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Wood Species

Oak

Quercus robur, a durable hard wood from notoriously strong tree. Different species of Oak exist all around the Northern Hemisphere, but the largest number of Oak species are concentrated in North America. Because of Oaks high tannin content, it has a natural resistance to bugs and fungus. This is one of the many reasons why it is often used for whiskey barrels and furniture. Oak wood takes stain very well so you can get many different looks and variations if you choose to stain it. Many hardwoods tend to have attractive grain structures in their wood, but Oak has very large and distinctive swaths of grain. As one of the most popular hardwoods that are used in furniture and cabinetry, North American Oak has a Janka rating of 1370 lbs.

Birch

Betula alleghaniensis, the species of birch wood that is most commonly used for timber, is known as North American yellow birch. While it is not as coveted or sought after as much as Walnut or Oak, Birch (AKA the poor mans Maple) is a fine wood to use for cabinets. As cabinet doors, you often find Birch unstained or with a lighter stain giving it a fairly natural wood look. These lighter natural wood colors will really make a darker granite or quartz countertop stand out well. Perhaps because it is a little more affordable, Birch is a popular wood for butcher blocks and knife blocks. Birch wood has a Janka rating of 1260 lbs.

Walnut

Juglans major or Juglans Nigra. Walnut wood is a dark brown wood with beautiful grain patterns that are noticeable and distinct like those found in Oak but with a more uniformed appearance like Maple. Walnut can be stained but its natural brown is very beautiful without any stain. American Walnut wood is one of the more expensive kinds of wood that you could use for cabinets but the end result is usually undeniably worth the extra cost. Aside from fantastic furniture and cabinets, Walnut trees provide delicious edible walnuts as well as an excellent wood for cutting boards. There are other harder varieties but most American Walnut has a Janka rating of 1,010 lbs.

Mahogany

Swietenia macrophylla, is a wood that is characterized by its brilliant reddish brown colors and fine but beautiful grain structure. Originating around Central and South America, Mahogany is a great hard wood to use for cabinet doors. The natural colors and textures of Mahogany are warm and comforting. If you have a slick modern kitchen that seems cold and lifeless, installing Mahogany cabinets would be one of the best ways to make a warm and inviting transitional kitchen. This somewhat pricey wood has a Janka rating of 1,220 lbs.

Hickory

Carya tomentosa, is one of the many Hickory species. This tree is mostly found in China, India, and North America. Because of the shock resistant nature of Hickory wood, it is used in many household items like tool handles, drumsticks, skis, and walking sticks. Like Maple, Hickory has appealing grains although it isn’t nearly as striking or noticeable as the Oak grain structure. Hickory wood has an impressive Janka rating of 1,820 lbs.

Maple

Acer pseudoplantanus, is one of the most common Maple trees. Maple is one of the most popular hardwoods used to manufacture cabinets. It’s light grain patterns and even wood tone create a pleasant uniformed look to the wood. Maple looks great naturally but many companies choose to stain it to achieve a variety of other colors. It is fairly easy to stain Maple and make it look like Cherry, Mahogany, or Walnut. Maple trees are also used to harvest Maple syrup for pancakes and waffles. Maple wood has a Janka rating of 1,450 lbs.

Pine

Pinus densiflora, is one of the most common trees used throughout the world for timber. Pine wood can be found in every hardware store and lumber yard around the world. Pine is not often used in high-end cabinetry because it is not a hard wood. Pine trees are some of the most popular species used as Christmas trees. Common breeds of pine wood have Janka ratings around 600-700 lbs.

Cherry

Prunus avium, or the cherry tree is known around the world for its fruit and its blossoms. The wood from the tree also makes beautiful and highly sought after wood for cabinets. Much like Walnut wood, you can stain Cherry wood to make it another color but it is naturally a very attractive wood to begin with. You have to be a little more careful with Cherry cabinet doors because it is naturally a little softer than most hardwoods. Cherry wood has a Janka rating of 950 lbs.

Rubber tree

Hevea brasiliensis, is mostly known as the tree where we get the latex that is used for many different rubber products. Because of this the Rubber tree wood is actually becoming a very popular wood for kitchen cabinets. It is far more unknown compared to Oak and Maple but many cabinet companies are turning to Rubber trees as an affordable and eco-friendly material. Furthermore, Rubber tree timber is also a little more resistant to warping from temperature and moisture issues. This outstanding wood takes stain very well so it can be used as a great low cost alternative to the more expensive hardwoods. Rubber tree wood has a Janka rating of 995 lbs. making it a little stronger than Cherry wood but not quite as strong as Walnut.

Teak

Tectona grandis, is actually a tropical hardwood. It is both durable and somewhat water resistant. Native to the southern and southeastern areas of Asia. Teak naturally has a brownish red color. Most of the different types of Teak have Janka ratings around 1,000 -1,200 lbs.

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus globulus, is a beautiful species of tree that originated in Australia. The trees themselves have a number of interesting uses but it is less common to find Eucalyptus wood being utilized as timber. You can find cabinets that use Eucalyptus wood and plywood panels with Eucalyptus veneers. Eucalyptus wood has a Janka rating of 1,175 lbs.

Bamboo

Bambusa atra, is one of the most popular forms of bamboo used to make cabinets and furniture. Technically bamboo is less of a tree and more of a grass. It grows incredibly fast and can be cut into strips and pressed into rigid sheets. This technically makes bamboo a composite wood. Bamboo is becoming more popular as a cabinet panel as well as a variety of other things in the kitchen from plates, bowls, cutting boards, flooring, and countertops. Bamboo has a distinctive look and a very nice feel to the touch. Bamboo has a Janka rating of 1380 lbs.