How to match workability and finishing characteristics of adjacent wood

I have encountered challenges in planing and sanding adjacent wood species of different densities while shaping and finishing wooden surfboards. For example, on a recent board made primarily of balsa with redwood stringers, the much less dense balsa is so easily removed that the foil or overall flow of the board contours (particularly edges) can end up flattened or otherwise distorted.

The only property I’ve found listed for wood species is specific gravity, or the density compared to water. Is specific gravity an appropriate proxy for shear strength? If so, my next board will be a combination of paulownia (.32) and parota (.34). I realize that grain orientation and tightness determine the working characteristics of a wood surface, something I can contour visually.


The way your question is pasted in to the forum, I’m not able to read much of it. Could you respond with the details?


Per Jeff Bratt, one of my go-to experts, you should check the link below.

“Here’s a relevant link - although the specific exotic species aren’t likely to be listed.”

Another resource I use when looking for the properties of a specific wood is the As an example, here is their entry on Paulownia:
Paulownia | The Wood Database - Lumber Identification (Hardwood)

There is a lot of information there besides specific gravity. Janka hardness might be useful as a comparator between woods.


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Thanks for your response…
Your recommendation for the wood database book has just what I need, thank you. Janka hardness and other metrics should work fine.