Use this wood species guide for butcher block products for help. When it comes to buying a butcher block product for your home or business, choosing a wood species can be quite the decision.
Between the wood’s coloration, grain patterns, texture, strength, and other qualities, types of wood can vary dramatically from species to species. However, in our wood species guide below, we’ll detail the standard wood options available for McClure’s premium butcher block products and their respective qualities.
Though special orders can be accommodated, the vast majority of McClure’s products are manufactured from hardwood species. Hardwoods are mostly broad-leaved, deciduous trees, and include oak, maple, cherry, hickory, walnut, and more. Most hardwoods are perennial plants and are typically leafless for a portion of the year, though there are some exceptions. Hardwoods are generally more dense than softwoods, making them ideal for high-end furniture and construction applications.
In addition to the wood species, the cut of the tree can also factor in to the appearance. While sapwood is the living outer portion of a trunk or branch, heartwood is the dead inner wood that typically makes up the majority of a trunk or branch. Sapwood is usually much lighter in color than heartwood, though this is not always the case.
One of our most commonly used woods, the coloration of maple can differ greatly between the sapwood and heartwood. The sapwood color is typically an off-white cream color with a light red and gold hue, while maple’s heartwood is a darker reddish brown. Maple features a fine, even texture and a slightly wavy grain pattern. Because of its toughness and shock resistance, it’s also used for the play surfaces on our premium shuffleboard tables.
American Cherry is a hardwood with deep golden brown heartwood and pale yellow sapwood. Cherry features a fine texture surface and a grain pattern that is generally straight. It is renowned as one of the best woods for workability due to its stability and straight grain, though cherry is not the best wood for staining. Cherry is commonly found in high-quality furniture, cabinetry, flooring, and other products.
Like maple, the color of walnut can vary drastically between the heartwood and sapwood. While walnut’s heartwood typically ranges from a light-pale brown to a dark chocolate color, the sapwood ranges from pale yellow to nearly white. Walnut’s texture is not as coarse as oak, though it is not particularly fine either. The grain is generally straight, though this is not always the case. Like many of the other hardwoods, walnut is commonly found in furniture and cabinetry among other uses.
Hickory’s heartwood ranges from a light to medium brown with a reddish hue, while the sapwood features a paler coloration with a yellow hue. The grain is typically straight, though wavy patterns are sometimes found in hickory as well. Hickory has a medium texture and is one of the hardest, toughest, and stiffest commercial woods. Because of this, it is one of the more difficult hardwoods to carve, though it glues and stains well. Hickory can be found in tool handles, wheel spokes, and skis, and it is also the most commonly used wood for drumsticks.
Available in both red and white varieties, oak is one of the most commonly used wood species for furniture. Oak is a strong, light-colored hardwood and features a coarse texture and prominent grain patterns. In red oak, the heartwood is light to medium brown while the sapwood is much lighter. Like many other hardwoods, oak is commonly found in cabinetry, furniture, and flooring.
While red oak tends to be light to medium brown, both the heartwood and sapwood of white oak tend to be a little more olive-colored. Like red oak, white oak has a coarse texture, prominent grain patterns, and is commonly used for cabinetry and furniture.
We hope you found this wood species guide helpful in selecting the right wood species. If you’re looking for a different look or a rustic appearance for your butcher block products, we also can use other woods for special orders, including reclaimed and exotic woods. Reclaimed and exotic woods often give off an authentic aged appearance or offer unique character not found in standard wood species. However, these wood species are limited in availability or may not be available. If you’re looking for a wood species not listed above, please contact us and we’ll let you know if the wood and product is available.
In addition to a choice of wood species, we also offer many of our butcher block products in both end grain and edge grain construction. You can find a detailed guide on the differences between end and edge grain here.
Still on the fence over choosing a wood species for your premium butcher block product? Contact us at (800) 565-0977 or reach out to us on our website and we can help find the wood species with the perfect coloration and feel for your space.