The Best Wood for Turning on a Lathe Is Fresh, Dry, and Hard

There are many different types of wood that can be used for turning. Some woods are better than others, depending on the project. For example, if you are looking for a wood that is easy to turn and takes a good finish, then hardwoods like maple or cherry would be a good choice. If you are looking for a wood that is strong and durable, then woods like oak or walnut would be a better choice. Ultimately, the best wood for turning depends on the project you are working on and your personal preferences.

Reader’s Choice – Top Woods to Turn. With so much effort put into such a small piece of wood, turners are very serious about their stock

There are many different types of wood that can be used for turning, but some woods are better than others. The best woods for turning depend on the type of project you’re working on and your personal preferences.

Hardwoods are generally the best type of wood to use for turning because they’re strong and durable. Some of the most popular hardwoods for turning include maple, oak, cherry, and walnut. These woods will hold up well to extensive sanding and finishing, so they’re ideal for projects that require a high level of detail work.

Softer woods like pine or poplar can also be used for turning, but they’re not as strong as hardwoods and may not stand up to heavy use. These woods are more suited for smaller projects or those that don’t require as much detail work.

Figured Maple. There are several types of figured maple including curl, fiddle back, spalted, tiger, birds-eye, and more

Figured maple is a type of wood with a beautiful grain pattern that can be used for a variety of woodworking projects. The most common type of figured maple is curl maple, which has a curly grain pattern that resembles waves or ripples. Fiddleback maple has a similar grain pattern, but the curves are more pronounced and the overall effect is more like that of a fiddle back chair. Spalted maple has dark streaks running through the light-colored wood, giving it a unique look. Tiger maple has tiger-like stripes running through the wood, while birds-eye maple has small circles dotting the surface of the wood.

Figured Maple is prized for its unique grain patterns and its ability to take on a high polish. It is often used in furniture making and other high-end applications where its beauty can be showcased to best effect. Figured Maple can be difficult to work with because of its irregular grain patterns, but the results are worth the extra effort.

When choosing figured maple for your project, it’s important to select boards that have similar figuring so that your project will have a consistent look. You should also avoid using boards with large knots or voids, as these can cause problems when working with the wood.


If you are looking for a wood that will give your project a high-quality look and feel, then walnut is definitely the way to go. It is also a great choice if you are looking for a wood that is both strong and beautiful.


Cherry is a hardwood that is known for its beautiful reddish-brown color. It’s also a very strong and durable wood, which makes it ideal for turning. Cherry is also easy to work with and takes stain and finish well, so it’s perfect for creating stunning turned projects.

If you’re looking for a wood that is both beautiful and strong, then cherry is definitely the way to go.


Boxelder is often considered to be a weed tree because of its rapid growth and ability to spread quickly through root suckering. However, the wood of the boxelder tree is actually quite valuable. It is light in weight and has a close grain that makes it easy to work with. Boxelder wood turns well on a la the and can be used for making bowls, plates, spindles, and other turned objects.

If you are looking for an inexpensive wood for turning projects, boxelder may be the perfect choice for you.


Rosewood is a hardwood that is commonly used for turning. It is known for its beautiful grain and rich color, which can range from a deep brown to a reddish hue. Rosewood is also very strong and durable, making it an ideal choice for projects that require a high level of wear and tear resistance. When selecting rosewood for your project, be sure to choose pieces that are free of cracks or defects, as these can cause the wood to split or break during the turning process.

Red Elm

Red Elm Uses

The wood of the red elm tree has been used for a variety of purposes including: lumber, veneer, furniture, flooring, tool handles, cooperage (barrel making), and firewood. The strong wood was once used to make bows and arrows due to its flexibility and resilience. Red elm heartwood is very resistant to rot and decay making it ideal for use in outdoor applications such as fence posts or landscaping timbers.