You have many options when selecting domestic, new growth wood for your project. You should consider things like hardness, typical grain size / patterns, color and finish. On the northshore of Massachusetts and Seacoast, NH, Highland Hardwoods is a great resource.
Pine, ash, alder, maple, oak, cherry, walnut, etc. can all be great candidates for furniture and other projects. It totally depends on your preference and needs.
Here’s a bit more detail on some of my favs:
Eastern White Pine
EWP grows slowly in northern climates and the result is a high quality and stable product. It provides traditional warmth and character and has been use by craftsmen for years. This ranks 380 on the Janka hardness scale (soft wood). It will likely get marked up if used for a table but will add character over the years! Highland hardwoods carries select EWP boards and is priced a bit higher than hard maple.
Think of super old tables in your local dive bar or those wide pine plank floors in classic New England homes.
This is a very popular wood used in woodworking and furniture making. It is very pliable, has a similar hardness to red oak (1,320 on the Janka scale), finished beautifully, and is abundantly available. This also makes it about 15% cheaper than red oak, on average. Use White Ash while you can because it is in serious danger from the emerald ash borer!
I personally love White Ash!
Black walnut is a beautiful color and is great for furniture, live edge work, etc. It often doesn’t need staining but instead a natural oil to bring out the true beauty / color. American Black Walnut is only slightly harder than Cherry (1,010), but is very stable. It’s rarity and beauty will cost about 40% more than cherry and almost 2.5 times the cost of White Ash!
Having furniture made from black walnut will seriously step up your interior design game!
Do you have a favorite domestic wood species?? (comment below)
-Mr Dana (Owner & Maker)