Phone: 510.602.0399

Wood Species Details/Information

Wood Species Details/Information

Red Oak – Red Oak (Quercus rubra) is the most widely used wood species for interior applications in North America. It is composed of red and light burgundy overtones with a slight hint of pink. Red Oak products can be stained and clear-coated to achieve a golden bronze finish. It is a particularly grainy type of wood with moderately coarse texture. Grain variation is moderately tight and has dark brown strides that are enclosed by small, jagged ridges. Red Oak is not meant to be painted; its pores will absorb water-based paints like a sponge. Whether it’s a small house or large commercial building, chances are that there are some Red Oak building blocks in the structure’s make. Red Oak is primarily harvested from eastern and central United States and southeast Canada.

Red Oak

White Oak – White Oak (Quercus alba) is a light to medium olive-tan colored wood. White Oak’s grain is ivory-colored and points in one direction (polarized), and has a moderately coarse texture. White Oak is mostly manufactured and harvested from eastern and southern United States. White Oak has tyloses, a microscopic characteristic that gives the wood closed cellular structure – making it semi-resistant to water. With the proper exterior wood stain, clear-coat, and wood sealant, White Oak can be used in exterior applications. White Oak is a very popular type of lumber, used in high-end products – frequently used for flooring and stairways.

Alder – Alder (Alnus rubra) is a light tan and slightly reddish amber wood that contains light-brown strides from the tree’s growth rings. When initially harvested, Alder has a white-almond flesh and then it gradually turns into a yellowish honey color over prolonged exposure to sunlight. Alder’s soft, wavy grain tends to be somewhat openly spaced out in most cuts of the wood. Unlike most other wood species where the heartwood is stronger, denser, and darker than sapwood, Alder’s heartwood and sapwood are almost identical. Almost no wood is wasted from one tree, making Alder an increasingly popular species of wood among lumber mills and the woodworking industry. Alder, like Maple, is ideal for goods and products whose purpose is to showcase a homogeneous color consistency. With a Janka hardness of 590 lbf (pounds force), Alder may is one of the softer woods, similar to the density of Poplar (paint-grade wood). Alder is strong enough to be safely used for stair handrails and balusters.


American Cherry – American Cherry (Prunus serotina) is a light-red wood with wavy strides of orange and brown. Whole heartwood cuts of American Cherry exhibit a pinkish sienna color, while outer sapwood is more of a peachy yellow color. Engineered products of American Cherry wood (adjoined cuts) can portray contrasting shades of colors ranging from creamy bisque to dark red. Its wavy grain has a smooth texture and showcases colors of a reddish-auburn mix. American Cherry has an undulating grain pattern and like all other woods, sometimes contains sporadic gum pockets and knots. American Cherry has a density of 950 lbs (pounds force), making it a very tough hardwood. American Cherry is one of the most popular woods for the woodworking industry – great for mills, machining, and manufacturing, and very popular among the staircase industry.


Brazilian Cherry – Brazilian Cherry (Hymenaea courbaril) is a dark magenta/burgundy hardwood with hues of red and orange along its light almond grain. Its jagged grain contains a surplus of polarized white stripes which showcase contrasting colors on top of the existing dark burgundy shade of the wood. Brazilian Cherry is mostly harvested from Central America and South America. With a Janka hardness of 2690 lbf (pounds force), Brazilian Cherry is one of the strongest, densest woods on Earth. Brazilian Cherry will turn darker when exposed to sunlight for prolonged periods of time. Be careful when machining Brazilian Cherry – its sawdust can cause irritation to the eyes and skin. Depending on where it is being sold, Brazilian Cherry can also be called “Jatoba”. Brazilian Cherry is one of the most popular darker-colored hardwoods offered by Stair Parts Depot.

Brazilian Cherry

Poplar – Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) is composed of white, yellow, and tan overtones, with a minuscule hint of olive green. The hints of green transform to a light brown with prolonged exposure to sunlight. Some people like to showcase the unique color of Poplar wood products by using stain and clear-coat, but most utilize Poplar for its anti-absorption properties – allows water-based paints to dry and bond on its surface (paint-grade). Poplar is great for anything that requires painting, such as stair balusters, posts, handrails, veneer, panels, pulpwood, pallets, crates, furniture frames, plywood, home construction timber, etc. Poplar can also be called Yellow Poplar or Tulip Wood.

Maple – Maple (Acer saccharum) is a mix of creamy white, yellow, and beige overtones decorated by patterns of light brown strides from the tree’s annual growth rings. Unlike most other woods, Maple is utilized for its sapwood rather than its heartwood. If you’re looking for something that is very color constant, Maple is a terrific choice. Maple can be used for both staining and painting – just like Poplar, Alder, Cherry, and Hickory. Maple is sold in two different forms: Soft Maple and Hard Maple. Soft Maple refers to a collection of different species (Acer macrophyllum, Acer negundo, Acer rubrum, Acer saccharinum, Acer pensylvanicum). Soft Maple can be anywhere from 700 lbf to 900 lbf on the Janka Hardness scale, which is strong enough for a variety of indoor applications. Hard Maple has a Janka hardness of 1450 lbf (pounds force). Baseball bats in the Major Leagues can be made out of a mix of Hard Maple, Hickory, White Ash, and Bamboo. Depending on where it’s sold, Soft Maple can be called Bigleaf Maple, Red Maple, Box Elder, Swamp Maple, Silver Maple, Striped Maple, or Water Maple. Hard Maple can be called Sugar Maple, Black Maple, or Rock Maple. Maple and Alder are the most consistent woods in terms of color and grain variation.

European Beech – European Beech (Fagus sylvatica) is a pinkish salmon-colored wood with tones of white and orange. European Beech’s grain is jagged and tends to be polarized in the same direction depending on how the wood is machined and produced. Its texture feels medium to moderately rough before finish. European Beech has a Janka hardness of 1450 lbf (pounds force), making it a strong, shock resistant hardwood. Despite its toughness, Beech can still be bent using steam bending. The majority of European Beech lumber originates from forests in Germany and Ukraine. Despite being an exotic imported species of wood, Stair Parts Depot can supply European Beech at excellent prices.

European Beech

Hickory – Hickory (Carya tomentosa) is a light tan, beige wood with yellow-white wavy streak. Heartwood cuts of Hickory tend to be a variety of colors ranging from yellow to brownish grey; its sapwood on the other hand ranges from a creamy white to light beige. When pieces of heartwood and sapwood are adjoined together, it creates a rustic feel. Hickory is mostly harvested and manufactured in Southern and Eastern United States. Hickory has a Janka hardness of 1880 lbf (pounds force), making it one of the densest, toughest, and most shock resistant wood harvested in the United States. The combination of hardness, rigidity, and stiffness is unmatched by any other North American commercial lumber. Despite being an incredibly tough wood, Hickory still performs well under steam-bending, a woodworking technique used to bend the shape of a slice of wood. Hickory Smoked food refers to meats that are cooked in an enclosed chamber of a barbecue filled with Hickory logs. The burning wood gives the food a distinct Hickory flavor, which is very popular among some meat lovers. Depending on regional jargon, Hickory can also be called Mockernut Hickory, Whiteheart Hickory, Hognut, and Bullnut.

Walnut – Walnut (Juglans nigra) is a chocolate-colored wood ranging from light brown to dark burgundy. It is primarily harvested from eastern United States. Its grain is straight and tightly spaced together and its texture is moderately coarse. Walnut that’s flat-sawn cut showcases a pattern of wavy streaks originating from the tree’s growth rings. If it is quarter-sawn cut, the streaks are straight and uniformed, portraying alternating stripes of light and dark brown. Walnut’s Janka hardness is 1010 lbf (pounds force), making it a very sturdy wood.


African Mahagony – African Mahogany (Khaya senegalensis) is a reddish-brown wood with long, russet, polarized granules. It has lightly concentrated, semi-large pores, thus making this wood non-paintable. With a Janka hardness of 1070 lbf (pounds force), African Mahagony is a tough hardwood. African Mahogany originates from Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Benin, and other tropical countries of Western Africa. Despite being an exotic imported lumber, Stair Parts Depot can supply African Mahogany at excellent prices. African Mahogany can also be called Benin Mahogany, Dry Zone Mahogany, and Senegal Mahogany.

African Mahagony