direction of the grain, but it is excellent for
pitch may be seen. Excessive moisture cannot
cross-grain carving. Mahogany will outlast pine 3
always be detected by weight. Detection comes
when the board is crosscut or dressed.
Several varieties of mahogany are used. Spanish
Kinds of Lumber
mahogany is from the West Indies, Honduras
mahogany (also called baywood) and Mexican
The woods most frequently used in the
mahogany is from Central America and Mexico, and
carpenter shop for most projects are redwood, white
pine, ponderosa pine, mahogany, and poplar.
Senegal mahogany is from Africa. Distinguishing
between varieties is difficult. Mahogany is usually
reddish-brown, but it often varies in color.
REDWOOD is inferior to the better grades of
sugar pine and white pine, but for most patterns it
works well. The best grades work easily. Redwood
POPLAR is used in many carpenter and pattern
shops. It is soft with close, straight grain. Its use is
has one peculiar property that no other wood has--it
shrinks in length as well as in thickness and in
and shrinkage. Poplar ranges in color from
width. The name redwood derives from the
off-white to light yellow. The poplar tree grows in
reddish-brown color of the wood itself. It is related
the eastern part of the United States. It goes from
to pine but is much more durable when in contact
the Gulf of Mexico north into southern Canada.
with soil or when exposed to weather.
Other woods used by HTs are discussed in the
The redwood tree grows exclusively on the West
Coast. The age of these forest giants runs as high
as 3,000 to 4,000 years. They frequently grow to a
MAPLE, especially eastern maple, is very hard
height of 350 feet, with a diameter of 25 feet or
and is difficult to work. It varies in color from light
brown to white. Oregon maple (western soft maple)
is close-grained and reddish-brown in color. This
WHITE PINE is the best wood for making
wood is mostly used in the manufacture of furniture
simple patterns that are used less than 30 times and
and tool handles. Oregon maple is also used for
that are under 2 feet in length. This softwood is
certain projects that must endure heavy wear or that
smooth, straight and even-grained, light, and warps
are weak because of their shape or size. Maple will
very little when properly seasoned. White pine that
outlast pine 8 to 1.
is free from knots is the cheapest of lumber. With
sharp tools, you can cut and carve white pine almost
like soap. White pine takes a good coat of lacquer
WHITE ASH is open-grained, elastic, and hard.
or glue, but it chips or breaks easily. Its color
The color of the heartwood is light brown. The
sapwood is almost white.
ranges from almost white to light yellowish-brown.
In the West, the name white pine usually applies
BLACK WALNUT grows in the eastern part of
the United States. It is very durable and very hard.
to the native sugar pine that grows in northern
When used as pattern material, black walnut will
California and southern Oregon.
outlast pine 5 to 1.
PONDEROSA PINE is sometimes mistakenly
HICKORY is the strongest, heaviest, and
called sugar pine. It closely resembles the sugar
toughest of all American woods. It is also flexible.
pine, but it is not good for some types of work such
The color of hickory varies from brown to white.
as pattern work. It warps and shrinks a lot and has
more pitch than sugar pines.
O R E G O N PINE (Douglas fir) is of two
varieties, red and yellow. The yellow is the more
MAHOGANY is more durable and harder than
valuable of the two, being hard, strong, and very
pine. Use it when 30 to 100 castings are required.
Also, use it for patterns having long or thin sections
durable--but difficult to work.
and warps very little. It is soft enough to cut and
CHERRY is brown in color, close-grained, and
nail easily, yet hard enough to stand a lot of wear.
very hard--but warps excessively. Cherry is a little
Mahogany is difficult to plane or carve in the