Wood has many applications. All wood can be used for lumber, furniture, turning. But some species proved better for specific applications. Only notable applications or properties of common native species are listed.

Evergreens are generally softer than hardwood. The species most commonly used in the Netherlands are coniferous spruce (Picea abies, Norway spruce) and pine (Pinus sylvestris, Scots pine).
Juniper (Juniperus communis), Scotch Pine (Pinus sylvestris) and Yew (Taxaceae) are our three native conifer species.

Silver fir (Abies alba): furniture, small items, cheese boards, packaging.

Scotch Pine (Pinus sylvestris): carpentry, masts, trusses. Scots pine was used as mine wood because the struts, started to crack long before they succumbed and so alerted the miners to a collapse.

Deciduous trees

typeswoodWhen farmers in the 70s got a grubbing bonus to ‘clean’ (uncomfortable (high) and less productive than low strain monoculture) their tall fruit trees I have felled hundreds. (Well, sorry). About ear protection we had never heard. However chainsaws. With permanent hearing damage as a result. There are many species and kinds lost. Twenty years later, the same government gave bonuses to tall plant again.... With little success.
The wood was mostly firewood. Of apple trees a farmer wanted to saw planks. (So big and thick fruit trees then were allowed to grow.) Because, according to him, it is the only type of wood that is not broken and eaten by pigs. I remembered, but never found anywhere confirmation.
Deciduous trees are lose leaves and do not grow in the winter. Conifers a bit.

Pine has a white to yellowish color difference between sapwood and light - yellow to reddish brown heartwood. It is used for carpentry, trusses etc. When processing you smell a distinct odor of turpentine.

Spruce (Picea abies or excels) is smooth creamy with plain rings, lighter, and is mainly used for paper, poles and board stuff.

Fir (wood) as word is (also) used for the genus Abies (fir or pine), has a straight grain and is whitish. The sapwood is indistinguishable from the heartwood. Applications: roof, boxes.

apple (Malus sylvestris) continues to warp long, except after two years of watering. For pig pens?
birch (Betula pendula): toys, tennis racket
beech (Fagus sylvatica): bendable without upsetting, furniture, kitchenware (tasteless), toys,.. Beech splinter barely.
box(wood) (Buxus sempervirens): handles of knives, teeth of gears in mills, rods or lantern pinion gears, axles, wheels, wind instruments (nozzles), spindles, rulers, spatulas. Strong, dense and smooth. Root wood for pipe bowls.
oak (Quercus): vessels, ships, construction, stairs. Iron creates by tannic acid strong discoloration.
alder (Alnus glutinosa L.) soft, tough, durable (underwater (also elm)) used as a handle and shaft wood, brush shaft, turning and underwater structures. Half Venice is built on alder piles, pillars of the Rialto Bridge in Venice have defied centuries. Formerly also for water pipes, pumps, drains.. used.
ash (Fraxinus excelsior): tough, ski, (hockey, golf) sticks, tools, shafts, spears, cue, skate, oars, ladder rungs, flexible (tennis racket), gymnastics equipment, pulleys (lignum vitae for the disk), can withstand wet, there are even made ever water pipes ​​from.
maple (regular -) (acer pseudoplatanus): toys (string) instruments, mangle rollers, buttons, violin back
hornbeam (Carpinus betulus L.): butcher chopping block (almost not absorbing humidity, does not taste), piano keys, parquet, parts of musical instruments, drumsticks, mallets, taps for casks, gears, pulleys, clamps, sledge beams, skis
holly (Ilex aquifolium): (doesn’t splinter) combs, wands (!)
elm (Ulmus): wheelbarrow, wheels, mill parts, hubs, hammers, wooden pumps. Cleave and ignites difficult. Rarer since elm disease, a fungus in the xylem, spread by elm bark beetle (Scolytus). In the years 1970 and 2000 there was a devastating wave of this highly contagious plague.
chestnut (castanea sativa): poles, fence, outdoor work (untreated, durable)
cherry (Prunus avium): veneer, instruments, rifle butts. There are unfortunately little tall logs.
larch (European, Larix decidua) provides according to ancient scriptures good resistance to worms and fire (partially refractory). Beaten into the ground was it as hard as a rock.
linden (Tilia): turning (Russian dolls), toys
walnut (Juglans regia): interior joinery, piano cabinets
pears (Pyrus communis L.): flute, wine press, rigid glass blowing forms,’printing blocks’ with cut out letters for printing, rulers, machine parts, spinning wheels, brush backs, utensils, cones, umbrella sticks, toys, buttons and screws
poplar (Populus alba L.) clogs, matches, packaging (cheese box to pallet)
locust (Robinia pseudoacacia): Robinia is the most durable wood that grows in our climate.
Construction wood, laminated beams, bridge components, sheet piling, poles, barrels, garden and street furniture, decking, dowels, wagon trees, wheels, ladder rungs, gears, drum sticks, combs, oil presses, shafts, rakes, harrows, hubs, spokes, gears
buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula) splits very straight and flat and were therefore used as wattle (braids for mud walls), slats for bees comb in the hive making, and wooden nails, mainly to fix soles. (including shoes and clogs)
yew (Taxus baccata L.): (resin -free wood!) bows, spears. May be 2,000 years old. (The berry is poisonous.)
elderberry (Sambucus nigra) (blow) pipes, tubes, flutes
willow (Salix alba L.): clogs, (baskets)

The black poplar (Populus nigra) by cultivars as the Canada Poplar (an intersection of the black poplar with an American poplar) is an endangered species in Europe. It was the European production tree par excellence, especially for roof carpentry.
I heard that they were best harvested in November at waning moon. Then they would be(come) almost untouchable after two years of drying, and strong as oak. Whether it's true? I do not know. But it indicates that our ancestors observed well and (rightly or wrongly) put connections and links, and passed on their knowledge for generations.

Hornbeam (carpinus betulus), recognizable by its "muscle" strain relief, has wood fibers very intertwined and twisted. It is therefore hardly or not to be cleaved. But thanks to that property it is used to make heads for wooden hammers. And other striking tools, such as teeth for wood mill wheels. And possibly flails.

An alternative, wood with a similar structure, is the lower 50 cm of the trunk of a birch.


The American oak wood is much less durable than that of the European summer and sessile oak.

Sessile usually has a longer, straighter trunk than oak. Therefore, the heartwood of sessile oak is used to make mega-barrels and vats (thousands of liters!) for fermented beverages.

Not only trees, shrubs also provide (sometimes very good) usable wood.

juniper (Juniperus communis): poles, pipes, buckets
euonymus (Euonymus europaeus): the branch seems squarely by corky lines. She has a dirty, poisonous fruit. The wood is used for coils, bobbins of spinning wheels, tools and pipes, toothpicks, needles, skewers, chess pieces, charcoal for gunpowder, bird cages. Dried crushed seeds were used as insecticide against lice.
cherry dogwood (Cornus mas): The yellow berry is used for jam, brandy, wine.. The timber (forge) hammer steal, walking sticks, drumsticks.

hawthorn (Crataegus) wood is very hard and was used as a scaffold block (for beheadings), steal, fine carving, walking sticks, harrow tines, cogs in mills and hammers (hammer mills).

Lots of info about other types of wood can be found at http://www.houtinfo.nl/main.php?mn=0&id=1002

A special exotic that I still think worth noting:
Lignum vitae (Guaiacum officinale L.) comes from the Caribbean and Central America. It is very hard and one of the hardest woods. Fresh sawn is a little green and the specific gravity may even mount to 1,500 kg /m3!
Lignum vitae is very hard but easy to work and turn. It is naturally fat, so ”self-lubricating” and very suitable for bearings, sliding blocks and plane soles, ships shafts bearings, windmill construction, axl bearing, gears, pulleys, hammer heads for sheet metal, razor clams, etc.. Because it is so durable, it is also used in the chemical industry where nylon melts and stainless steel rusts. For propeller shaft for ships lignum vitae is still used.