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    Understanding the Different Types of Wood Floors

    Last updated 9 days ago

    Wood flooring offers a natural beauty, durability, and bacterial resistance that you won’t find in carpet. But wood flooring has changed over the years, so there are now quite a few options available if you want wood flooring in your home or business. In this article we will cover the four main types of wood floors.

    Unfinished Wood Flooring

    Wood floors need a finish, which is a sealant that protects your floor from daily wear. You can visit your local specialty woods shop and purchase unfinished wood so that your installer can sand and finish it on site. This is usually the best option for those who have a specific color in mind or want to match existing flooring.

    Factory-Finished Wood Flooring

    You can also buy wood floors that are finished by the manufacturer. This type of floor is sanded and finished before you buy it, which makes installation easier and faster than with unfinished wood flooring. Moreover, these floors are ready to walk on as soon as they are installed.

    Solid Wood Flooring

    Solid wood flooring is made from a solid piece of wood that is usually 5/16” to 3/4” thick. Solid wood flooring can be sanded and refinished many times over. It can also be installed above or on grade.

    Engineered Wood Flooring

    This type of wood flooring is made from several layers of authentic wood veneers. The top layer consists of high-quality wood, while each layer underneath features wood grain that runs in different directions. This increases the stability of the floor, which reduces expansions and contractions that occur when humidity and temperature fluctuate.

    If you are looking for hardwood flooring or laminate flooring, come to Southern Lumber, where we have been in business since 1904. Visit our website to see the range of specialty wood products we have to offer you, and call us at (408) 297-9663 if you have any questions about hardwood flooring in your home or business. 

    Tips for Creating Shelving

    Last updated 13 days ago

    Building a shelf may appear simple, but there are a lot of factors involved that affect the structural rigidity and longevity of a shelving unit. If you want to build creative shelving that is not only sturdy but distinctive, woodworking gets slightly more complicated. If you are considering building a shelf from specialty woods, keep these tips in mind to ensure woodworking success.

    Getting Started

    Begin by building the solid wood face frames, rather than the case, because the face frames is what the entire shelving unit is based on. This approach also helps you identify any design and construction flaws early on, when you’re able to correct them without throwing away much wood.

    Cutting and Assembling

    Make the face frames out of standard 3/4” material, using mortise-and-tenon construction. Begin by cutting the tenons on the rails using a table saw and a dado stack. Use those to lay the mortises on the stiles. If you are working with 3/4” material, a good rule of thumb is to make the tenons 1” long and 3/8” thick, and to cut the mortises with a hollow chisel mortiser roughly 11/16” deep. The cases should be made from 3/4” plywood, with 3/4” by 1/2”-deep dadoes cuts on the sides and 3/4” by 1/2” rabbets in the top edge of the side pieces. Drill the adjustable shelf holes next.

    Doors, Shelves, and Back

    Build the doors like you built the face frames, except remember to cut a 3/8” by 3/8” groove on the rails and stiles for the solid wood panel. For the back, use 1/2”-thick ship lapped and beaded material on the top and plywood on the bottom. Cut your shelves with plywood, then nail the moulding to it and sand the shelves.

    The process of making creative shelving takes time and expertise—and Southern Lumber would like to help. We’ve been in business since 1904, offering specialty woods, wood products, and woodworking advice to our customers. Visit our shop in the Bay Area or click over to our website for more information. If you have any questions about our inventory of specialty woods or woodworking tools, please call us at (408) 297-9663.

    Understanding How to Use a Biscuit Joiner

    Last updated 15 days ago

    If you are joining two pieces of wood, end to face, you have a number of different joinery options, such as dovetails and box joints. But if it’s important to you to hide the joinery on the edge so that you can only see the wood, one of your best options is to use a biscuit joiner. With a biscuit joiner, you can create a tight joint while reinforcing the connection between the two pieces of wood—which is especially useful when joining end grain. Watch the video clip for specific instructions on how to use a biscuit joiner for your woodworking project.

    Do you need specialty woods or woodworking supplies for your next project? If so, call the Bay Area source for high-quality wood, Southern Lumber, at (408) 297-9663. Visit our website to learn more about the custom products and supplies we offer, or visit our showroom to see all of the specialty woods we offer. 

    Factors to Consider Before You Shop for New Doors

    Last updated 19 days ago

    New wood doors are an investment in your home’s value and style. But before you start shopping for new doors, think about the exposure of your door. Does an overhang cover the door? Which direction does it face? Consider the size of your door, the wall it would attach to, and the opening. Think about the material you would like to show—paint-grade, stain-grade, fiberglass, or steel. Look at the different paint, stain, and hardware options you have as well. What type of sill and threshold would you like with your new door—oak, aluminum, or a combination? Sometimes the frame, also known as the doorjamb, needs to be replaced before installing the new door, while other times the old frame works fine.

    You will also want to decide which company you want to install and finish the door. At Southern Lumber, we have more than 105 years of experience with door installation and replacement in the Bay Area. We also offer specialty woods and woodworking supplies for our customers. For more information about our wood doors and door installation services, call us at (408) 297-9663 or visit our website.

    A Guide to Selecting Wood for Your Outdoor Project

    Last updated 20 days ago

    Wood has been used for centuries to make structures that are exposed to the elements. Today, wood experts agree that American softwoods are ideal for outdoor wood projects. There are three types of different American softwoods that are widely available and not treated with chemical preservatives. Read on to learn more about these softwoods and to find out which of these specialty woods is right for your outdoor project.

    Western Red Cedar

    This type of American softwood is usually found in the Midwest. Western red cedar is straight-grained, resistant to decay, and dimensionally stable. When prepped beforehand, western red cedar accepts all wood stains and clear finishes. One of the drawbacks of western red cedar is that it can split when driving fasteners. It also bleeds tannins, which makes using paint and fasteners difficult.


    Redwood is very similar to western red cedar in that it is straight-grained, stable, decay resistant, and prone to excreting tannins. But it is different in a number of ways. For starters, redwood is more widely available in the western United States than western red cedar. Redwood also has a deep reddish-brown color, while cedar is closer to yellowish brown. Redwood also has a tighter grain pattern and fewer knots when compared with cedar.


    Cypress often grows is swamps in the southern and southeast United States. It has a conical base and roots that appear to stand out of the water. Cypress has ash-like grain patterns, white sapwood, and heartwood colors that can be light yellow brown, reddish brown, or dark brown. When cypress grows inland it has lighter heartwood colors.

    At Southern Lumber, we carry a wide range of specialty woods that are great for any woodworking project—indoors or out. Pressure-treated pine, white oak, teak, and mahogany are other types of outdoor woods that may be suitable for your project. Learn more about the specialty woods we offer by visiting our website. And if you have any questions, please call us at (408) 297-9663.

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