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10 best types of timber for doors, windows & bespoke furniture

A guide to using the best timber species to suit the job and perform well in New Zealand’s climate

CT Timber Joinery manufactures timber doors and windows using premium quality timber species designed specifically for that purpose. We find:

  • The best wood for doors is Alaskan yellow cedar and Western red cedar
  • The best wood for windows is Alaskan yellow cedar and Western red cedar
  • The best wood for door and window frames is finger jointed pine
  • The best wood for bespoke furniture is oak, ash and rosewood

Our top 3 timbers of choice are Finger jointed pine, Alaskan yellow cedar and Western red cedar as they all perform well in our climate. We carry significant stock of all of these, enabling us to maintain our prices and meet your delivery schedules.

1. Western Red Cedar

Hard wearing painted door leaves and window sashes

CT Timber Joinery uses Western red cedar  for the majority of our timber door leaves and window sashes where a natural timber finish is preferred.

Western Red Cedar is prized for its resistance to decay and its outstanding natural beauty. Its rich cinnamon, amber and sienna colour combination introduces warmth, depth and character to a home.

Red cedar can be stained and varnished to preserve its look, as long exposure to the weather will turn unprotected Western Red Cedar timbers grey. This weathered look is particularly sought after for external cladding and joinery in contemporary buildings.

  • More expensive than yellow cedar
  • Recommended for larger sliding doors and bifold doors
  • Highly durable
  • Decay resistant
  • Beautiful natural finish
  • Absorbs varnish and oils well
Species Thuja Plicata
Country of Origin USA and Canada
Air Dry Density 390kgs/m3
Durability Highly durable

2. Alaskan Yellow Cedar

Naturally beautiful timber doors and window sashes

CT Timber Joinery uses yellow cedar for most of our custom timber doors and windows, including large bifold doors, sliding doors, French doors and entrance doors.

Recognised as one of the World’s most durable timbers, Alaskan yellow cedar is highly versatile and decay resistant.  It’s our first choice for manufacturing timber door leaves and window sashes that are destined for painting.

We pre-prime your doors before they leave the factory, to provide protection from moisture ingress during the period between supply and installation. They won’t require an undercoat as 2 top coats of paint will provide the perfect finish.

  • Door leaves and window sashes
  • Versatile
  • Cost effective
  • Highly durable
  • Decay resistant
  • Paints well
Species Chamaecyparis Spach, Cupressus nootkatensis Lamb
Country of Origin Pacific Coast of North America
Air Dry Density 500kgs/m3
Durability Highly durable

3. Finger Jointed Pine

Cost effective door frames, window frames and sills

95% of CT Timber Joinery’s window frames, door frames, sills and architraves are made from finger jointed pine – a cost effective and locally sourced timber.

Finger jointed pine is a softwood which is strengthened by laminating pieces of pine together, using tight finger joints.  This process enhances the timbers stability, creating rigid, durable frames which don’t warp.

The smooth, flawless finish of finger jointed pine looks great painted. This further improves the durability and performance of the end product, especially when used in exterior joinery applications.

  • Painted window frames and door frames
  • Locally sourced timber
  • Cost effective
  • Highly stable
  • Won’t warp
  • Paints well
Species Pinus Radiata
Country of Origin North America
Air Dry Density 500kgs/m3

Alternative timber options for bespoke joinery

If you have a specific design aesthetic in mind for your project, we can offer a wide range of alternative timber species to meet your needs. The most popular of these are detailed below:

4. Kauri

Malaysian Kauri is a highly stable softwood timber, which is suitable for architraves and skirting. It is paler than New Zealand Kauri with a pale cream sapwood and golden brown heartwood.

Species Agathis Borneensis
Country of Origin Malaysia
Air Dry Density 540kgs/m3
Durability Moderately durable
Uses Architraves and skirting

5. Rimu NZ

New Zealand Rimu is a medium density softwood with a fine textured grain. The heartwood is a warm reddish brown, which contrasts with the pale brown sapwood. The surface can be finished with paint, varnish or polish. We recommend using Rimu for internal joinery, panelling, kitchen cabinetry and furniture.

Species Dacrydium cupressinum
Country of Origin New Zealand
Air Dry Density 560kgs/m3
Durability Moderately durable
Uses Interior doors, cabinetry, furniture, panelling

6. American White Oak

Also known as Chestnut Oak, White Oak has a distinctive silver grain and warm, brown heartwood revealing the occasional hint of pink. White oak is a strong, dense timber well suited to doors, architectural joinery, kitchen cabinetry and high grade furniture. Staining and polishing enhances this wood’s beautiful timber characteristics.

Species Quercus spp.
Country of Origin USA
Air Dry Density 735kgs/m3
Durability Durable
Uses Doors, architectural joinery, furniture, kitchen cabinetry

7. European French Oak

European French Oak is a hardwood, also known by the names English Oak, French Oak and Polish Oak, according to its country of origin. European Oak tends to be darker than American Oak with a warm, golden honey colour. It features a distinctive wavy grain pattern with scatterings of pip and burr. European French Oak, is a beautiful timber which we recommend for kitchen work benches, altars, tables, pews, staircases and interior doors. We recommend finishing with oil, which penetrates the wood fibres and hardens them, without altering the wood’s natural beauty. This timber will provide a lifetime of beauty and service.

Species Quercus robur, Quercus petraea
Country of Origin Romania, Yugoslavia, Poland
Air Dry Density 720kgs/m3
Durability Durable
Uses Kitchen benches, tables, interior doors, stair treads

8. American White Ash

American Ash is a light coloured timber with a straight wood grain. The sapwood is almost white and the heartwood ranges from grey brown to light brown. It’s a lightweight wood with good strength and can be polished and stained. American White Ash is an attractive choice for doors and bespoke furniture, including desks, tables and bookshelves.

Species Fraxinus Americana
Country of Origin USA
Air Dry Density 670kgs/m3
Durability Durable
Uses Furniture

9. Rosewood

Rosewood is a very strong hardwood, characterised by its distinctive reddish brown heartwood and contrasting pale yellow sapwood. It has a natural lustre and polishes up beautifully to create the most elegant cabinetry, doors and furniture.

Species Pterocarpus indicus
Country of Origin Solomon Islands
Air Dry Density 565kgs/m3
Durability Durable
Uses Doors, cabinetry, furniture

10. Accoya

Accoya is a revolutionary, modified, non toxic timber which is harvested responsibly from managed forests that are continuously replenished. It’s highly durable, is warranted to last 50 years above ground, has improved thermal insulation and extends the life of protective coatings. It’s also able to be safely recycled. Accoya is a perfect option for those wanting to use sustainable materials for eco building projects and CT Timber Joinery recommends its use in exterior and interior timber windows and doors. Find our more at Accoya

Species Trees selected from fast growing sustainably certified forests
Country of Origin Netherlands
FSC Certified Yes
Durability Highly durable (class 1)
Uses Exterior doors and windows, interior doors

If you’d like more choice…

CT Timber Joinery offers you a range of more than 40 different timber species. These are listed below.

 If you can’t find what you’re looking for just give us a call:

Call 09 444 9041

The difference between hardwood and softwood

A question we are often asked is which is better – hardwood or softwood?

Both can be used in timber joinery manufacture. Hardwoods are the strongest types of wood as they’re denser than softwoods but they’re also more expensive. Softwoods are less dense and cheaper than hardwood and their durability is enhanced by painting.

Hardwoods are from broadleaved deciduous trees which lose their leaves annually. They are slower growing, resulting in a naturally denser, more complex structure, which offers superior strength and durability. It is also more expensive than softwood. Softwoods are generally timber from evergreen conifer tree species like pine and cedar. These are quick growing trees and the timber is more economical, less dense and very easy to work with. Painting and protective coatings help to improve the durability of softwoods
Akwa Baltic Spruce
American Black Walnut Kahikatea
American Cherry Macrocarpa
American Hard Maple NZ Matai
American White Ash Oregon Pine
Anegre Pine Radiata
Burmese Teak Rimu NZ
Eucalyptus Saligna Siberian Larch
European Beech Western Hemlock
European Chestnut
Ipe Brazilian Walnut
Sapele Mahogany
Spotted Gum
Tasmanian Blackwood
Victorian Ash

If you need advice…

If you’re unsure of the right wood to choose and would like advice feel free to give us a call. Our solutions driven Project Managers are all highly experienced joiners, capable of providing technical advice on the most complex timber joinery projects.

Call 09 444 9041

Pre-Priming Custom Timber Joinery

As a rule, CT Timber Joinery pre-primes all timber joinery before it leaves the factory, unless you have requested a clear finish for wood you plan to stain or protect otherwise. We do this to protect the wood from moisture ingress during the period between supply and installation. Pre-priming simplifies your painting process as our doors and windows won’t require an undercoat but will require a minimum of 2 top coats of paint.

After ensuring the wood is completely dry and free from dust and dirt, we apply the timber primer – a modified alkyd based pigmented sealer designed specifically for wooden joinery. It’s formulated for excellent adhesion and coverage and will provide you with the best possible surface for your top coating needs. For additional short term moisture protection, we also apply an ACE 121 timber preservative to all wood end grains.

Glazing Options for Commercial and Residential Timber Joinery

We are joiners. We specialise in the manufacture of timber windows and doors, many of which will require glazing. At our highly sophisticated Auckland manufacturing plant we have an independent glazer on site who can measure and install your glass. If you would like a quote for glazing please ensure you request this when briefing us.

Due to the weight of most finished products, our glazer normally measures the glass once the custom joinery is made. He then installs it after your builder has fitted the wooden frames. You do of course have the option to work with your own glazer if you prefer.

CT Timber Joinery use the following standard glazing materials but there are many other options available:

  • Single Glazing 6.38mm laminated
  • Double Glazing 4mm toughened either side with a 12mm spacer for 58mm thick joinery
  • Double Glazing 4mm toughened either side with a 10mm spacer for 44mm thick joinery

Other glazing options available include, but are not limited to:

  • Clear annealed glass
  • 5mm options glass
  • 6.38mm glass
  • Low E Laminate
  • Sound stop
  • Opalite (frosted)
  • Clear Stippolyte/Mistlite/Cathedral
  • Clear Stippolyte/Mistlite/Cathedral Toughened
  • Argon Gas filling

Auckland’s Most Experienced Joiners

If you’re looking for custom made timber joinery, you won’t find a better, more experienced team than CT Timber Joinery.

Guaranteed Quality & Craftsmanship

As Master Joiners we take pride in our work and guarantee the craftsmanship of all manufactured product with a 10 year guarantee. Our ever increasing number of happy clients are testament to the workmanship and enduring quality.

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Stu is an absolute pleasure to work with in regards to his design, communication and drawings. CT Timber Joinery produce amazing quality work for us time and time again - often ahead of schedule! Couldn't recommend them highly enough.

Phil Close

A fabulous business to deal with - great communication, and a total understanding of my needs. And then a top quality product delivered. I rate this company very highly for their attention to detail and wonderful customer service

Beth Richards