There are several wood species commonly used in millwork. Of course the possibilities are endless and bounded only by personal taste and budget constraints, but below you will find information on the most typical species on the market today:
Pine: pine is a soft wood that is very commonly used in interior applications. Softer than other choices, pine will split and damage more easily. The wood’s color is generally a warm pale yellow with brown knots. Pine takes most finishes well. With some stains, a sealer helps prepare the wood to achieve a more even look. Because of the drawbacks to pine, it is a more economical choice for millwork and is usually painted.
Poplar: poplar is a hardwood and is characterized by its smooth grain and even texture. Poplar takes paint very well and leads to a crisp finish. Depending on color variations in the wood, it may be stained to resemble some darker hardwoods. Poplar is strong and stable and resists warping. It cuts and sands well, keeping its edge and resisting splitting.
Oak: oak is a hardwood that is characterized by its pronounced grain. Popular for wood floors and staircases, oak has a distinctive look that is most often used with a protective seal or light stain. Oak does not paint well. White oak color ranges from nearly white to a darker gray brown and is increasingly harder to find. Red oak ranges from nearly white to a warm, pale brown tinted with red.
Beech: beech is a hardwood characterized by a close and straight grain. Beech is hard and strong and bends well. It has good resistance to abrasion. Beech is easy to paint, stain or bleach.
Cherry: cherry is a hardwood characterized by a straight grain and satin look. Small gum pockets give cherry a unique look. Cherry is prized for its rich and warm reddish brown color that darkens with age and exposure to sunlight. The wood is unsurpassed in it finishing qualities – its uniform texture takes a finish very well.
Maple: A hardwood with a close and usually straight grain. Maple has excellent resistance to indentation and abrasion, making it ideal for flooring. It takes stain satisfactorily and polishes well. Comes in Hard or Soft varieties.
Mahogany: Known by hundreds of different names, the kings of hardwoods has a rich color which varies from light red to dark deep red or deep golden brown, depending on the country of origin. Mahogany is generally straight-grained but can have interesting variations in grain. The wood is extremely hard, stable and decay resistant. Mahogany finishes and stains to a beautiful natural luster.