of the hardest of the hardwoods. In fact, white oak is so hard that lumber mills have to use a different type of saw blade to cut it than they use with other hardwoods or softwoods.

Most of the finest antique oak furniture pieces worth thousands of dollars are made from white oak. Today it is used in making fine furniture, trim, and moldings.

Red oak is used in cabinets, desks, chairs, and wood flooring.


5. Birch Lumber

A beautiful wood to work with and reasonably priced, Birch shrinks about 16% as it dries. After it is dry, it has a wide variety of uses including cabinet making and high-end furniture.

Start Your Projects Today at Sutherlands.

Sutherlands has a variety of lumber just waiting for your next project. Whether you are a carpenter, a builder, a plumber, an electrician, or a do-it-yourselfer, Sutherlands has just what you need!

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