Nicholas Ridge
Custom Carpentry
Greater Pittsburgh

Materials of Choice

Yellow Pine- Not in my house.

White Pine- Ok.  Can be used in areas where moisture is not a problem.  If this wood is primed on all sides, it can be used outside.  I personally stay away from it unless there is no other option.

Poplar- Harder than White Pine, not generally used outside where moisture is a concern.  It has fairly decent milling characteristics.  The cost is only a little more than White Pine.  Some people refer to this wood as "the poor man's walnut."  I don't really see it.

Soft Maple- Generally for interior use, although I have made windows out of it, but only when protected by a large porch.  This hard wood is fairly good for cabinets and the like.

Red Oak- Not really a favorite of mine; the grain is so open.  Care must be taken that this wood is cured correctly to avoid checks and cracks, which can occur later.

White Oak- Outstanding! When this wood is quarter-sawn it has a unique grain pattern.  If you like Arts-and-Crafts furniture, this is a must.  The wood is quite stable because of the method of cutting, which makes the grain stand vertically on the board.  In my opinion quarter-sawn wood is stronger.

Spanish Cedar
- Excellent for any exterior purpose.  Though not really a hardwood, it looks like mahogany.  It is stable and is ideal for making windows and doors.  It is not really that much more in cost than White Pine.

Sapele- Quite hard and heavy, this wood looks like mahogany.  It is stable with a nice grain and is being used more often now in place of Honduras mahogany.  This wood comes from Africa, where some countries are restricting the felling of these trees; however it is by no means endangered.

Honduras Mahogany- ENDANGERED?  Not as much as we are led to believe.  There are plantations that still allow us to use this, the king of woods.