When it comes to wood, it is easy to think it is just that. But, the truth is that wood has so much more to offer than you may realise. To help you understand more about the Characteristics of wood, here is some more information about wood types, finishes, and uses.


What is the difference between hardwood and softwood?

The first thing to look at is the main difference between hardwood and softwood. Hardwood usually comes from deciduous trees that lose their leaves yearly in winter. Softwood comes from evergreen trees that do not lose their leaves.

This means hardwood is usually taken from trees that grow much slower, making the wood denser. Hardwood is usually more expensive, too, but it can be more robust.

Softwood, in comparison, has a lower density and is more cost-effective but may not last as long.

Different types of wood

All wood types have unique characteristics, making it useful for different projects and designs.

Iroko Wood/Teak

Teak is a wood sourced from a tropical hardwood species and is known to be one of the best types of wood you can buy. However, it is not always sourced ethically.

Iroko wood is an alternative that you can choose to teak if you want to ensure that you have an ethically sound option. It is one of the most water-resistant hardwoods and is naturally oily. If it gets wet, the wood itself will expand and contract much less, which means that it is at lower risk of cracking.


Harvested from an African tree, the wenge wood is a hardwood and has recently increased in popularity. Usually seen in Asian furniture brands, this wood is dark and grainy, which means that it is popular in homes looking for something more dramatic.


If you want a great all-rounder, walnut wood is probably one of the options that you want to consider. Walnut is a hardwood that can vary in shades, even on one board. Walnut is strong and durable, and this is reflected in the price. It is also a more traditional wood, particularly in the darker shades that it can come in.


Oak is a no-nonsense wood that can deliver on both look and durability. It is a wood that is popular in various uses and, more often than not, is stained so that it has the same appearance as walnut, particularly in homes that want a more traditional style to their décor.


Pine is solid and durable wood in your home despite being recognised as a softwood. It is used for various woodworking tasks and is easy to work with. If you are considering having pine in your home, you want to look for pitch pine, as this is best. Not only is pine going to last when looked after, but we also love that it can offer something a little bit different looks-wise.


Yew is one of the trickier types of wood to use, which can often lead to a large amount of waste. It is also more expensive than other forms of wood out there. You may want to consider yew if you have a smaller item that needs to be made, and if you invest in it, you will be treated to some great-looking grains.

Cherry and Maple

Both cherry and maple have a similar style. They are not the most commonly used wood, but this is usually because they are pretty expensive compared to other wood types. These woods are much better suited to a glossy finish than a more standard matte finish, as this brings the wood to life.


Ash is a wood that is usually compared to oak. This is because it is broadly similar, but it is more robust. Ash has a varying open grain and is often painted, which helps it look great. Left alone, ash is a great natural-looking wood. However, it needs varnishing. It is also essential to know that it is not suggested that ash is used in bathrooms as it can rot quickly.

Poplar and Elder

If you are happy to paint your wood when your item is finished and you want to keep your costs down, poplar and elder are a great way to save money and still have great-looking wood in your home.


One of the most modern woods out there has to be beech. If you take a trip to your local Ikea store and check out their furniture, then the yellowy wood from which much of those items will be made is beech.


Mahogany is often picked because it is strong and highly compressed. It is also a wood that can bend if required, which means that it is a go-to choice for instruments, boat making, and flooring. It also has a rich, red colouring that is recognisable. However, mahogany can be expensive and has some ethical and environmental impacts too. If you want to try and combat this, you can always choose sapelle, which is a kinder alternative and has very little difference.

So, there you go, all the different characteristics of wood, and how they all work for you. The decision on what you choose is down to your personal preference; however, when you invest in wood, you invest in something that can and does last a lifetime.