When it comes to making furniture, woodworkers look for the best quality lumber for their project. However, for a person who has zero knowledge about woodwork, it will be difficult for him to find the best wood to use.
The choice of wood is dependent on quality and durability. These are the two main qualities you need to look into when selecting lumber for furniture.
As you may already know there are different types of woods available out there. But one of the most common wood is whitewood. But what is whitewood? What are its special qualities? In this guide, you will find answers to all such questions.
What is Whitewood Exactly?
If you are wondering what is white wood, well, it comes from the tulip tree which is also known by other colloquial names such as tulip poplar, yellow poplar, American tulip tree or fiddle tree.
Whitewood gives you the finest quality lumber. It comes from the tallest hardwood tree which can grow up 160 feet or more. You will find more of this tree in New York and Connecticut. Some of them are also found in northern Florida.
The good thing about whitewood trees is that they grow fast. This is one of the main reasons why they make the best choice for lumber. Since they can grow quickly, it takes less time to harvest them. Not just that but they also serve as a sustainable option. If you want to make a piece of new furniture but at the same time worry about the environment, then this could be the best option for you.
The creamy white colour of whitewood is what makes it special. The wood has a straight grain and it is also soft. This makes it a great option for various cuts. Whitewood lumber can be easily shaped because of its soft texture.
Whitewood makes the number one choice for plenty of reasons. If you want both quality and durability, then it is probably, the best option for you. Now that we have discussed what is whitewood, let’s look into more details.
Characteristics of White wood
Before you set to start working with whitewood, you need to know what exactly you are getting. This will help you determine, whether you have made the right choice.
The main characteristics of whitewood are:
1. Whitewood comes with a long and straight trunk. It can grow up to 160 feet or more. When in natural habitat, it can grow up to 200 feet. This is why they make the perfect choice for lumber. Due to the long side of the trunk, a single tree can provide you with a lot of lumber.
2. One of the good qualities is that whitewood grows quickly. This makes it somewhat sustainable. They take very little time for harvest and therefore, make the ideal choice for woodworkers.
3. Whitewood can be identified by its creamy white colour. This is what separates it from other light-colored trees.
4. Unlike other wood, whitewood is naturally fire and termite resistant. This makes it a durable option for furniture making. With this type of wood, you don’t have to worry about termites.
5. Whitewood has a very soft texture because of which it can be shaped the way you want. In other words, it can be shaped effortlessly.
6. One problem with whitewood is that they absorb moisture and water quickly. If you don’t want your lumber to warp, it’s better to keep it away from getting wet.
Classification of White Wood
Whitewood is classified into different types and grades. For your convenience, we have laid down the details below. If you are planning to work with whitewood, then you should give this a read.
Whitewood can be of different types. Before you start using whitewood for your furniture, you need to know the types available. This will help you to make a better decision.
Whitewood can be obtained from different trees. This is why it is perceived differently in different regions and countries. However, the most common type of whitewood trees is tulip trees, spruces, silver firs, basswoods, yellow pines, and others.
It is quite easy to identify whitewood. All you have to do is just look for the white grain that is separated from the saps.
After types come to the grades. Whitewood is available in different grades. If you are shopping for lumber from a home center or woodshop, then you will see the abbreviation SYF, SPF, and SYP. These are the different grades available.
However, when buying woods from a lumberyard, then you will see grades including ‘Common’, ‘Select’, ‘Clear’ and ‘C & Better’.
But most likely, you are going to shop from a home center or woodshop. This is why we would like to break it down to you.
- SPF grade whitewoods include white pine, spruce, and Douglas fir.
- SYF grade whitewoods come from fir and fine. These types of whitewood are mostly found in Sweden, Canada, and England.
- SYP grade whitewood comes from yellow pine which is found in abundance in Northern America.
What are The Benefits of Using Whitewood?
If you are planning to make furniture, whitewood could the best choice for you. There is no one reason but many as to why you should use whitewood. The benefits of using whitewood for your projects can be summed up into the following pointers.
1. Durability and Strength
Strength and durability are two important reasons why whitewood furniture is preferred by the majority. They can last for several years even with very little maintenance. Whitewood is a long-lasting material that can stand a good amount of abuse.
2. Easy Maintenance
Unlike any other type of furniture, whitewood furniture is easy to maintain. All you have to do is wipe the surface with a soft cloth and clean it regularly. This will take off all the dust and dirt settled on it. However, you should not use water for cleaning.
3. Good for Decor
Whitewood furniture has a different charm about itself. The light colour of the wood is what makes it more attractive. With the help of whitewood furniture, you can transform the look of your house. Even single whitewood furniture can change the feel and look of your interiors. Whitewood furniture stands for elegance and sophistication that will help you to impress your guests.
4. Can be Modified
Another good thing about whitewood furniture is that it can be easily modified. This gives you the chance to change your furniture over time. With the help of staining, painting or sanding, you can give a new look to your furniture.
The natural grain of whitewood gives a unique touch to your furniture. It may cost you more but in the end, it is worth it. You can select from different types of whitewood based on your budget.
Different Applications of Whitewood
Owing to its fine and light colour, whitewood is used for a wide range of things. Due to its soft texture, it can be shaped into anything. From chair to cabinets, you can make all types of furniture with whitewood.
Some of the main uses or applications of whitewood include:
The most common use of whitewood is furniture. The light colour and the beautiful texture of whitewood adds a special effect to furniture made from it. Using whitewood, you can make durable and long-lasting furniture. Unlike other woods, this is resistant to fire and termites. With whitewood furniture, you don’t have to bother spraying chemicals because of termites. All you need to do is varnish the wood from time to time. This will help you keep your furniture new. Whitewood can also be used to make wooden frames.
Another popular use of whitewood is flooring. Floors made of whitewood not only look great but they also provide a lot of benefits.
Whitewood floors are not completely white. They feature a light colour that gives a nice look to your floor. They look better than dark wood and are also more durable. Also, this type of flooring matches well with modern décor.
Whitewood floors also make a great addition to your overall home’s design. You can add a rug or furniture to enhance the depth if the room. Light coloured floors also make your room look airy. This can be a great option for small spaces as they will make the room look bigger.
3. Whitewood Oil
Whitewood is also used to make aromatic and therapeutic oil which is known to have numerous benefits. It can relieve nausea, lower body temperature in fever and do a lot of other things as well.
It also has anti-bacterial properties. You can use whitewood oil even for babies. If you have hair problems, you can use it to solve your problem. Other than that it promotes blood circulation in the entire body. With so many benefits, it is worth having whitewood oil.
How to Prepare Whitewood for Your Projects?
If you are curious to know how to prepare whitewood, then we have got you covered. There are different processes you can use to prepare it. Unless you prepare the wood properly, you won’t get beautiful polished furniture.
For cutting whitewood, it is better that you don’t use a hand saw. That’s because you can end up making irregular lines. The best option would be to use a portable band saw table. This will help you to get better and cleaner cuts than a hand saw.
A portable band saw will can be moved freely and thus, it makes things more convenient for you. It gives you the freedom to move the saw the way you want to. You can also use a band saw table but the only thing is that you won’t be able to move it. However, it allows you to cut the wood quickly.
For sanding, you need to first determine, how moist the wood is. To use this process you need quality sandpaper. However, you need to make sure that you have gone the right sandpaper to use, or else you won’t get the desired results.
Using the right sandpaper will also avoid scratching. Not just that but it will also prevent the wood from getting damaged.
3. Staining and Finishing
The staining and finishing process is used to get a neat-looking wood. However, it is a tricky process and therefore, you need to be a bit cautious. Whitewood features an open cell structure that enables it to absorb the stain. This is why you are advised to use a pre-stain before applying the standard stain.
When the sealant has dried, you need to apply the stain carefully. Make sure that you don’t overlap the applied stain. Also, make sure that your brush is wet while staining. Once done, you can finish your wood by applying varnish.
Advantages and Disadvantages Of Using Whitewoods
Now that you know the important details related to whitewood, it’s time that we look into the advantages and disadvantages of it as well.
- It is light in weight which makes it easier for you to use.
- It is one of the most inexpensive options you have.
- It can absorb paint well and thus, it makes a great choice for making bright-colored furniture.
- It is easily available.
- It is both termite and fire-resistant.
- It has a beautiful, light colour that makes it a perfect choice for making furniture.
- It is a softwood and absorbs stains and paints quickly. If you don’t maintain caution, it can ruin the look of your project.
- It is not meant for outdoor usage as it can rot easily when exposed to outside weather.
- They also absorb water very fast. As a result, they can end up bowed or warped.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Is White Wood Durable?
Answer: Whitewood is resistant to fire and termites. This makes them long-lasting. However, it is not as durable as other woods like cedar.
2. Is White Wood Easy to Stain?
Answer: Staining white pine wood takes a little extra effort than other white woods. That’s because very porous and therefore, it can easily absorb the staining material. Before you start staining the wood, you should prepare it well.
3. What is Common White Wood?
Answer: Whitewoods carry different labels. Lumber with the SPF label is the most common grade and it comes from spruce, pine fir, and hemlock. It can also be some other similar species.
From the above discussion, we know that whitewood is not any specific tree species. It is a wooden material that comes from a wide variety of trees including pine, spruce, fir, and others.
Whitewood features a bright colour that makes it more attractive. It is also durable and long-lasting.
Whitewood is not just used for furniture and flooring, but it is also needed to make whitewood oil that has several benefits to offer. Now that you know what is whitewood lumber is, you should be able to handle it better.