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Wood Species

The infinite variety in color, grain*, and from texture is what gives wood its rich character and natural warmth. And along with all the differences among varying wood species, even within the same species, no two trees are alike. Climate, light, rainfall, and minerals in the soil all create diverse and unique grain and color patterns in each piece of wood. Because of all the variables and options available in choosing a wood species, we’ve prepared the guidelines below to assist you in selecting the right wood for the desired end result.

*Grain and color matching that is not acceptable to the customer is replaced at the customer’s expense.


Color ranges from light tan to reddish brown, with almost no distinction between heartwood and sapwood. Alder has a fine texture with partly closed, straight grain similar to cherry. Pin knots are an acceptable characteristic.

Alder, Knotty

Same as alder, except knots and burl are acceptable. Knots vary in size and shape and may be open, forming deep holes.


The color tones of ash consist of a wide range of cream to light brown with some dark streaks. Burl and pin knots are acceptable. Ash is not selected for color. Panel rips are arranged to form a reasonable blend of grain matching and wood color tones.

Ash, Select White

Same as ash except medium dark brown areas are not acceptable. Select white ash is recommended for light stain or natural finish.

Birch, Natural

A mixture of sapwood and heartwood, it is suitable for dark stains only. Color selection is not available.

Birch, White

A white to pale yellowish closed grained wood, suitable for natural finish as well as light to dark stains. No red heartwood is acceptable.


Cherry may contain some sapwood (white wood on the outer section of the log). Grain and color are matched to form a reasonable blend. Exposure to light causes cherry to darken with age, revealing a deep reddish brown tone. Gum pockets are a natural characteristic of cherry.

Cherry, Clear

Same as cherry except sapwood is not used on face. Sapwood is allowed on backs. Cherry becomes very rich in color tones when finished natural and allowed to age.


Unlike most other wood species, hickory has a unique grain pattern and variety of color tones all of its own. Our standard hickory has some knots and lots of character and is not selected for color.

Hickory, Select

Same as hickory, but with no large knots (pin knots are acceptable), it still is unique and has lots of character.


Color varies:  golden brown to light reddish color tones. Has occasional pin knots or burl. Natural Finish Grade mahogany is available upon request. If a specific grain pattern or color is required, contact Keystone before ordering.

Maple, Hard

Maple is a light brown to creamy tan wood with a subtle grain pattern and is suitable for light to dark stains. Some mineral is acceptable.

Maple, Select Hard White

Same as maple except reddish brown heartwood or mineral is not acceptable. Select white maple is recommended for light stains or natural finish.

Maple, Soft

Used mostly for drawers and paint grade doors, soft maple has a range of creamy white to brown to gray color tones. Color is not selected. Soft maple is not recommended for stain or natural finish.

Paint Grade

Paint grade doors and drawer fronts are usually made from soft maple as described above.

Paint Grade — Superior Green

Product rails and stiles are solid soft maple. Panels are Plum Creek Glacier GreenTM MDF. Plum Creek’s MDF engineered wood panels are valued for their smooth, unblemished surfaces and homogeneous cores, and provide unsurpassed ease of finishing. For more on Glacier Green MDF panel material, visit the Plum Creek website.


Heartwood ranges from a pale, grayish brown to a reddish-purple hue and is not always easily distinguished from the pale white sapwood. Paulownia is a lightweight wood with straight, open grain that is stable in various environments—making it the perfect selection for boating applications.

Pine, Clear

A completely clear grade of pine with no knots. Blue stain is not acceptable.

Pine, Knotty

Our knotty pine, a New England furniture grade, has tight red knots and is suitable for rustic style cabinetry. Filled or loose knots and blue stain are not acceptable.


A soft hardwood, it has a pale yellowish to white color with some green and brown mineral. Not selected for color. Typically used as a paint grade.


The inner core is constructed of lightweight  multi-ply Northwest whitewood, giving it a high screw hold rating of over 300 pounds. The outer crossbands are a high-quality veneered medium-density fiberboard, which acts to prevent telegraphing of the wood grain to the outer surface. It is available in most wood species and finishing options.

Red Oak

Red Oak is not selected for color. Defects such as knots and splits are removed. Character, such as burl and pin knots, is acceptable. Mineral is acceptable in the range of 1/8″ wide x 5″ long. Panel rips are arranged to form a reasonable blend of grain matching and color tones.

Red Oak, Select

Dark and medium dark color tones and mineral are not used. Burl and pin knots are acceptable. Select Red Oak is recommended for light stains and natural finish.


Walnut may have up to 15% sapwood. Burl and pin knots are acceptable.

Walnut, Clear

Sapwood is not acceptable on the face of a door.

White Oak

A tight open grained wood with light brown to greenish gray color tones. Pin knots and burl are allowed. Not selected for color. Panel rips are arranged to form a reasonable blend of grain matching and color tones.

White Oak, Quartersawn

Quartersawn is different than plainsawn only in the way it is cut at the sawmill. Quartersawn is cut radially to the rings or parallel to the rays and produces an edge-grained appearance and is especially suited for reproductions of furniture or cabinetry.

White Oak, Rift Cut

Rift cut, like quartersawn oak is different than plainsawn only in the way it is cut at the sawmill. Plainsawn has growth rings that are less than 30˚. Rift cut lumber has growth rings that have a range of 30˚ to 60˚ producing a tight, vertical grain.

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