Good Wood Guide

Different types of wood timber by A to G

 

Introduction to the Good wood guide Checklist for buying and using wood timber Links to sources of information on wood and timber Acknowledgements

 

Different types of wood timber by A to Z

We like repairing or adapting existing things, using reclaimed timber, or buying locally-grown wood best.

If that's not possible for you then you can use the table below to help you find the best alternative when buying new timber. It covers tree species info on:

  • common and scientific name*
  • country of origin
  • common uses
  • whether it's threatened with extinction (see key below)
  • whether reclaimed timber of that tree species is available
  • how much it's used in the UK.

* listed alphabetically by common name and according to type of tree - eg American Cedar is listed under Cedar American.

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Key to threat classification

CR

Critically Endangered: a very high risk of extinction in the wild

EN

Endangered: a high risk of extinction in the wild

VU

Vulnerable: at risk of extinction

LR (NT)

Lower risk (near threatened): close to qualifying as Vulnerable

Table of different types of wood timber by A to Z

The letters below are clickable and will take you to the tree species beginning with that letter.

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z

Common name

Scientific name

Origin

Uses

Level of use in the UK

Global threat status

Available as reclaimed?

Abura

Mitragyna ciliata

West Africa

Interior joinery

Minor

-

 

Afara

Terminalia superba

Africa

Plywood, interior use

Minor

-

 

Afrormosia

Pericopsis elata

West Africa

Furniture, joinery

Minor

EN; CITES Appx II

 

Afzelia

Afzelia spp.

West Africa

Top quality exterior joinery

Minor

A. africana VU
A. bipindensis VU
A. pachyloba VU

 

Agba

Gossweilerodendron balsamiferum

West Africa

Plywood, furniture

Minor

EN

 

Alder

Alnus glutinosa

UK, Europe

Minor utility products

Minor

-

Occasionally, as beams

Alstonia

Alstonia spp.

Africa

Various, depending on density

Minor

-

 

Andiroba

Carapa guianensis

South America

Turnery

Minor

-

 

Andoung

Monopetalanthus spp.

Africa

Furniture, light construction, plywood, boxes and crates

Minor

M. durandii VU
M. compactus VU M heitzii LR/NT

 

Antiaris

Antiaris spp.

Africa

Veneer, plywood, furniture, joinery, boxes and crates, light construction

Minor

-

 

Asanfona

Aningeria spp.

Africa

Musical instruments, heavy construction, marine, furniture, flooring

Minor

-

 

Ash UK,

Fraxinus spp.

UK, Europe, North America

Light coloured furniture, panelling, tool handles

Major

-

Occasionally, as flooring

Apple

Malus sylvestris

UK, Europe

Minor craft items

Minor

-

 

Ayan

Distemonanthus benthamianus

Africa

Outdoor construction, marine construction, furniture, decorative veneers

Minor

-

 

Common name

Scientific name

Origin

Uses

Level of use in the UK

Global threat status

Available as reclaimed?

Balau / Selangan batu /bangkirai

Shorea spp.

South-east Asia

Heavy duty construction work

Major

Many Shorea spp. in international trade are CR, EN or VU

 

Balsa

Ochroma lagopus

Ecuador

Model making, insulation

Minor

-

 

Basralocus

Dicornia guianensis

South America

Marine and dock work

Minor

-

 

Beech

Fagus spp.

UK, Europe, North America

Furniture, flooring, musical instruments

Major

-

Regularly, as wood strip and woodblock flooring

Berlinia, red

Berlinia spp.

Africa

Heavy construction, furniture and cabinetwork, veneers, panelling

Minor

B. occidentalis VU

 

Bintangor

Calophyllum spp.

South-east Asia

General purpose timber, musical instruments

Minor

Some species are threatened

 

Binuang

Octomeles sumatrana

South-east Asia

Plywood, light construction, furniture components, cabinetwork

Minor

-

 

Birch

Betula spp.

UK, Europe, North America

General purpose timber, plywood

Minor

-

 

Black bean

Castanospermum australe

Australia

Furniture, cabinetwork, joinery

Minor

-

 

Black locust

Robinia pseudoacacia

Europe, America

Poles, agricultural implements, furniture

Minor

-

 

Blackbutt

Eucalyptus pilularis

Australia

General purpose timber, construction (including marine), flooring

Minor

-

 

Blackwood, African

Dalbergia melanoxylon

Africa

Musical instruments, craft products

Minor

LR/NT

 

Blue gum

Eucalyptus saligna

Australia

General purpose timber, also used for paper

Minor

-

Occasionally, as wood strip flooring

Boxwood, European

Buxus sempervirens

Europe

Turnery, craftwork, sports goods, musical instruments

Minor

-

 

Bubinga Minor

Copaifera salikounda

West Africa

Veneer, furniture

Minor

VU

Regularly, as woodblock flooring

Common name

Scientific name

Origin

Uses

Level of use in the UK

Global threat status

Available as reclaimed?

Caimito

Pouteria spp.

South America

Light construction, furniture, cabinet work

Minor

Several species are threatened

 

Canarium

Canarium schweinfurthii

Africa

Light construction, furniture, veneer, plywood.

Minor

-

 

Cedar, American

Cedrela spp.

South and Central America

Cabinet making, boatbuilding, light construction

Minor

C. odorata VU, CITES Appdx III (Peruvian population)
C. fissilis EN
C. lilloi EN

 

Cedar, pencil (softwood)

Juniperus virginiana/J. procera

J. virginiana: North America J. procera:
East Africa

Specialist uses

Minor

J. procera LR (NT)

 

Cedar, western red
(softwood)

Thuja plicata

North America,

Exterior use, cladding some UK plantations

Minor

-

Regularly, as beams

Celtis

Celtis spp.

Africa

Furniture, cabinets, carving, veneer.

Minor

-

 

Cherry, European

Prunus spp.

UK, Europe,
North America

Specialised crafted furniture and decorative work, musical instruments

Minor

-

 

Chestnut, horse UK,

Aesculus hippocastanum

Europe

Minor goods, turnery and utensils

Minor

-

Regularly, as beams

Chestnut, sweet

Castanea sativa

UK, Europe

Furniture, joinery, fencing

Minor

-

Regularly, as beams

Chontaquiro

Diplotropis martiussi

South America

Outdoor and marine construction

Minor

-

 

Coigue

Nothofagus dombeyi

South America

Furniture, joinery, mouldings, turnery

Minor

-

 

Cordia

Cordia millenii

Africa

Exterior cladding, furniture, joinery

Minor

-

 

Cottonwood

Bombax spp.

Africa

Plywood, blockboard, boxes and crates, furniture

Minor

-

 

Curupay / Curapixa

Anadenanthera macrocarpa

South America

Heavy construction, flooring, turnery

Minor

-

 

Common name

Scientific name

Origin

Uses

Level of use in the UK

Global threat status

Available as reclaimed?

Dafo

Terminalia brassii

South-east Asia

Veneer, furniture, cabinet work, joinery,

Minor

-

 

Dahoma

Piptadeniastrum africanum

Africa

Heavy construction, wharf decking, flooring

Minor

-

 

Danta

Nesogordonia papaverifera

Africa

Furniture, turnery, flooring, tool handles

Minor

VU

 

Denya

Cyclicodiscus gabunensis

Africa

External construction

Minor

-

 

Durian

Durio spp.

South-east Asia

Furniture, veneer, plywood, light construction

Minor

Several species are VU

 

Common name

Scientific name

Origin

Uses

Level of use in the UK

Global threat status

Available as reclaimed?

Ebony

Diospyros spp.

Africa, Asia

Cutlery handles, musical instruments, craftwork.

Minor

Several species in international trade are EN or VU

Regularly, as antique escutcheons, door knobs

Ekki / Azobe / Kaku West

Lophira alata

Africa

Sea defences, sleepers

Minor

VU

Occasionally, as woodblock flooring

Elm

Ulmus spp.

UK, Europe, North America

Furniture, joinery, flooring, external cladding

Minor

-

Regularly, as floorboards

Common name

Scientific name

Origin

Uses

Level of use in the UK

Global threat status

Available as reclaimed?

Fir, Douglas (softwood)

Pseudotsuga taxifolia / P. menziesii

UK, Europe (plantations)
North America

Plywood, structural work, sea defences

Major

-

Regularly, as floorboards

Fir, silver (softwood)

Abies alba

UK (plantations),

Building, joinery, packaging

Minor

-

Northern Europe

Freijo

Cordia goeldiana

South America

Joinery, veneer, construction

Minor

-

 

Fromager

Ceiba pentandra

Africa, South America

Veneer, weak packaging

Minor

-

 

Common name

Scientific name

Origin

Uses

Level of use in the UK

Global threat status

Available as reclaimed?

Gmelina

Gmelina arborea

Native to South Asia, timber is from tropical
plantations

Light construction, packaging,furniture

Minor

-

 

Gombe

Didelotia spp.

Africa

Plywood, blockboard, veneers, particleboard, furniture, joinery

Minor

D. idae LR/NT D. unifoliolata LR/NT

 

Greenheart

Chlorocardium rodiei / Ocotea rodiaei

Guyana

Sea defences

Minor

VU

Regularly, as beams

Guarea

Guarea cedrata / Guarea thompsonii

Central and West Africa

Furniture and exterior work

Minor

G. cedrata VU
G. thompsonii VU

 

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