Materials you will be working with; natural timber and manufactured board

You will be working with a variety of wood (timber) in the years ahead. Here is an introduction into the types of natural timber (straight from nature) and manufactured boards you will make things from.

1.WOOD - Hardwood and Softwood


There are only 2 types of trees in the world. Those that grow and lose their leaves every year, and those that do not. Large flat leaves, like these below, grow and fall from HARDWOOD trees every autumn.

A broad leaf - hardwood trees

Hardwood is very expensive and is usually easier to cut and work with. Balsa wood is very light in weight and soft, but is, in fact, a hardwood. Most hardwoods have a beautiful grain and colour; here are some famous ones with examples of what they are used to make:
Mahogany- doors. tables etc.

Mahogany - doors, tables etc.
Beech - woodwork benches.
Oak - boats. sailing ships.

This is how both types of trees usually look;

Softwood tree - hardwood tree

The most famous examples of softwood timber is a Christmas tree. Softwood trees have “needle” shaped leaves, as shown below.

Needle shaped leaves

These leaves never fall from the tree.

The type of leaf, and if it falls from a tree, decides if the tree belongs to the!
Hardwood or Softwood group.

Many softwoods are hard to cut and work with. They are also known as evergreens. Here is a list of the more commonly known softwoods; Pine, Douglas Fir, Deal and Spruce. These softwoods are generally used to make window frames and pine furniture.


Large flat sheets of board are produced In factories and are known as Manufactured Board. They are made by mixing different scraps of waste wood together. They can be very strong as they do not split “along the grain”. Here is a list of some manufactured boards you may have seen or heard of.

Thin layers sandwiched together. Used for table-tennis table-tops and bats.

Chips of wood are glued together. Used for self-assembly furniture, e.g.IKEA. wardrobes, desks, kitchen cupboards and units etc.

This is like chipboard but it is thicker,smoother and better quality. You will use MDF to make biscuit cutter moulds with.