FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

We are always adding to our list of frequently asked questions. If you do not see the answer to your particular question, please contact us and we will be happy to further assist you.

What is the difference between hardwoods and softwoods?
Hardwoods are derived from deciduous tree species. These are trees that produce leaves and fruit or nuts in the spring and summer and lose their leaves for the winter.

Wightman Specialty Woods carries the following hardwood species: Basswood, Birch, Black Walnut, Butternut, Cherry, Hickory, Hard Maple, Red Oak, Soft Maple, White Ash, and White Oak.

Softwoods are derived from conifer tree species. These trees produce needles which remain on the trees through the entire year. Wightman Specialty Woods carries the following softwood species: Eastern Hemlock, Eastern White Pine.
 


How do hardwoods and softwoods respond to changes in moisture?
   
Moisture is the key component in wood that must be managed correctly, which is why the drying process is so critical to our manufacturing. Excess moisture in wood will cause it to warp, cup, twist and bend. Hardwoods tend to pick up moisture more quickly and easily than softwoods, which is why we recommend hardwoods for interior use only. We dry all of our hardwoods to 6-8% moisture content; all of our softwoods are dried to 10-12% moisture content.
 


How do the change in seasons affect wood?

The key, again, is moisture content! During the time of year when air moisture levels are higher (the spring and summer months here in the Northeastern United States) wood tends to expand as it picks up the moisture from the air. This is why wood doors or wood cabinets sometimes become difficult to close in the summer months - it is because the wood has expanded.

During the time of year when air moisture levels are lower (fall and winter) wood tends to contract as it loses the moisture that it picked up during the summer months. This is why you sometimes see a gap between your cabinet doors in the winter.
 


Can I use hardwoods for exterior projects?

We recommend using hardwoods for interior projects only. Unlike softwoods, hardwoods are not weather resistant and will warp and discolor if placed outside for extended periods of time.
 

Can I use softwoods for exterior projects?

Yes. Softwoods, including Eastern White Pine, and Eastern Hemlock, are often used for outdoor projects such as siding and decking.
 


How durable is solid hardwood flooring?

Solid hardwood floors will last a lifetime because of their excellent shock resistance and ability to withstand scratching and denting. If a hardwood floor does begin to show signs of wear over time, it may be refinished a number of times to restore it to its original appearance.

Different hardwoods have different levels of "hardness", meaning their ability to withstand scratching and denting. Of our hardwood flooring products, Maple has the highest level of hardness, followed by White Ash, Red Oak, and Cherry.
 


How durable is Eastern White Pine flooring?

As it is a softwood, Eastern White Pine flooring is not as resistant to wear and tear as hardwood flooring, therefore many of our customers choose to place Eastern White Pine flooring in lower traffic areas.

Just like hardwood floors, Eastern White Pine floors may be refinished a number of times to restore them to their original appearance.
 


What kinds of flooring does Wightman Specialty Woods sell?


We sell unfinished solid hardwood and Eastern White Pine flooring. Our unfinished wood floors require sanding and finishing once installed.


How should I finish my hardwood or pine floor?

There are many different types of flooring finishes available in hardware stores and at large retail outlets. We recommend that you discuss the different options with a professional at these locations to determine the best finish for your taste.
 


How should I maintain my hardwood or pine floor?

Hardwood and pine floors require little maintenance once installed and finished. Aside from frequent sweeping, which will remove any dirt or debris that could cause denting or scratching, your floors require little additional maintenance. Harsh abrasives or cleaning products should not be used on hardwood or pine floors.
 


Why should I immediately install a hardwood or pine floor from Wightman Specialty Woods?

We keep all of our hardwood flooring in temperature and moisture controlled areas, therefore, all flooring leaving our facility is dried to the correct moisture content (6-8% for hardwoods and 10-12% for Eastern White Pine).

We recommend that you install your floor within one week of receipt so that the wood is at this moisture content level when it is installed. After approximately one week the wood may begin to pick up moisture from wherever you have it stored. As discussed previously, excess moisture in wood causes expansion and often times warping, therefore the pieces of flooring may not fit together correctly if they are allowed to sit for more than one week.
 


Does Wightman Specialty Woods accept custom orders?

Yes. If our stock items do not meet your project specifications, providing we have the materials, we are able to mill a variety of custom products to suit your needs.
 
Does Wightman Specialty Woods have custom moulding profiles?
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Yes. In addition to our stock mouldings, we have over 400 custom moulding profiles in our database. 
 


Can I make my own custom moulding profile?


Absolutely. If our profiles do not match your specifications and you have a sample of the moulding that you would like to replicate, we can custom grind knives to match your existing moulding profile. *However, please note that we are not able to make curved or dentil mouldings.

What are some other resources relating to wood?

Please refer to the links below:


Free Woodworking Stuff - Links to many free woodworking books, magazines, and much more


Hardwood Information Center - Uses of hardwoods in the home; tips for homeowners on selection and care of hardwoods


The DIY Source - One stop shopping for the Do-It-Yourself individual information specific to woodworking


Northeastern Woodworkers Association - Amateur and professional woodworkers


Wood Carving - How to Turn  a Hobby into a Profitable Hobby


Woodweb - Comprehensive site for woodworking professionals


WoodWorkWeb - Linking woodworkers, woodworking clubs, resources and suppliers