How Many Different Species?

How many different species of wood do you have in the shop? I’m working on a shop project that has drawers galore. They’re small, but they are many. In order to kick it up a notch, I decided that each of my drawers should be fronted by a different wood. As I began to scavenge around the shop, I was amazed at just how many different woods I could gather. My number is 17. Some of you guys, especially turners, are sure to have more woods in your shop than I, so get out in the shop, take a count and report back.

Here’s my list of on-hand woods: Walnut, Cherry, Tiger Maple, Birch, Sapele, Mahogany, Bubinga, Basswood, Sassafras, Holly, Zebrawood, Birdseye Maple, Red Oak, Wenge, Poplar, Ash and Koa. (The koa shown above was found in my truck behind the seats – thanks, Joe for stashing it there years ago.)

If we had developed the “scratch-n-sniff” portion of our website, you would know that when cutting these woods, the best smell is from sassafras and the worst is from zebrawood. (If you’re an equestrian, you know the smell of zebrawood; it smells like horse hooves to me.)

I need 21 different drawer fronts, so I’m off to the local wood store.

— Glen D. Huey

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4 thoughts on “How Many Different Species?

  1. In the main I have four. Walnut, Cherry, Poplar and Hard Maple. Since moving to Florida, Cypress shows up occasionally.
    To be fully truthful I do have a sizable stash of quarter sawn white oak. It was purchased when I was first getting into making furniture. Funny how your preconceived notions can turn out to be so wrong. Built one project and the rest has been sitting in the racks for several decades.
    Thanks Don

    1. Don,

      You may have noticed that I didn’t list any white oak. If you want to get rid of some of your stash, send it up my way. I have a small project upcoming that requires a few board feet. And, you’re lucky. Most of us have those preconceived notions about tools – I have a few sitting on a shelf in my garage that have not been used in decades.

  2. Mostly tulip poplar, white oak, ash, hickory, cherry, yellow pine, white pine and cypress. By this list you might infer that I live in the American south. Also, some walnut, birch, beech, red oak, butternut, radiata pine, and small amounts of exotics, mostly related to lutherie, including ebony, Alaska yellow cedar, Sitka spruce, bubinga, jatoba, Osage orange, pau ferro, big leaf maple, dogwood, Spanish cedar, and a tiny precious amount of American chestnut. A few others.
    Much of this list accumulated because it is difficult for me to conceive of scraps so small that they might not be useful, although I will burn really trashy bits. I have heard that some folks can fit a car into their garage, but not me. My wife is understandably dubious about me acquiring any more wood until I convert some of what I have into actual items.

    1. Joe,

      You sound like a real woodworker. Many of us have that same affliction. Thanks for your comment. And I’m always available to take some of that off your plate.

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