Wood Characteristics

Lewis Lumber Products carries a variety of Hardwood and Softwood species, and many types of Exotics.

Listed below you will find a photograph, common characteristics, and common uses of the most popular lumber varieties that we stock. We also carry Bush Oil and Penofin. These products can be used on a variety of our wood products to protect the wood and bring out the natural wood characteristics. Please contact us for more information on price and other species availability.

Aromatic Cedar - Lewis Lumber Products

Aromatic Cedar

Color: Mostly red heart wood, thin whitish sapwood 

Density: Hard texture Grain: fine grain, very knotty-grain varies around knot 

Machinability: Good

Finishing: We suggest using oil finishes that display  natural colors. 

Distinctive Characteristics: Highly aromatic, natural resistance to insect damage, usually only available in 1” thickness

Common Uses: Cedar chests, closet interiors,  furniture interiors 

Other Names: Aromatic Red Cedar,  Eastern Red Cedar 

Ash - Lewis Lumber Products

Ash

Color: Creamy white to light brown heartwood, light sapwood 

Density: Very hard, excellent shock resistance 

Grain: Distinctive wide-open grain, has occasional brown streaks 

Machinability: Very good

Finishing: Takes all finishes well, pigmented stains will bring out the grain nicely. 

Distinctive Characteristics: Excellent Oak substitute, “Golden Oak”

Common Uses: Furniture, mouldings, flooring, baseball bats 

Other Names: White Ash, Brown Ash, Green Ash

Ash - Lewis Lumber Products

Basswood

Color: Cream to beige color 

Density: Very soft texture, like pine, very light in weight, weak strength  properties 

Grain: Fine, tight grain,  non distinctive 

Machinability: Excellent

Finishing: Soaks up finish, dark stains will show very dark, light stains will bring out grain. 

Distinctive Characteristics: Light weight, cheaply priced substitute for darker woods (Cherry, Walnut, Mahogany) when stained, dimensionally stable after proper drying

Common Uses: Moulding, carving, wood Venetian blinds, core stock for doors and plywoods 

Other Names: Linden

Ash - Lewis Lumber Products

Beech

Color: Pink to reddish brown heartwood, sapwood is creamy to pink 

Density: Very hard, heavy in weight, excellent shock resistance 

Grain: Moderate tight, fine grain with evident flecking at times 

Machinability: Machines well at slow speeds, pre drill for nailing and screws

Finishing: Should take a finish well. 

Distinctive Characteristics: Very hard, cheaply priced substitute for Oak, Ash,, Hickory, does not impart taste or odor, usually only available in 1”. Very hard to kiln dry properly.

Common Uses: Chair parts, furniture, flooring,  food containers, toys, woodenware

Ash - Lewis Lumber Products

Birch

Color: Cinnamon, light reddish brown to pink heartwood, sapwood is creamy-white to yellowish 

Density: Hard, medium weight 

Grain: Uniform, fine grain, small pores 

Machinability: Generally good, some swirled grain will chip out if tooling is not sharp

Finishing: Takes finish very well. 

Distinctive Characteristics: Very durable and strong

Common Uses: Cabinets, seating, millwork, furniture, interior doors 

Other Names: Our Birch is the specie “Yellow Birch.” There are other Birches (paper, white, or gray).

Ash - Lewis Lumber Products

Black Walnut

Color: Brown to deep purple brown heartwood, sap is brilliant white to cream color-gray 

Density: Fairly light weight, medium texture 

Grain: Moderately open grain 

Machinability: Excellent machining characteristics, turns, sands, and carves well

Finishing: Unsurpassed in finishing! Clear finishes and oils will bring out satiny grain. 

Distinctive Characteristics: The dark heartwood makes this very distinctive. Try using pieces with sap mixed with heart.

Common Uses: High end furniture, carving, flooring accents, musical instruments, gun stocks 

Other Names: American Black Walnut

Ash - Lewis Lumber Products

Butternut

Color: Tan to brown 

Density: Light in weight, not as strong as walnut 

Grain: Coarse grained 

Machinability: Will machine easily, but has tendency to fuzz up at times

Finishing: Will take finish well, use a sanding sealer. 

Distinctive Characteristics: Color and soft texture make this an interesting wood, not always readily available in thicker sizes.

Common Uses: Carvings, some furniture, cabinets, excellent wall paneling 

Other Names: White Walnut, Oil Nut

Ash - Lewis Lumber Products

Cherry

Color: Red to deep reddish brown heartwood, white to yellowish sapwood 

Density: Medium weight, moderately hard, stiff and strong 

Grain: Fine, closed grain 

Machinability: Excellent

Finishing: Takes a finish well, however light to natural finishes are recommended. 

Distinctive Characteristics: Beautiful markings  (gum streaks, pin knots sometimes) and red color will darken to a rich reddish brown with age.

Common Uses: High end furniture, cabinets, interior millwork, musical instruments, paneling, flooring 

Other Names: American Black Cherry, Choke Cherry, Rum Cherry, Whiskey Cherry, Wild Cherry  

Available in Certified: Check for availability

Ash - Lewis Lumber Products

Curly Cherry

Color: Red to deep reddish brown heartwood, white to yellowish sapwood  

Density: Medium weight, moderately hard, stiff and strong 

Grain: Wavy patterns  running perpendicular to the normal grain orientation 

Machinability: Machine slowly to avoid chip out of grain

Finishing: Dark finishes will vary depending on grain orientation of curl (light to dark absorption). 

Distinctive Characteristics: This curl is generally not as pronounced as Curly Maple.

Common Uses: High end and period piece furniture, cabinets, interior millwork, musical instruments, paneling, flooring 

Other Names: Flame Cherry

Ash - Lewis Lumber Products

Curly Maple

Color: Creamy white to grayish white sapwood, heartwood can be brown to greenish brown with some mineral streaks. 

Density: Moderately hard and strong, not quite as strong as Hard Maple. 

Grain: Light to very heavy patterns running  perpendicular to normal grain orientation 

Machinability: Machine slowly to avoid grain chips

Finishing: Dark finishes will vary depending on grain  orientation of curl (light to dark absorption). 

Distinctive Characteristics: This curl is generally very apparent. The intensity may vary from board to board.

Common Uses: Specialty furniture (Shaker and Mission styles), striking trim, flooring and paneling 

Other Names: Flame, Fiddle Back, Tiger Strip (usually denoting the intensity of the pattern)

Eastern White Oak - Lewis Lumber Products

White Oak

Color: Light tan to brown heartwood, sapwood,  sapwood is creamy white to gray 

Density: Very hard, shock resistant, and very dense, heavy 

Grain: Moderately open grain on plain sawn, Quartered and Rift is straight grain 

Machinability: Fairly well, can be tough on tooling

Finishing: Takes a finish well. 

Distinctive Characteristics: Highly resistant to the  environment, very hard, may be a bit more color consistent than Red Oak. Quartered and Rift sawn have a striking grain  appearance.

Common Uses: Barrels, buckets, tool handles, furniture (especially Quartered or Rift grain) 

Other Names: Many individual species of Oak fall into the White Oak category.

Ash - Lewis Lumber Products

Elm

Color: Brown to dark brown, sometimes reddish  heartwood 

Density: Moderately hard and heavy wood 

Grain: Mostly coarse open grain 

Machinability: Machines fairly well, can be abrasive to tooling at times

Finishing: Takes finish well. We suggest using a sanding sealer. 

Distinctive Characteristics: Has been used as a Chestnut substitute, good bending quality

Common Uses: Bent chair backs, some furniture, flooring, paneling, some cabinets 

Other Names: Red Elm, Slippery Elm, American Elm (Gray Elm) has a gray-white color with a slightly tighter and more closed grain.

Ash - Lewis Lumber Products

Hard Maple

Color: Creamy white to off white sapwood-tinged occasionally with slight red brown heartwood 

Density: Hard, heavy and strong, very resistant to shock and abrasive wear 

Grain: Closed grain, uniform texture. Some of the figured Hard Maple is available (Curly, Birdseye, and Quilted)  

Machinability:Excellent, will tear out with dull tooling

Finishing: Finishes very well. Some of the figured woods will show variable levels of penetration. 

Distinctive Characteristics: Great wood for applications requiring hardness. Birdseye and curly patterns are available.

Common Uses: Furniture, handles, cabinets, woodenware, flooring, paneling, millwork and mouldings 

Other Names: Sugar Maple, Black Maple, Norway Maple, Rock Maple 

Available in Certified:  Check for availability

Ash - Lewis Lumber Products

Hickory

Color: Tan to reddish brown heartwood, cream to yellowish sapwood  (variable mixture of heart and sap) 

Density: Very hard, strong, stiff and heavy 

Grain: Moderately coarse open grain 

Machinability: Excellent machinability, but very abrasive on tooling

Finishing: Will take stains. 

Distinctive Characteristics: The combination of its hardness, strength, toughness, and stiffness are unmatched by any other hardwood.

Common Uses: Cabinets, flooring, tool handles, paneling 

Other Names: Includes seven species (5 are true Hickories and 2 are Pecan Hickories)

Ash - Lewis Lumber Products

Eastern White Pine

Color: Sapwood is yellowish white to cream colored, heartwood is reddish brown to creamy tan 

Density: Soft and very lightweight 

Grain: Mixed broad to tight grain with significant difference between winter wood and summer wood (growth rings). 

Machinability: Excellent

Finishing: Takes a stain and paint very well. 

Distinctive Characteristics: One of the few softwoods produced like hardwood lumber (random width and length), it has been often called “God’s gift to the woodworker” due to its diverse properties and uses.

Common Uses: Exterior millwork, furniture, mouldings, paneling, carvings, turning, pattern making 

Other Names: White Pine

Ash - Lewis Lumber Products

Mahogany

Color: Blood red to reddish brown, sometimes lighter in color with pale red to grayish tinge 

Density: Medium texture, moderately heavy 

Grain: Fine grain with interlocking parallel runs at times (ribbon) 

Machinability: Excellent

Finishing: Takes stain well, will soak it up quite a bit. We suggest using sanding sealer. 

Distinctive Characteristics: Has long been a premier choice for high end furniture and millwork. Usually the grade is excellent and average width is wider than most domestic hardwoods. Excellent exterior uses.

Common Uses: High end furniture, interior millwork, exterior doors, windows, and trim 

Other Names: Honduras Mahogany, Genuine Mahogany (African Mahogany is genuine also), South American Mahogany

Ash - Lewis Lumber Products

Red Oak

Color: Pinkish red to blonde in color 

Density: Very hard and strong 

Grain: Openly porous and with dramatic grain patterns. Like White Oak, it is offered in Quartered and Rift grains also. 

Machinability: Excellent

Finishing: Due to porous nature it will soak up stains but also offers a wide variety of finish tones. 

Distinctive Characteristics: This is probably the most popular hardwood used in modern woodworking. Broad grains give this a pronounced appearance.

Common Uses: Furniture, cabinets, moulding, trim, flooring, paneling, turning 

Other Names: Encompasses many individual species: Northern Red, Southern Red, Black, Shumard, Cherrybark, Scarlet, Pin 

Available in Certified:  Check for availability

Ash - Lewis Lumber Products

Soft Maple

Color: Creamy white to grayish white sapwood, heartwood can be brown to greenish brown with some mineral streaks. 

Density: Moderately hard and strong, not quite as strong as Hard Maple 

Grain: Fine, tight closed grain, some flecking evident 

Machinability: Excellent

Finishing: Finishes well and also takes a stain very well. 

Distinctive Characteristics: The name “Soft Maple” is misleading. This is a very reasonably priced hardwood that is often substituted for Hard Maple in moulding, trim, furniture applications due to price. It can be stained to look like other woods (Cherry, Birch, and Hard Maple).

Common Uses: Furniture, cabinets, moulding, trim, flooring, paneling, chair parts 

Other Names: Red Maple, Maple 

Available in Certified:  Check for availability.

Ash - Lewis Lumber Products

Yellow Poplar

Color: White to yellowish cast sapwood, heartwood is straw brown to green with occasional purple mineral streaks

Density: Light weight, but moderately stiff with good strength-but low in shock resistance

Grain: Relatively straight grained, closed

Machinability: Very good

Yellow

Finishing: Holds paint well, dark stains are preferred over light ones due to the heartwood repelling absorption to some degree.

Distinctive Characteristics: Widely used because it is cheaply priced and very diverse.

Common Uses: Interior trim, mouldings, paneling, furniture interior parts

Other Names: Tulipwood, Tuliptree, Tulip Poplar, Yellow Poplar, Old

Not sure which grade to select when shopping for wood?

WOOD

Wood Humidity Wood is a hygrospic material. That means it is porous and accepts and gives off moisture depending on the environment of it’s installation. Wood products are best suited in a relative humidity level of 45%. Different parts of the U.S. or world will have different humidity levels throughout the year. Our lumber is shipped at 6-9% moisture content. You are advised to allow any wood product time to acclimate to it’s environment. A minimum of 2-3 weeks is the recommended time

LUMBER

Grade A: 

FAS / F1F 

Select and Better

This is the highest quality of hardwood lumber. This will yield long, clear pieces with very little waste.

Grade B

#1 Common

A Great value for the woodworker looking to get several 2’-3’ long wide cuts, or longer narrow cuts in a board.

Grade C

#2 Common

This grade of lumber is good for the woodworker looking to use the natural characteristics (knots, worm holes, discoloration) or looking for 1’-2’ long cuts. Good for small crafts, interior furniture parts.

More than just a lumber company, Lewis Lumber Products is dedicated to providing the highest quality lumber products, including FSC® products to meet your needs.

Lewis Lumber ProductsLewis Lumber Products
P.O. Box 356
30 S. Main St.
Picture Rocks, PA 17762-0356
USA Phone: (800) 233-8450 / Fax: (570) 584-4466
E-mail: edp@lewislp.com