Wood Selection Guide for Corbels and Wood Carvings

By: David Pye
The InvitingHome.com Wood Selection Guide:???The United States is home to over 1,000 species of trees. Of these,only a select few are used in crafting wood corbels and other carvedwood products. At InvitingHome.com, our corbelsare all made from select hardwoods, which are durable but also pliableenough for woodworking. Our Wood Selection Guide takes a look at sevenhardwood species: alder, beech, cherry, hard maple, oak (red andwhite), poplar, and white hardwood. Which is the right wood species for your corbels? ???It's not always an easy choice. But our Wood Selection Guide can helpyou pick the best wood for your home improvement project, with aparticular eye toward corbels. Whether you're a homeowner, designer orbuilder, we hope you find this guide to be a valuable resource.Alder:???Alder, a hardwood grown in the Pacific Northwest, is a common choicefor corbels as well as cabinetry and furniture. This wood is prized forits consistency in color and ability to take stain well — two factorsto keep in mind if you're considering alder wood corbels.??? Abeautiful wood that is growing in popularity, alder is relatively softcompared with other hardwoods and thus easy to work with. It featuresgraining and rich tones that are similar to cherry, but at a much lowerprice tag. (Note: Alder wood corbels are a new addition to theInvitingHome.com catalog.)Beech:???Beech is a cream-colored hardwood that grows primarily in North Americaand in parts of Europe. Perhaps best known as the wood used in baseballbats, beech is also found in wood corbels and hardwood floors.

Threefactors that make beech a popular choice for corbels: it takes stainwell, is easy to work with, and has an excellent finish. (Note: Beechwood corbels are a new addition to the InvitingHome.com catalog.)Cherry???A perennial favorite among homeowners, cherry has been used byfurniture-makers for literally thousands of years. This beautifulhardwood brings a classy touch to corbels, flooring, cabinetry, butcherblock countertops, and other home furnishings. Strong and relativelyhard, cherry is known for its durability. But its beauty is the primaryreason it's so often chosen for corbels. Initially light brown in tone,cherry gradually darkens over time to display warm, reddish-brown hues.If you're looking to add a special touch to your cherry corbels, thiswood looks spectacular when finished with a clear polyurethane varnish.Hard Maple???Whatever your family can dish out, hard maple can take it. This wood isused in flooring and even cutting boards, so you know it's more thantough enough for corbels. Its hardness and stiffness make hard maplemore difficult to carve, but these features also enable crisper detailand more intricate carving motifs.??? Hard maple generally hasinteresting graining that adds life to corbels. A relatively clear woodthat ranges from light brown to creamy tan in color, it takes nicely tonatural or light finishes. Honey brown stain tends to complement hardmaple corbels particularly well. Oak (Red and White)???Oak, the most abundant hardwood species in the United States, has beena favorite of craftsmen for hundreds of years. Very hard and durable,oak is a popular choice for corbels, cabinets, floors and many types offurniture. The species comes in two basic varieties: red and white. ???Both red and white oak stain beautifully in most any color and sportdistinctive grain patterns ranging from straight lines to wide arcs.Red oak, the more common of the varieties, has a pinkish tint and opengrain pores. White oak has a slightly greenish hue and smaller pores. Poplar???Poplar trees can reach heights of 150 feet, making them the tallest ofall U.S. hardwood species. Prized for its durability, the wood is usedin corbels as well as kitchen cabinets, mouldings and doors. You'llalso find poplar in many musical instruments. ??? Poplar ispale yellow to white in color with a greenish tint in the sapwood andopen grain pores. It stains well across a range of colors (including ahoney tone with darker colors) and holds paint quite nicely too. Areasonably priced option when choosing a wood for your corbels. White Hardwood???White hardwood, or basswood, is used for corbels, mouldings, furnitureand even Venetian blinds and shutters. In terms of appearancePsychology Articles, thiswood is fairly plain: very light cream in color with little to no grain.???What makes white hardwood stand out — particularly for crafting corbels— is that it's so easy to work with. The softness and straight grain ofwhite hardwood make it the ideal carving wood. It also takes well topaint or a polyurethane finish.

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