Botanical Name: Umdellularia californica Especially well known for its cluster and burl figured veneers, myrtle is a favorite among fine craftsmen for cabinetmaking and marquetry. While it has a strong tendency to check and Narp in drying, once seasoned myrtle is a tough wood, able to withstand much wear and abuse. Also a preferred turning wood, myrtle is frequently made into bowls and candlesticks, among other fine goods.
Other Names: California laurel, mountain laurel, baytree, spicetree.
Sources: Oregon and California, U. S.A.
Characteristics: Generally straight grain, but occasionally irregular; fine texture; golden tan to yellowish-green. Uses: Turning, furniture, joinery, cabinetmaking, paneling, and veneers.
Workability: Fair; dulls cutting edges severely and quickly; reduce cutting angle for planing and shaping. Finishing: Accepts finishes very well.
Weight: 3& Ib./cu. ft.
Price: Moderate; burl is expensive.
Botanical name: Quercus spp.
Red oak, the most common oak variety in North America, grows very quickly—young trees often sprout a foot a year. The wood is an attractive and valuable hardwood and has been one of the most popular North American oaks used in Europe since the early 13th Century. It is considered unsuitable for exterior work. Other Names: Northern red oak, American red oak, Canadian red oak, gray oak.
Sources: Canada and eastern U. S.A.
Characteristics: Straight grain; coarse texture; pinkish-red color.
Uses: Furniture, interior joinery, flooring, plywood and veneers.
Workability: Generally good; moderate blunting of cutters; moderate bending properties.
Finishing: Satisfactory; because of open pores, it should be filled before any finishing or painting.
Weight: 4О Ib./cu. ft.
Botanical Name: Quercus spp.
This oak—a wood of unique versatility—produces the finest oak veneers and lumber, and is very resistant to wear. These qualities make it significantly more valuable than red oak. But perhaps its most-valued property is the presence in its cells of tyloses, a honeycomblike substance that makes the wood watertight and ideal for whiskey barrels. Recently, these barrels have begun to be reused, reducing the large drain on white oak for that purpose.
Other Names: American white oak, burr oak, swamp white oak, chestnut oak, overcup oak, swamp chestnut oak. Sources: Canada and U. S.A.
Characteristics: Straight grain; moderately coarse texture; light tan with a yellowish tint.
Uses: Furniture, joinery, cabinetmaking, boat building, barrels, plywood and veneers.
Workability: Good; pre-bore for nailing; good bending properties.
Finishing: Accepts finishes well.
Weight: 47 Ib./cu. ft.