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Various wood species used for producing natural wood floors and skirting boards

We are not to imagine or suppose, but to discover, what nature does or may be made to do.
Francis Bacon

The modern woodworking industry uses a great variety of wood species for wood floors’ production. The purpose of this article is to let you know both popular and exotic wood species. It is notable that many of the most unusual wood species can be found in Kahrs floors’ collections.

Ash, Scandinavia

The wood is creamy yellow with very special figuring. Ash is harder than Beech and Oak, but still very resilient (ideal for construction). Density: 680 kg/m3, Brinell hardness: 4.

Beech, Scandinavia

Beech ranges in colour from light cream to medium pink-brown and dark brown. The timber is easy to work and sand; it is a common species for parquet floors. The wood is one of the most moisture-sensitive species, which means it swells and shrinks considerably with changes in moisture. Density: 670 kg/m3, Brinell hardness: 3,8.

Birch, Scandinavia

Also known as "Yellow Birch". Botanical name: Betula Alleghaniensis. The colour varies from whitish cream to reddish yellow. Birch is a stiff wood with excellent shock resistance. It is easy to work and polish, it takes coloured stains easily. Density: 630 kg/m3, Brinell hardness: 2,5.

Cherry, North America

Other names: American Cherry, Black Cherry, Wild Black Cherry. The species ranges in colour from light pink and cream to reddish brown; it will go to dark reddish tones over the years. Cherry is easy to machine and glues well. Cherry is a favorite wood of decorators. Density: 610 kg/m3, Brinell hardness: 3,6.

European Maple, Germany

European maple is yellower than the American variety. However, European maple has a light fresh colour with a tendency to whitish cream. The species is easy to polish. It takes coloured stains easily. Density: 690 kg/m3, Brinell hardness: 3,4.

Hard Maple, North America

This species is also called "Sugar maple", "Canadian maple", Botanical name: Acer Saccharum. It is the national symbol of Canada. The wood colour is creamy white with golden highlights. Hard maple goes to cream tones on exposure to daylight. The wood is easy to treat and polish. Brinell hardness: 4,8.

Jarrah, Australia

One of the most common species of Eucalyptus tree, Jarrah was once called "Swan River Mahogany". Botanical name: Eucalyptus Marginata. The wood colour can vary from salmon-pink to deep red, which also deepens over time. Jarrah is known for its durability and hardness. It is resistant to insect attack. The wood is easy to sand and polish. Brinell hardness: 4,7.

Jatoba, Brazil

Jatoba is also known as "Brazilian or South American Cherry". Botanical name: Hymenaea Courbaril. The wood is exceptionally hard; its colour ranges from salmon pink to reddish brown with dark streaks. Jatoba is a very heavy and strong species, but still resilient, and it is easy to sand and to high-polish. Jatoba floors are beautiful and durable. Density: 840 kg/m3, Brinell hardness: 7.

Merbau, Malaysia and Indonesia

Other names: "Ipil", "Kwila", "Taal", "Intsia Bijuga", "Kalabau", "Hintsy". Botanical name: Intsia Bijuga Palembanica. The wood ranges from yellow to orange-brown, but darkens to reddish brown or brown. Over time, the wood surface seems to be speckled with gold. Used for floors, Merbau is often combined with Oak. Merbau is termite- and fungi-resistant, rot-proof. It has very little movement in response to moisture. Density: 840 kg/m3, Brinell hardness: 4,9.

Oak, Europe

Other names: "Common Oak", "White Oak". Botanical name: Quercus Robur, Quercus Petraea. In fact, there are more than 200 different species of Oak. The wood colour varies from light brown to darker deep tones. The timber is hard and durable, with excellent physical properties. Density: 700 kg/m3, Brinell hardness: 3,7.

Palisander, India

Palisander is also known as "Sonokeling", "East Indian Rosewood", and "Bombay Blackwood". The wood is dark chocolate brown with streaky heartwood. Palisander is a relatively valuable wood: the tree grows very slowly, and reaches its maturity at the age of 200. Palisander has a scarcely noticeable scent. The wood is very hard and fungi-resistant.

Red Oak, North America and Europe

Red Oak ranges in colour from light pink to reddish brown. Compared with White Oak, Red Oak has coarser graining. The northern Red oak is hard and heavy, the southern variety is more porous. Density: 700 kg/m3, Brinell hardness: 3,7.

Rosewood, Africa

Also known as "African Blackwood ", Rosewood has a beautiful red-purple timber with sharply demarcated darker streaks and rose-coloured sapwood. Rosewood is a very dense and hard species, much denser and harder than Oak. Brinell hardness: 4,6.

Teak, India

The timber is yellowish brown with a distinctive figure and dark overtones. It usually has straight graining, but can have wavy shapes. Teak’s natural oils make it rot-proof and durable. It is easy to work and treat. Its hard surface resists impacts. Density: 550-750 kg/m3, Brinell hardness: 3,5.

Walnut, North America, Europe, Asia

This species is also called "American or Black Walnut". Walnut is very suitable to be used in contrast with other light species for interior joinery. The wood is durable, dimensionally stable, and resistant to deformation. The timber is easy to work and treat. Brinell hardness: 3,4.

Wenge, West Africa

Wenge has white sapwood, mature wood ranges in colour from yellow-brown to deep dark brown with black veins. The timber is stable, but heavy. It is difficult to work and process because of a high mineral oil content. Density: 850-950 kg/m3, Brinell hardness: 4,2.

Hornbeam, Europe, Asia Minor, Iran

Hornbeam wood is cream-coloured with white and grey overtones. It is heavy, but still resilient, with a luster surface. Hornbeam is relatively difficult to work because of interlocked grains. The wood is slow and difficult to dry. Density: 750 kg/m3, Brinell hardness: 3,5.

Pear, Europe

Pear sapwood and mature wood have a tender rose tint and fine graining, with slightly marked pores and annual rings. The timber is relatively hard and heavy, but has a notable tendency to warp. Density: 700-750 kg/m3, Brinell hardness: 3,2.

Douglas-Fir, Germany

Douglas-fir is an evergreen coniferous species, with a wood structure generally resembling that of the firs. Mature wood has a warm orange-brown colour with pink and yellow tints. Brinell hardness: 2,7.

Kempas, Southeast Asia

Kempas wood ranges in colour from golden-red to orange-brown, with veining texture. The timber is very hard and heavy, and can be also very durable – under favourable conditions. Kempas is easy to sand and drill. Density: 700 kg/m3, Brinell hardness: 7.

Mahogany, Central America

Mahogany and Sipo (the African variety of Mahogany) have a reddish-brown color. The grain and texture can be different. The wood is strong, easy to polish, and withstands impacts. Density: 620-650 kg/m3, Brinell hardness: 3,2.

Alder, Europe, Asia Minor, North America

Alder mature wood is light-coloured, with reddish-orange sapwood and brown-speckled heartwood. Alder darkens on exposure to the air. The timber is resistant to warping. Alder has a fine and straight graining. Density: 430-640 kg/m3, Brinell hardness: 2,5.

Hard Pine, Honduras

Botanical name: Pinus resinosa. Hard Pine is light-coloured. The timber is rather durable. Brinell hardness: 3,7.

Smoked Oak, Europe

Smoked Oak is dark-coloured. The timber is strong and easy to work. Brinell hardness: 3,7.

Siberian Larch, Siberia

Larch is a particularly strong wood: it is 30% harder and more durable than Pine. Mature wood is brown-coloured, with streaky heartwood and peculiar graining. The timber is rot-proof and moisture-resistant. Density: 650 kg/m3, Brinell hardness: 3,2.

Scots Pine, Scandinavia

Scots Pine is a coniferous tree. The wood is easy to work. The colour varies from light to reddish-brown. Density: 520 kg/m3, Brinell hardness: 2,3.

Norway Spruce, Scandinavia

Spruce wood is soft, light, evenly toned, white-coloured, with yellow overtones. Spruce is a sapwood tree. It changes colour slowly. The timber contains few resins. It is resistant to splitting. Spruce is rather difficult to work. Density: 450 kg/m3, Brinell hardness: 2,3.

Sapelli, West Africa

Sapelli, or Sapele, is a large tree, grows up to 45 m high and higher. Botanical name: Entandrophragma cylindricum. The wood dries quickly, with a tendency to deformation, but it is much harder than Mahogany. Sapelli is as durable as Oak, and has about the same bending strength. Sapelli is easy to process and work, but rather difficult to shape and profile. The wood colour is pinky-brown with a tendency to reddish-yellow. Sapelli has a smooth fine graining and a pleasant cedar smell. Density: 690 kg/m3, Monnin hardness: 4,2.

Hickory, North America

The other name is "Carya". Hickory grows very slowly, and reaches its maturity at the age of 300-400. The tree grows to a height of 30-35 m, with a trunk circumference of 1,2 m. The wood is brown-coloured, with light-brown sapwood. The graining varies from straight to wavy, with marked annual rings. Hickory wood is very hard, very stiff, very dense, but suitable for bending. Density: 815 kg/m3, Janka hardness: 1820.

Afrormosia, Equatorial Africa

A beautiful refined Afrormosia wood is often used as decorative element of mosaic floors. The timber is hard and heavy, but easy to process and sand. Afrormosia mature wood has a yellow-brown colour with dark highlights. The species has a generally straight grain. Density: 700-800 kg/m3, Brinell hardness: 3,7.

Bubinga, Equatorial Africa

Bubinga, or Kevazingo, occurs in swampy or periodically inundated forests, as well as near rivers or at lakeshores. The wood of this exotic species is notable for its excellent durability. The timber is rather difficult to work and sand, but easy to screw. Bubinga wood can vary from light brown to dark brown and red, with red or almost purple sapwood. Density: 960 kg/m3.

Doussie, West Africa

Doussie has a very stable and hard wood that is easy to sand and polish. The timber is weather-resistant. The wood contains a lot of oily substances; make sure that you have chosen oil-compatible adhesives and lacquers. Doussie has a reddish-brown colour. The species is suitable for decorative use. Density: 800 kg/m3, Brinell hardness: 4.

Hevea, South America

Evergreen Hevea is a so-called rubber tree, the primary source of natural rubber. Hevea wood is highly resistant to moisture and temperature drops. The species is known for its strength and durability (is equal to or even stronger than Oak and Teak). The timber is easy to polish. The treated surface gains luster. Hevea can vary from whitish to light brown with a pink tinge.

Iroko, West Africa

Other names: Mvule, Odoum, African Teak, Oroko, Rokko. The tree may reach a height of 48 m with a trunk circumference of 3 m. Iroko mature wood ranges in colour from light brown to dark chocolate brown with lighter markings. Sapwood has a pale yellowish-brown tint. Density: 672 kg/m3.

Cork, the Western Mediterranean

Cork is a thick, insulating bark of Cork Oak which occurs at a height of up to 500 m. The tree grows to up to 20 m, with a trunk of up to 1 m. The harvesting of cork does not harm the tree. In fact, no trees are cut down during the harvesting process: cork harvesting is done entirely manually. Cork floors are always warm, very durable, easy to clean, and slip-resistant.

Olive, the Mediterranean

The yellow-white Olive wood is often finely veined with a reddish tint. Being very hard, shrinkage-resistant and close-grained, Olive is suitable for decorative use. The timber is oily; when the wood is exposed to sanding, the oils evaporate, and an exceptional aroma exhales from the surface. Brinell hardness: 6.

Sucupira, South Africa

Sucupira wood is very hard and heavy. It has a good resistance to insect pests. The timber is oily, so it is difficult to work, but can be sanded and polished. The species requires a slow drying. The mature wood is red-brown with light yellowish veins. Sapwood is practically not demarcated. Density: 950-1050 kg/m3, Brinell hardness: 4,3.

Padouk, Burma and Thailand

Padouk is a tree growing to up to 25 m, with a trunk circumference of up to 0,5 m diameter. The wood varies from light yellow-brown to fading blood red with dark streaks. The colour fades over time to a warm brown. The timber is very hard and durable; it is difficult to process and work. As classical rosewood, Padouk has a delicate pleasant aroma. Density: 830-860 kg/m3, Brinell hardness: 4,5.

Zebrano, Central Africa

Zebrano wood has a unique tint: it varies from grey-brown to golden-brown, with dense dark brown longitudinal streaks. Zebrano is suitable for decorative use. It is easy to sand and polish. The wood is hard and heavy, with a luster surface and coarse grains, which are sometimes interlocked. Density: 690-740 kg/m3, Brinell hardness: 3.

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