© Against The Grain Carpentry  -  contact: Tony (802)279-0938  -  email: tony@againstthegraincarpentry.com

Against The Grain Carpentry

Phone: (802) 279-0938

Email: tony@againstthegraincarpentry.com


Common Native New England Hardwood Species

A porous wood with a golden sapwood, with very nice contrast between the spring and fall growth rings, and a light to dark brown heart wood.

Light in color, little heartwood and a somewhat muted grain pattern. Similar to maple and sap-birch.

A light sapwood similar to maple, and a red heartwood typically lighter than cherry (depending on subspecies).  Yellow birch is the most common used in woodworking, and often contains figured grain patterns.






Hard Maple:


A relatively soft hardwood, butternut is semi-porous with a light to dark brown heartwood.  Lighter in color and generally softer but otherwise similar to walnut.

Prized for its deep red heartwood workability and well pronounced grain patterns, cherry’s heartwood naturally darkens with age.   It has very little sapwood which is light in color similar to maple.  Cherry is prone to figuring.

One of our hardest native species.  Hard maple is one of few where the sapwood is most desired in woodworking.  A well pronounced grain and light sapwood.   Generally it contains very little heartwood.  It’s well known figuring patterns include curly, birds eye and quilted.

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All are shown with

a clear finish.





Red Oak:

A porous wood with tan to white sapwood and a reddish to deep red or brown heartwood.

A very fast growing tree and one of the softest hardwoods, poplar has a very light sapwood, a very light brown/greenish heartwood and a very muted grain pattern.  Poplar is often used in paint grade carpentry because of it’s low cost, moderate durability and decent stability. It also can be stained to almost any color.

A very hard and porous wood with a reddish brown heartwood and little sapwood that is lighter in color.  One of the most resistant native woods to seasonal expansion and contraction due to changes in ambient moisture levels.

Has a beautifully deep brown heartwood and a lighter less desirable sapwood.  It is semi-porous and decently hard.  Contrasts very well next to maple and cherry.

Common Imported Species:





Zebra wood:



Originating in Africa, Ebony is an extremely dense wood.  It is the one of the only trees that produce a deep black heartwood.  Now a days it is more common to see ebony with a brown between the grain (as shown).  It is tough to work with and very expensive leaving it to mostly be used for the purpose of inlaid and other small projects.

The many varieties of Mahogany come from Central and South America.  It ranges from light grey in color, soft and porous, to deep reddish brown, very dense and porous.  Widely used for furniture in the 1700’s, the higher quality varieties have become quite rare and most species are now endangered from over harvesting.

The well known Brazilian Rosewood has almost single handedly given this wood a prominent name.  This variety of Rosewood is hard, dense and reddish in color.  It has a sent to it that will stay with the wood for a very long time hence the name “Rose”wood. The supply of Rosewoods are nearly gone, most species of lumber value have become endangered.  It is now very rare and expensive.

Teak has long been use for building ships because of its extreme resistance to rot, termites and its stability.  Light brown in color teak is spreading widely as a plantation tree, from its origin in Asia to Central and South America, giving its lumber market some sustainability.

A dark hard and dense wood with unusual grain patterns.  Some times referred to as African Rosewood, its is now on the endangered species primarily because of the exploitation of its logs.

Zebra wood receives its name from the from the extreme color contrast between the grains, resembling the hide of a zebra.  It is a hard, dense wood that is difficult to work with.  Generally used for decorative treatments to wood products.