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Comparing Walnut, Cherry, Oak, Yew, Iroko, Sapele, and Ash: Wood Types for Every Project

Jules

When it comes to woodworking, choosing the right wood type is crucial for the success of any project. Each wood type has its unique features, including texture, colour, and durability. In this article, we will compare and contrast seven popular wood types: Walnut, Cherry, Oak, Yew, Iroko, Sapele, and Ash, to help you make an informed decision for your next project.

1. Walnut

Walnut is a premium hardwood that is known for its rich chocolate-brown color with occasional purple hues. It has a straight grain that is occasionally wavy and exhibits a medium to coarse texture. The wood is hard, strong, and durable, making it ideal for furniture, cabinetry, and flooring. It is also commonly used in musical instrument making. However, its high demand and limited supply make it relatively expensive compared to other wood types.

2. Cherry

Cherry wood is a hardwood with a fine, straight grain that ranges from reddish-brown to blond. It is often used for carved chairs but also shows up in clean-lined Shaker-style tables and cabinets. Cherry wood is easily shaped and polishes well, making it a popular choice for furniture. When unstained, it has a rich, beautiful color. However, it is expensive compared to some other wood types.

3. Oak

Oak is a hardwood that is available in two types: red oak and white oak. It has a straight grain, and the wood is dense and durable, making it ideal for furniture, flooring, and cabinetry. Oak wood is affordable and readily available, which makes it a popular choice among woodworkers. However, it is worth noting that many species of oak usually boast a straight grain, whereas Iroko has an interlocking grain.

4. Yew

Yew wood is a softwood that is known for its reddish-brown color and fine grain. It is lightweight, easy to work with, and has good durability. Yew wood is ideal for furniture, turning, and decorative objects. However, it is relatively scarce and expensive, which may limit its availability.

5. Iroko

Iroko wood is a hardwood that is native to Africa. It has an interlocking grain, which gives it a unique appearance. Its texture and color vary, making every piece of wood unique. It is a durable wood that is resistant to insect and fungal attacks, making it ideal for outdoor furniture and decking. Iroko wood is also a popular choice among architects, woodworkers, and project specifiers. 

6. Sapele

Sapele wood is a hardwood that is native to tropical Africa. It has a dark reddish-brown color and a fine, interlocking grain. Sapele wood is durable and has excellent stability, making it ideal for use in flooring, furniture, and cabinetry. It is also a popular choice for making musical instruments.

7. Ash

Ash wood is a hardwood that is known for its light colour and straight grain. It has a medium to coarse texture and is durable and shock-resistant. Ash wood is ideal for furniture, flooring, and sporting goods like baseball bats and hockey sticks.