It's amazing how many things can be made with wood. But not every species is suitable for every application. In fact, some are much better for particular uses than others. To illustrate, a hammer or axe handle made of poplar wouldn't be much use at all: it would break the first time that you hit anything! Burn cherry in your wood stove? What a waste! It's such a beautiful wood that we reserve it for cabinetwork.


Usually, the soft wood from conifers is used to produce lumber for construction and pulp for paper. The black spruce is highly sought after as pulp because it has long, very strong fibers. Utility poles are often made of pine.


Some hardwood species, such as hickory and ash, have long, solid fibers, which make them ideal for tool handles and sports equipment. Others, such as cherry, maple, and red oak, are fine-grained and colored, which produces beautiful furniture. Sculptors often like to work with the soft wood of the linden.

Sawing Wood

Logs are sawn to get the most use out of them, as shown below.

Knots in Boards

Knots can be seen as decorative or defects, depending on the use. Too many knots in a plank can reduce its strength. A knot occurs at the place where a branch joins the tree trunk.

Can you make sketches of some other uses for wood?