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Wood Species


All of the wood at Western Dovetail is carefully selected and color matched for each order and most of the species listed are available FSC® Certified upon request. Western Dovetail has been offering FSC certified products since 1998. FSC certified means you can be assured that the materials used are from responsibly managed sources. All materials are available in 3 grades; Natural, Select and Premium. Examples of the 3 different grades are described below with hard maple. All orders are made from “Natural” unless Select or Premium are requested.

FSC Certified Hard Maple

FSC Certified Hard Maple Wood Species Sample

Hard Maple (“Natural”) FSC Certified Available

Natural Hard Rock Maple is our standard material.  Our Hard Maple is from the Northeastern United States and Canada and is generally consistent in color.  The term “Natural” allows for 40% natural color variation, and a minimum of heartwood, but no open knots .

Natural Hard Maple Wood Species Sample

Hard Maple (“Select”)

Select Hard Maple is hand selected to be free of defects and is clear material with minimal 20% color variation. This material has minimal heartwood, worm tracks, and pin knots and is suitable for the finest furniture and cabinetry where consistent “Hard Maple” color is necessary.

Premium Hard Maple Wood Species Sample

Hard Maple ( “Premium”)

Premium Hard Maple is selected to the highest quality standard.  This material has carefully color matched glue-ups and is selected for white color with no heart wood and no mineral streaks or color variation more than 10%. Premium maple should be reserved for jobs of the finest quality.

Western Maple or Big Leaf Maple Wood Species Sample

Western Big Leaf Maple

Western Big Leaf Maple is softer and darker than Hard Maple, but it is consistent in color and less expensive than Hard Maple.  Western Big Leaf Maple, also known as Pacific Coast Maple, is grown in the Northwest region of the United States. To enhance the stability and consistency of color, this wood is steam dried which gives it the reddish brown color similar to Alder or Beech.

Soft Maple Wood Species Sample

Soft Maple (FSC Certified Available)

Soft White Maple is widely used for making dovetailed drawers.  The color can vary and have grey mineral streaks and worm tracks.  The material is softer than typical Hard Maple making it easier to sink screws in, and the cost can be significantly less than Hard Maple..  Natural grade has significant color variation, however “Select“ grade tends to be consistent color, and Premium grade is very nice and white with color matched glue-ups.

European Steamed Beech Wood Species Sample

European Beechwood

European Beech is the traditional European choice for finely crafted dovetailed drawers.  This material is also steamed to give it more stability and consistent color.  European Beech is very clean and uniform with virtually no defects or color variation.

Cherry Wood Species Sample


Western Dovetail’s Cherry is carefully selected for consistent red color so that it will compliment the finest Cherry cabinetry. “Natural Cherry” has more character with minimal sap and pitch and some small knots. “Select Cherry” has no sap or knots but may have some pitch streaks.

Aromatic Cedar Wood Species Sample

Aromatic Cedar

Aromatic Cedar is great for closet drawers and dressers.  This material has a distinctive smell, it keeps clothes smelling fresh and keeps the moths away.  “Natural Aromatic Cedar” typically has small exposed knots.

White Birch Wood Species Sample

Solid Birch

Birch is available in “Solid Birch” which is a consistent light yellow color, similar to the color and grain of Baltic Birch plywood.  Domestic Solid Birch varies by region in grade and color which can be specified per order. 

White Birch (Baltic Birch) Plywood Sample

1/2” 9-Ply Birch and Maple Plywood

FSC Certified plywood is available by request

9-ply birch is the least expensive way to get assembled and finished product. Pre-Finished material is completely finished before assembly so finish charges do not apply. Unfinished 9-ply birch is also available and can be custom finished for high-end jobs upon request.

Aspen Wood Species Sample

Aspen *

Solid Aspen is the new low cost solid wood.  This wood is light weight, light in color and light on the wallet.  Nice clean consistent color. It is much softer than maple, so it is not as durable, but it looks great and is much nicer than plywood, for just a little more.

White Oak Wood Species Sample

White Oak

White Oak is the old European and American standard for furniture drawers.  Most desks and file cabinets made over 100 years ago were filled with Quarter-sawn White Oak drawers. White Oak drawers can be made in rift, quartered or plain sawn materials.  Always specify what type of White Oak is needed for the project.

Red Oak Wood Species Sample

Red Oak

Red Oak is the more modern standard in furnishings.  Only the finest northern Red Oak is used in Western Dovetail drawers.  Red oak is a good strong solid material for drawers. The grain is coarse and it does have a tendency to splinter occasionally.

Walnut Wood Species Sample


“Select Walnut” with consistent dark color is available for that distinctive project where a dark color is desired when only the best will do. “Natural Walnut” has more character and color variation and some wild grain.

VG Fir Wood Species Sample

V.G. Fir

All Clear Kiln Dried Vertical Grain Douglas Fir.  VG Fir is great for architectural millwork jobs or authentic reproduction work. 

White Pine Wood Species Sample


Clear Pine or Knotty Pine can be selected to customer specifications. Knotty pine drawers are typical in rustic furnishings. 

Mahogany Wood Species Sample


African and Genuine Mahogany are both available.  We carefully select top quality mahogany for each order to customer specifications.