What type of wood?

Before I could start building my coffee table for my EC&I 831 learning project, I needed some supplies. Luckily, I had a shop available to use with a ton of tools. However, I needed wood. From my design, I knew the sizes of wood I would need and the lengths I needed them to be. But, one major question remained: What type of wood should I buy?

I tried some searching online to see what I could learn about selecting wood. This reddit post was very detailed, but didn’t provide much insight into what type to buy, just the order you should pick things up in the store. If you want to get really technical, The Art of Manliness has a very detailed guide to picking lumber I found. I found the following video to be quick and straightforward:


This video by Wood and Shop was a little more advanced than my needs for this project, but has been bookmarked for any possible future projects I will do.

After a while researching, here are a couple of tips for getting wood for a project that I obtained:

  • Always buy more than you need. Extra will be useful for any mistakes you make (I’m anticipating many…)
  • Check for warping, twisting, or winding. The straighter and flatter the wood is, the less you’ll have to fight it.
  • Check for checking (splits or cracks) and knots in the wood.
  • Have a friend with a truck.
  • Check the moisture (I didn’t do this and was delayed waiting for it to dry)

Ultimately, my decision came down to what was reasonable. Since this is my first go at things, I settled on what Lowe’s had and went with what they recommended: cedar. It was fairly soft and marked up quite easily, even from a fingernail.


Because of this wood choice, I’ll need to ensure I have a good polyurethane coat to protect the project when it’s complete. The next step is to make my measurements and cuts.

Regarding learning this online, I found that just heading to a place that sells wood to be more useful. There is a ton of information online, which I’m sure is good. But, if you can talk face to face to an expert, they can guide their recommendation based on your experience and specific project. Perhaps this could be done with a video conference call or through tweeting experts, but it’s probably more effective just to head to where you’ll already be going to make your purchase.

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Cuts for the Table

This post is part of my EC&I 831 Learning project. I had my plan. I had my supplies. Now it was the scary…