Table of contents

Thomas Creek Wood Countertop Properties

Wood Properties


Alder is softer than other hardwoods, such as maple, cherry, and oak; making it more susceptible to dents and dings. In its natural state, Alder is orange, brown or reddish in hue with a fine texture. While common Alder grows in Japan, Russia, Europe and Western Asia, red alder is found along the Pacific coast in the United States and Canada.


Ash is a traditional hardwood used in various products such as furniture, flooring, and cabinets. Due to its durable nature, this wood can serve many different functions throughout the home. It is characterized by a light amber color with a bold grain pattern slightly more disordered than other hardwood grain patterns. When measuring hardness, it is second only to white oak and birch, but with a slight elasticity that gives it versatility not found in other hardwoods.


Beech wood is comprised of a variety of eight to ten species in the genus Fagus. Beech trees are native to the Northern Hemisphere. It is a medium to hard wood that features pale sapwood and darker heartwood that is closer to the center of the trunk. This wood is characterized by its fine grain and can easily be stained to achieve the desired color. Beech is also known for its sturdy and shock-resistant qualities.


Birch wood is widely used in furniture making. The tight, straight grain of birch wood also makes it ideal for panel construction. It is resistant to warping and doesn't grow and shrink as much as woods with more open grains, causing them to absorb and release higher levels of moisture. Unlike other species, this wood variety does not succumb to mottling and discoloration. Birch's ease of use and reasonable price have made it a perfect craft wood for almost any woodworking project.




The color of cherry heartwood, older wood present at the center of a tree, has a shaded pink or red hue. In contrast, the surrounding sapwood is cream colored or yellow in nature. Immediately after harvesting cherry trees, the color of the wood develops a light shade. With time, it darkens its appearance to become a deeper reddish brown, giving the wood a more elegant look. In terms of hardness, cherry wood is moderately hard, strong and medium weight. The fine grains along with its’ smooth and sleek texture are distinguishing cherry wood characteristics. This wood can receive any type of wood finishing, although the best finishes for cherry wood are natural or light alternatives.


Lyptus has properties similar to many hardwoods, and is most often compared to maple. It is a closed-grain wood that is harder than oak. The hardness and closed grain structure make it popular for cabinetry, millwork, and flooring. The coloration varies from a light salmon to a deeper red, although the pigments may darken slightly with the exposure to UV light.


Maple is known for its close-grained, very hard and fine-textured qualities. In addition, it is also a strong durable wood that is suitable for any home. Maple’s sapwood and hardwood are both very pale in color. The hardwood is generally a lighter shade of brown. The grain figure is subdued but beautiful and quite uniform providing interesting unique patterns in the wood. All maple is light in color, but the white, clear grade provides even more contrast to the wood varieties. It is the sapwood from the outside of the log that is used; it is winter-sawed and piled in sheds until processed to prevent staining.


Oak is a truly remarkable wood. It has a heavy, strong, and light colored hardwood. Oak is ring porous, due to the fact that there are more and larger conductive vessels laid down early in the summer, rather than later. Prominent rings and large pores give oak a course texture and dominant grain. It also has visible medullary rays which can be seen as "flakes" in quarter sawed oak lumber. Overall, oak is a tough durable wood that maintains it beautiful qualities even when put in contact with moisture.


Walnut is one of the most versatile and popular cabinet making woods. Many different varieties grow in Europe, America, and Asia. Walnut is strong, hard, and durable, without being excessively heavy. It has excellent woodworking qualities, and takes wood finishing well. The wood is light to dark chocolate brown in color with a straight grain in the trunk. Wavy grain is present toward the roots. The stumps of walnut trees are often dug out and used as a source of highly figured veneer. Walnut solids and veneers show a wide range of figures, including strips, burls, mottles, crotches, curls, and butts. European walnut is lighter in color and slightly finer in texture than American black walnut, but otherwise comparable.