17 Different Wood Types in India and Their Properties and Uses

By  | 

Types of Wood: Wood is acknowledged as the most widely used material. While you could actually pick up any kind of wood to build your furniture, it is necessary to pick the right one for your needs. The most common product of the forest is the wood that is used in the timber industry. It takes year for a plant to evolve to a tree. However, the most common kind that becomes the tree is the angiosperms. Angiosperms are the group of plants that produce flowers and enclosed seeds. The gymnosperms category of plants is called trees (the ones that produce seeds that are uncovered such as the pine, spruce etc). The wood that is obtained from the angiosperms are called as the hardwood while the ones obtained from the gymnosperms are called the softwood.

Why Wood: The Significance of it

Have you wondered why you really need to use wood? Here are some of the reasons.

a. Sturdy: Most woods are sturdy and stand a very long time. The hardwood is typically prone to stand wear and tear, making it reliable.

b. Lesser Energy: The production along with the processing costs of the wood uses much lesser energy, compared to other materials used for building.

c. Effective Substitution: Wood is also considered an effective substitution to other materials that will require large amount of fossil fuels to produce them.

Classification of Wood and Their Names:

Hardwood come from the deciduous trees that has broad leaves. They take a long time to grow and thus they are known to produce such dense wood. They have a dark shade and are expensive than softwood. Hardwood are prone to wear and tear, thus tend to last for a long time.

The softwood come from the conifer trees, whose leaves look needle shaped. Soft woods are usually light in colour and are typically less costly.

Take a look at the different types of wood and their uses.

One of the widely and commonly used material is the wood. Did you know that the many types of wood had a wide variety of uses? The one that your cot is made of could be different from the one of your wardrobes. Take a look at the many uses and kinds of it.

Hardwood Trees:

Hardwood trees are the ones whose wood comes from deciduous trees. They are sturdy and stand the test of time. Hardwood trees are best attested for their strong durability and strength. Take a look at some of the fine hardwood tree timber.

a. Oak:

The Oak is a hardwood, of which the northern red oak is the most expensive one. It belongs to the angiosperm group of plants and is a native to the Northern hemisphere, that include America, Asia, Europe and North Africa. Oak trees have a deep brown and copper colour. Identify your oak tree by simply looking for the acorns. If you spot acorns, that sure is an oak tree. The bark of the tree comes in small, hard and scaly bits of bark with leaves that have pointed knobs that will extend out from the centre line.

Use: It has been used as a hardwood timber for many years. Flooring, homewares, wine barrels are some of the objects made of oak wood or where oak wood is suitable.

b. Maple:

Maples belong to the angiosperm category and are native to Asia. They are about 128 variants of it. They grow to a height of 10-45metres and are deciduous. Maples are most commonly known for their autumn leaf colour. They can be quickly understood by their opposite leaf arrangement and flower in late winter or early spring. Their colour ranges from white to off-white cream colour. It can be quite tricky identifying a maple tree given the many variants. However, it is most often spotted using its leaves.

Use: Maple wood is the one that is used as the butcher’s block, pool cue shafts, bowling alley lanes and also in the limbs of the bow for its stiffness.

c. Mahogany:

The mahogany wood is straight -grained with a reddish-brown timber. It is indigenous to America and is a hardwood. Identifying mahogany is a little easy. Feel the wood to understand if it is soft or hard. Mahogany is hard. The corners of the wood have to be soft. If it is not, then it is a veener. The grain has to be long and also fine. The best indicator of mahogany is the dark fine lines to the grain. Lastly, observe the colour. If it is reddish-brown it is mahogany. If it is young, the wood is pink in colour.

Use: Mahogany is used to make furniture, boat, musical instruments and for panelling. They are best known for their beauty.

d. Cherry:

Cherry is of Europe and Western Asia origin. The cherry wood is known for its reddish-brown hue that is beautiful. Their flowers are either pink or white and do not have any odour. They flower in early spring and are known to produce pale green berries. Here is how you can identify them. They have large and shiny leaves that are organized alternatively on the branches of the tree. While the leaves on the bottom of the tree are medium green, the ones on the top are pale yellow. They have a sturdy bark and become softer towards the up of the tree. Some cherry trees naturally will peel off the bark displaying a mahogany colour. This sure is your cherry tree!

Use: It is best used for making furniture and cabinet objects. The black cherry variant wood is used for making interior rim, veeners, handles and other scientific instruments.

e. Walnut:

Walnut tree is attractive for two reasons, one for the walnuts and the other for its timber. Their wood colour is apt for making furniture, that range from pale brown to dark chocolate brown Walnut wood falls under the hardwood category and are native to a region of Western Europe called Gaul. The tree produces nutritious and hard nuts. The texture of the wood is exceptionally hard and can be easily identified by their chocolate brown colour whose grain patterns are very fine and straight. They also have irregular patterns with many swirls and curves.

Use: They are mainly used for making fine furniture, knobs, veeners or other carved objects.

f. Rosewood:

Rosewood is a hardwood and is native to India. Rosewood trees are fast-growing that are considered to Southern Iran as well. The tree is special and are covered by Special Acts in India to protect them. The wood of the tree is a deep mahogany that is known to mellow with age. The redness of it reduces depending on the amount of sunshine it receives, thus making it another apt wood for making furniture. Identification of the rosewood will start with the strong smell, which will enable you to locate easily. The wood is hard and sturdy and weighs very heavy of about 53 to 75lbs. They are exceptionally durable.

Use: It is used to make furniture, chopstick and other show pieces of wood.

g. Teak:

Teak is another hard wood that has small white fragrant flowers with large papery kind of leaves. The tree has a leather like smell, that is milled freshly. Thus, identifying them is easy. It is native to South and South Asia. The colour of the wood is yellow in colour and is known to darken with age with a very hard wood texture.

Use: It is mainly used for the manufacture of outdoor furniture and boat decks, cutting boards, indoor flooring.

Softwood Trees:

Softwood is another classification of wood that offers fine timber for many purposes. They are a product of coniferous trees and their wood is not as costly as the hardwood ones. Here are some of the finest softwood tree wood that have been in use since a long time.

a. Pine:

Pine is slightly more pliable than the other hardwood that are available. Their durability varies and can last really long when built well with it. It is sturdy, nevertheless, it can be quickly scratched and dented. It is known to warp when exposed to humidity or is excess moisture. It grows in the Northern Hemisphere areas and is known to resist shrinking or swelling. The colour of the bark is usually white or pale yellow. It lacks a typical figure and is light weight. Thus, their identification is easy.

Use: It is mostly used for furniture, window frames and roofing. The resin of some of the pine trees is used as a source of turpentine.

b. Ash:

The white ash is widely used for commercial reasons and is grown widely in the Eastern United States. The wood is hard and heavy. Identifying ash wood can start with looking for grains on it, like that of oak and ranges from white to light brown colour. They have an interwoven figure and can be identified by their prominent white dots, that can be easily spotted.

Use: It used for the frames, axes, hammers, oaks and hockey sticks. It is relatively costlier than other softwood.

c. Hickory:

Hickory is native to Eastern United States. There are about 15-16 species of hickory out of which, 8-10 are commercially very important. One of the hardest and heaviest wood is the hickory wood and varies on the colour. Typically, it ranges from reddish-brown, light brown or white. The colour variation has a striped look and wood has a coarse texture. Identify the hickory wood by means of their vertical ridges on the bark. You could also look for nuts and their leaves that grow from a distinctive stalk.

Use: hickory wood was used to make wheels and spokes of wagons, carriage and carts. It is now used to make flooring, furniture and tool handles.

d. Beech:

Beech is native to Europe, Asia and North America. Beech has strong and sturdy wood that has tiny pores and look similar to maple tree wood. The wood is pale cream colour and is comparatively inexpensive. To identify them, look for beech nuts that are very small, which has a triangular shape. The colour of the leaves tends to be green in summer and have shades of yellow in winter. The bark of the tree is smooth and slightly gritty when touched.

Use: It is used for making veener plywood, flooring and other railroad ties. It is also used as a fuel because of its high density along with good burning ability.

e. Birch:

Birch has a wide variety of variants. The yellow birch is the commercially important wood and prefers the temperate climate. It is native to the Northern Hemisphere. The yellow birch is pale yellow to white wood with a reddish-brown heartwood. The white birch however has a white colour, much like the maple. It is a soft wood and comes from the birch tree. Identify the birch by looking at their oval leaf base with saw-toothed edges. Birch wood is easily available and are less expensive.

Use: they are used for making plywood, crates, boxes and interior trim. The birch veener is used for flooring and panelling.

f. Cedar:

Cedar is known to grown in the United States, Central America and South America. It has a red-brown colour with light streaks and the beautiful grains on it. You can easily identify a cedar through its aroma and insect repellent quality. It is moderately expensive and is a kind of softwood.

Uses: It is used for building decks, chests and closets.

g. Redwood:

Redwood is indigenous to the Pacific United States and is known to grow more than 300 feet and last up to 2500 years. It is a softwood and is said to resistant to decay and insects. Look for the deep-reddish brown and marker growth rings to identify them quickly. It stands strong and is very rare and valuable.

Use: they are used mainly for crafts, outdoor furniture. The wood is moderately hard.

h. Hemlock:

Hemlock is light weight and has a uniform texture throughout. It has less resistance to decay. They are native to the United States. The heartwood is reddish brown while the sap maybe slightly lighter in colour. Look out for growth rings to identify them. There are about 10 species of the hemlock tree and thus identifying them accurately could be tricky. Look out for the image like the one below.

Use: It is used for making doors, lumber, panelling, boards and planks.

i. Fir:

the next kind of wood is the fir. Fir is known to work easy and give good finishing. They are found in North and Central America, Asia, North Africa and Europe. They can be easily identified from other softwood by means of their needle-like leaves and their cones. The many species of it can be identified by their arrangement of leaves and the size and shape of their cones. However, some of the fir wood is known to crack or twist depending on the moisture level. But the most durable wood will be resistant to clay. Usually the wood is light brown in colour which has a touch of yellow and red.

Use: They are used for ornamental purposes, pilings and plywood. The Douglas fir is used for mill work, flooring and making furniture and cabinets.

h. Spruce:

spruce is strong and hard. It has very less resistance to clay and is known to be light weight. The heartwood is reddish-brown while the sapwood is yellow. Identify the spruce through the straight grain that has a fine and somewhat medium texture. It is native to North America.

Use: It is used for making baskets, general mill work and for masts and spars for aircraft and crates.

Which Wood Should You Choose for Furniture Making In India?

You could use any kind of wood to build a furniture but what you need to keep in mind is each of them however impart varying degrees of warmth. Check out this guide to choosing the right wood for your needs.

1. Teak: Teak wood is moderately hard and is valuable. However, it can be easily worked on and stands strong against white ants and termites. The wood is durable and is fire resistant. It is also known to not corrode on iron and is used for heavy superior work only. Teak timber is considered as the most prized wood in the entire classification of woods. While teak furniture could burn your pocket a little, it however lasts a very long time. It is commonly found in Central and Southern India.

2. Rose Wood: The next of the kind of wood is the rosewood that is strong and tough. It takes high polish and looks beautiful on completion. It is available in large dimensions and is used for superior furniture making. It is also used in making cabinets and other ornamental objects. Rosewood is considered very valuable. It is commonly found in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Orissa.

3. Sissoo Wood: It is commonly known as tali. The wood is very strong and durable. It is known to maintain its shape and can be seasoned easily. It is often considered as a good wood for decorative items. Sissoo wood is used in the making of fine quality furniture and cabinets. Sissoo wood is common in Uttar Pradesh, Bengal, Assam, Mysore, Maharashtra and Orissa.

4. Sal Wood: Sal wood is found in Kerala, Karnataka, Madhyapradesh, Tamil Nadu and Orissa. It has close grain and is very sturdy combined with toughness. The wood is vulnerable is used in making of superior quality furniture, cabinet and other decorative pieces. It is known to maintain its shape well and lasts a very long time.

5. Pine Wood: Pine wood is commonly found in Himalayas and the other mountain ranges. The white pine is soft while the other one is very hard. It is very heavy and grained coarsely. However, it is known to decay when in contact with soil. It is used in making doors, frames for windows. The white pine is used in the making of matches.

Surprising isn’t? Well, the different kinds of woods and their uses are actually varied. So, it might come to your help to know a little about the classification of woods before you actually start to make your choice. Our guide is a good way to get started to understanding the many kinds of woods and what they are applications are. Get started on your hunt!