We’ll show you which hardwood types provide great bang for your buck when searching for high-end wood
- Softwood is typically more affordable than hardwood
- It’s possible to find low rates on some hardwood types
- Looking to these options secures high-quality wood at great prices
- Your customers will appreciate your beautiful hardwood and softwood products
When scouring for lumber your company can use during the manufacturing process, you have two main options: hardwood and softwood. Generally, softwood lumber costs less than hardwood because it’s more abundant and, therefore, easier to harvest. Producers can also charge a premium for hardwoods because of their durability, strength, colors, and aesthetic qualities.
However, finding a good deal on hardwoods is possible if you look at specific lumber types. These products are a little more abundant than exotic options like cherry, mahogany, walnut, and Koa, so they’re available at lower prices.
The exact price and availability of wood varies by region, as some parts of the country will have more abundant supplies of specific types of trees than others. Here’s a look at some high-quality wood by price that’s readily available for your business to import and utilize.
Poplar trees are common in many parts of the country, and, therefore, poplar lumber is typically one of the least expensive hardwoods. In addition to its price, which is typically $2-$5/board-foot, poplar is soft and easy to cut and shape. These attributes make it popular with woodworkers.
Aesthetically, Southern poplar features a distinct white and green color and can also develop purple streaks. These colors look great when used as furniture, and you can paint the wood, too. The one drawback is that poplar sometimes dents, so it might not be the best option for tables and other items that will hold significant weight. Appalachian Poplar does not have as many mineral stains as Southern Poplar. Many customers can stain Poplar to look like Mahogany.
Another inexpensive hardwood lumber option is ash, which has straight grains, colors that range between light cream and light brown, and solid workability. It’s typically $3-$5/board-foot. This wood can also accept stains and has dependable strength and impact resistance.
Ash isn’t as easy to work with as poplar because it’s a bit harder. However, it’s valuable when making cabinets and furniture and is one of the most popular woods on the market for baseball bat manufacturers because of its durability.
Maple is similar in hardness to walnut, but it is typically available at a fraction of the price (typically $3-$7/board-foot), making it an excellent alternative for furniture makers. Remember, there are two types of maple, hard and soft. Soft maple is the more affordable of the two but is harder than softwood lumber and more durable as well.
Once you purchase some maple, you’ll notice it’s straightforward to work with, and experienced woodworkers can carve and shape it to meet their specifications. You can stain it in various ways and customize its appearance in a way that doesn’t work with many other hardwoods.
You’ll want to remember that maple wood can be toxic, so be sure to wear protective equipment when working with it while being careful not to breathe in its dust.
Alder is another inexpensive hardwood (typically $6-$8/board-foot) that’s easy to cut, shape, and sand. This lumber is as soft as poplar and a little more expensive but you can stain it to look similar to cherry or walnut, adding to its versatility.
Typically, alder has a rustic appearance to it without any streaks of color. This uniformity makes it a good choice for entry doors or cabinets; some woodworkers even use it for carvings.
Generally, alder is useful for large-scale projects, but it isn’t always as readily available as poplar and maple.
White oak is a mid-priced (typically $6-$8/board-foot) hardwood that is extremely popular because of its strength, durability, and appearance. In fact, it’s the lumber of choice for many woodworkers because of these qualities, particularly for flooring, furniture, and paneling manufacturers.
This wood’s tan color fits in nearly any environment, and white oak also does a solid job of withstanding the elements. It’s rot-resistant, making it a good choice for outdoor wood projects.
Perhaps the most significant issue with white oak is the price, as it costs about twice as much as poplar. As a result, it might not be viable for some furniture manufacturers, depending on their budget.
Beech usually costs about the same as white oak ($6-$8/board-foot), depending on its availability in the region. This lumber is easy to shape and cut with the proper tools, and its distinct pale cream color makes it stand out from other hardwoods. It’s fine-grained and dense, providing excellent value when you can get your hands on it.
You’ll commonly see beechwood used in furniture and cabinets, and it sometimes comes in plywood form. It’s resistant to wear and tear, making it a solid option for high-traffic areas, and is strong enough to use as a table or chair. In fact, beech is similar to hard maple in many ways, except it’s lower-priced.
Remember that beechwood doesn’t take stain very well, so you’re best off with a clear finish when using this product.
Selecting the ideal hardwood
Hardwoods are an excellent choice because they’re robust, durable, and come in beautiful tones that will attract the eyes of your customers. However, their supply is less abundant, and you could struggle to track hardwoods down unless you’re ready to pay a premium.
Gulf South Forest Products is a lumber exporter that can get you the ideal wood to meet your needs, no matter your location. While we typically focus on softwoods, we also source poplar and other hardwoods for your business, ensuring you receive the lumber required to keep your supply chain moving. Contact Gulf South Forest Products today to inquire about our global lumber exporting service or receive a quote.