Choosing The Right Wood For Woodturning: Ash, Maple, Walnut, And More

Are you a woodturning enthusiast facing the dilemma of choosing the perfect wood for your next project? Choosing the right type of wood is crucial for the success of your projects. 

This guide will introduce you to popular wood choices for woodturning, including ash, maple, walnut, and more. You can create stunning and unique pieces with the right wood that showcases your craftsmanship.

Choosing The Right Wood For Woodturning

Understanding The Different Types Of Wood For Woodturning

When it comes to woodturning, understanding the different types of wood is essential. Each type of wood has unique features and properties that can impact the outcome of your projects. 

Some popular choices for woodturning include:

1. Mahogany

With its rich, deep reddish-brown color and stunning grain patterns, Mahogany is a wood that exudes elegance and sophistication. Woodworkers have prized it for centuries for its exceptional beauty and versatility.

It is known for its resistance to rotting and decay, making it a popular choice for outdoor furniture, decks, and even boat building. Its dense structure and natural oils contribute to its long lifespan, allowing your wood-turning projects to stand the test of time.

In addition to its durability, Mahogany also boasts excellent workability. It is a relatively easy wood to turn by hand and machine tools. Its straight and consistent grain allows for smooth cutting and shaping, making it a favorite among woodturners of all skill levels.

Furthermore, Mahogany offers a unique combination of strength and lightweight properties. This characteristic makes it perfect for structural pieces that require stability without compromising weight, such as furniture legs or spindles.

2. Walnut

Walnut, another popular wood choice for woodturning enthusiasts, offers a distinct appeal with its rich, dark brown color and exquisite figure. This hardwood is highly sought for its natural warmth and stunning finishing capabilities. 

One of the standout features of Walnut is its inherent strength and stability. Its impressive durability allows it to withstand the test of time, making it suitable for various woodturning projects, from bowls and vases to furniture pieces. 

Its robust nature ensures that your creations will remain solid and intact for years to come. In addition, the Walnut wood cost is very reasonable. 

It can be easily turned, carved, and shaped, making it a versatile wood for woodturners of all skill levels. Its straight grain and smooth texture provide a seamless cutting experience, resulting in precise and detailed work.

3. Cherry

Cherry wood is known for its color which is reddish-brown and beautiful grain patterns, is another coomon choice among woodturning enthusiasts. With its timeless elegance and versatility, Cherry has been a staple in woodworking for centuries.

Over time, Cherry wood develops a rich patina, deepening its color and enhancing its beauty. This unique characteristic adds a touch of sophistication to any woodturning project and makes Cherry a favorite for furniture and decorative items.

In addition to its aesthetic appeal, Cherry wood is known for its stability and durability. It has excellent resistance to warping, making it an ideal choice for bowls and other functional pieces. Its tight grain and smooth texture allow for precise cutting and shaping, ensuring that your woodturning creations have a flawless finish.

4. Cedar

Cedar, a versatile and highly valued wood, is known for its distinct aromatic scent and exceptional durability. Cedar’s ability to withstand harsh weather conditions ensures that your projects will remain strong and resilient for years.

Not only is Cedar durable, but it also boasts stunning natural beauty. The wood exhibits a captivating, rich reddish-brown color with amazing grain patterns, adding a touch of elegance to any woodworking project. Cedar’s fine texture and straight grain make it easy to work with, allowing for precise cutting, shaping, and carving.

4. Hard Maple

Hard Maple, or Sugar Maple or Rock Maple, is popular among woodturning enthusiasts due to its exceptional strength and durability. 

Its tight, fine grain adds a subtle elegance to any woodworking project, making it a favorite for both traditional and contemporary designs. The wood’s smooth texture also allows for precise and detailed cutting and shaping, ensuring a professional finish.

Beyond its visual appeal, Hard Maple offers impressive workability. It can be easily turned, carved, and milled, allowing woodturners of various skill levels to create intricate and complex designs. Its consistent density and lack of voids or knots make it a reliable choice for precision work.

Moreover, Hard Maple is known for its excellent resistance to moisture and heat. It is less prone to warping or expanding in changing environmental conditions, making it suitable for kitchen utensils and other items exposed to water or heat. Its high density also contributes to its durability, ensuring that your Hard Maple creations stand the test of time.

When it comes to finishing, Hard Maple shines once again. It takes stains and finishes exceptionally well, allowing you to enhance its natural beauty or experiment with different colors and techniques.

6. Teak

Teak, known for its durability and stunning golden-brown color, is a highly sought-after wood in the world of woodworking. With its unique properties and aesthetic appeal, Teak is a popular choice for both interior and exterior projects.

This makes it an excellent choice for outdoor furniture, decking, and boat building, as it can withstand the harshest weather conditions without deteriorating. The wood’s inherent strength and durability ensure that your Teak creations will last for generations.

In addition to its exceptional durability, Teak is also prized for its striking appearance. The wood features a beautiful straight grain with occasional knots, giving it a unique and natural charm. Its warm golden-brown color deepens over time, creating a rich patina that adds to its beauty and character. Whether used for flooring, cabinetry, or decorative accents, Teak brings a touch of luxury and sophistication to any space.

7. Red & White Oak

Red Oak and White Oak are two popular hardwood options that are known for their strength, durability, and natural beauty. 

Red Oak is known for its reddish-brown color and prominent grain patterns, which add depth and richness to any woodworking project. Its open-grain texture gives it a slightly coarse feel, making it a popular choice for rustic or traditional designs. 

White Oak, on the other hand, features a lighter and more neutral color tone with a tighter and smoother grain pattern. This makes it a great option for both contemporary and classic designs, as it lends a clean and sophisticated look to any project. White Oak resists moisture effectively, making it ideal for outdoor furniture, decks, and even boat building.

8. Pine

Pine is a versatile and widely used wood that offers a range of benefits for various projects. Its light color and straight grain make it a popular choice for both rustic and contemporary designs.

One of the key advantages of pine is its affordability. It is generally more budget-friendly compared to other hardwoods, making it accessible for those on a tighter budget. Despite its lower cost, pine still offers good durability and strength, making it suitable for furniture, cabinetry, and even structural applications.

Pine is also relatively easy to work with. It has a soft texture that allows for effortless cutting, shaping, and sanding. This makes it ideal for DIY projects or for woodworkers who are just starting out. Pine also accepts stains and finishes well, providing you with options to achieve your desired look.

9. Redwood

Redwood is a highly esteemed wood known for its natural beauty and exceptional durability. It is a popular choice for both indoor and outdoor projects thanks to its impressive resistance to decay and insects.

This distinct hue, combined with its straight grain and fine texture, gives redwood a timeless and elegant aesthetic that enhances the overall appeal of any space or piece of furniture.

Redwood boasts exceptional durability and longevity. Redwood’s inherent resistance to moisture also makes it a reliable option for areas with high humidity levels or heavy exposure to rain and moisture.

10. Ash

Ash is a versatile and reliable wood that is valued for its strength and attractive appearance. This light tone gives ash a clean and contemporary look, making it suitable for both modern and traditional designs. Additionally, ash has a straight and consistent grain pattern, which adds to its aesthetic appeal.

Ash is known for its exceptional strength and hardness. It is a dense wood that has excellent shock resistance, making it a great choice for furniture and items that need to withstand heavy use. Ash is also highly resistant to warping, which ensures longevity and stability in various applications.


The selection of wood plays a crucial role in the outcome of any woodworking project. From the lightweight nature of pine to the exceptional durability of redwood, each wood type has its own unique qualities that make it suitable for specific applications. So, go forth and let your creativity flourish with the perfect wood for your next project.

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