The Difference In the Grain: An Explanation of Wood Types

Whether you're a master craftsman, a hobby woodworker, or a curious individual wanting to know more about wood, you're barking up the right tree.

If you haven't noticed by now, we're passionate about making high-quality wood products that are beautiful and will last. Each wood type is used for a different purpose, and its qualities are as unique as you. Their specific characteristics and natural environments determine their purpose and use in the future. 

Our wood shop has six wood types we love to use for our kitchen accessories, like butcher blocks, breadboards, lazy Susans, and such. Here's everything you need to know to get to the root of our wood obsession.


Maple wood is solid, looks great, and stains nicely. Woodworkers and furniture aficionados like maple for its light, creamy color, smooth grain pattern, and impressive durability. 

Maple wood is commonly used in high-end furniture, flooring, cabinetry, and kitchen accessories, like our butcher blocks. It's so durable and robust that it's used for flooring in bowling alleys and bowling pins. For all of the Babe Root fans, it was also once a popular choice for wooden baseball bats. 

Bottom line: It can take a beating on the field or a kitchen counter.


Walnut wood is a luxury wood used to make high-end furniture and instruments like guitars and violins. It's hard, heavy, and resilient, capable of resisting warping and suffering minimal shrinkage.

Most comments about Walnut wood are that it's so dang expensive, but there's a reason for that! Walnut is considered a premium wood because it's not available in long lengths and usually has more knots and sapwood than other woods, requiring the purchase of more lumber to make furniture.

Bottom line: It's a stunning grain, but it likes to play hard to get. 


Cherry is a rigid and stable wood when it's dry. It's effortless to stain, and the end product is excellent. Cherry is strong and used for furniture building, interior joinery, and kitchen accessories. It's highly coveted for its transformative appearance over time. 

Cherry wood is a pale color when first cut, but it's famous for its slow darkening over time when exposed to light, which turns the wood into a rich brown-red shade. 

Bottom line: The color will darken over time, revealing an even better color. It's like the best surprise!


Mahogany is a luxury wood for its straight, fine, even grain. It's highly desired due to its reddish-brown color, excellent workability, and is very durable. Note that mahogany always darkens over time and displays a beautiful reddish sheen when polished.

Mahogany is rare and highly sought after because genuine mahogany only grows in Central and South America. That means that you don't just get beauty or long-lasting quality when you decorate your house with mahogany furniture; you also have unique and challenging to acquire wood.

Bottom line: Mahogany wood is like the pretty girl that doesn't know she's pretty. Very rare.

Curly Maple

Though curly maple is not a wood species, it's one of the famous grain variations of the prized maple heartwood. The defining characteristic of curly maple grain is the illusion of a three-dimensional grain pattern along the length of the entire board.

The differences in the curly maple design grades are one of the defining reasons for different price points. 

Bottom line: The curly wood is a beautiful, naturally enhanced design. It's fun to work with and looks good on any kitchen counter.

Red Oak

American red oaks are solid because it's heavy with medium bending strength, stiffness, and high crushing strength. Red Oak is hard, stable when dry, and easy to finish and stain; it is ideal for furniture, kitchen accessories, and flooring.

A fun fact is that this wood is also used for industrial purposes and can be found in agricultural environments and railway ties. 

Bottom Line: It can undoubtedly take your kitchen needs if it can handle the railroad. 

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