Skip to main content

How to Pick The Perfect Wood For Your Project


What is it about wood? The creamy color. The rustic smell. The silky texture. The curly (or not-so-curly) grain. It doesn’t take long to find that not all wood is created the same. If you’ve ever used a figured grain, you know that each wood type has a personality of its own. 

At Keim, we know that picking the perfect wood type key to your project’s success. That’s why we created a quick guide to help you do that, no matter what your skill level is. 

Beginner. If you’re new to working with wood, try Basswood or Balsa. Basswood is technically considered a hardwood, but it’s softer than most, and so it’s easier to work with. In fact, Basswood is also a solid choice for advanced projects, because it has such a broad range of uses.  But even softer than Basswood, is Balsa. This is so soft it doesn’t always hold detail well. But it’s great to use to build model buildings, airplanes etc., because it’s strong and light weight.

Intermediate. So you know a thing or two about woodworking. Keim can help take your skills the next level. (Take a look at our events page for demonstrations in our store in Charm, Ohio.) In the meantime, try your hand at Butternut wood. It’s in the Walnut family and is perfect for 3-D carving. It’s harder than Basswood, so you can get precise details. Though in a pinch, when Butternut isn’t available, Basswood is still a good staple. 

Advanced. You’ve got years of experience. Likely, you’ve also got your favorite type of wood to use. So why not stretch yourself a bit and try something new? Tupelo is a great choice, especially if you like to carve birds or duck decoys. Carving fine details (without “fuzzing up”) is easy with Tupelo. It also holds paint well. 

At Keim, we carry more than 125 species of wood from around the world. Whether online or in our store, in Charm, Ohio, you can hand-pick the perfect piece that’s right for you. And when you’ve finished your project, post a picture and tag us on Facebook or Instagram! We love seeing the results of your hard work!