Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Dogwood (Cornus florida)

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Common Name(s): Dogwood, Flowering Dogwood

Scientific Name: Cornus florida

Distribution: Eastern North America

Tree Size: 30-40 ft (9-12 m) tall, 1-1.3 ft (.3-.4 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 51 lbs/ft3 (815 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .64, .82

Janka Hardness: 2,150 lbf (9,560 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 16,720 lbf/in2 (115.3 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 1,922,000 lbf/in2 (13.26 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 8,740 lbf/in2 (60.3 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 7.1%, Tangential: 11.3%, Volumetric: 19.9%, T/R Ratio: 1.6

Color/Appearance: Most boards and blanks and composed primarily of sapwood rather than heartwood. Narrow heartwood is a reddish brown. Wide sapwood is cream to pale pinkish in color.

Grain/Texture: Grain is interlocked, with a fine, uniform texture. Moderate natural luster.

Endgrain: Diffuse-porous (growth rings generally distinct due to gradually decreasing pore density in latewood); small to medium pores in no specific arrangement, moderately numerous to numerous; exclusively solitary; tyloses occasionally present; parenchyma not visible; medium to wide rays, spacing normal.

Rot Resistance: Since there tends to be very little heartwood, Dogwood is usually composed entirely of sapwood, which is considered non-durable to perishable. Also susceptible to insect attack.

Workability: Despite it’s high density and interlocked grain, Dogwood tends to produce decent results with both hand and machine tools, though it can have a blunting effect on cutters. Glues, turns, and finishes well.

Odor: No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity: Besides the standard health risks associated with any type of wood dust, no further health reactions have been associated with Dogwood. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Not generally available commercially. Small quantities of Dogwood are occasionally harvested and utilized locally throughout its natural range, with prices high for a domestic hardwood.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses: Golf club heads, textile shuttles, bows (archery), mallets, pulleys, and turned objects.

Comments: Dogwood has excellent shock resistance, and is one of the hardest domestic woods of the United States or Canada. Its toughness is appreciated in a variety of applications, though its poor dimensional stability means that its use is usually restricted to unglued/unjoined standalone components where it’s expansion and contraction can occur freely.

Related Species:

None available.

Related Articles:

None available.

Scans/Pictures: A special thanks to Mike Leigher for providing the wood sample of this wood species.

Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Dogwood (sanded)

Dogwood (sealed)

Dogwood (sealed)

Dogwood (endgrain)

Dogwood (endgrain)

Dogwood (endgrain 10x)

Dogwood (endgrain 10x)

  • Michael MAdden

    Most of the Dogwood I have encountered generally has a pinkish hue. I have some exceptionally large pieces, 4/4 thick, 5 to 6 inches wide, and 7 and 8 foot in length. The wood is fairly difficult to work with and tends to twist when it dries. It also tends to make fine to very fine dust when cutting even when cuts are made with the grain. IT also tends to split easily when using brads or other fasteners without pre-drilling. Sharp tooling is a must. It does finish nicely with clear lacquer, I do not normally stain woods so I have no information on how well it takes stain.

    • mark

      I like the strength. I have quite a few trees around property rather small. Only 6-8 inches trunk sizes mostly. Burns nice in the stove too. Seasons in a year.

  • Nigel B.

    I have worked with dogwood quite a bit and have found it to
    have a somewhat spicy scent that fades quickly after cuting.

  • Mike L Robinson

    I work with dogwood quite a bit. Its tough and stubborn, but it shines up beautifully. I recommended it. This bowl is about 8″ x 8″

  • Mike L Robinson

    I work with dogwood quite a bit. Its tough and stubborn, but it shines
    up beautifully. I recommended it. This bowl is about 8″ x 8″

    • mark

      Looks fabulous guy..

  • Knate

    I’m having trouble finding dogwood in my area, New Orleans. Any recommendations as to whom I could go through for a piece? I realistically only need a small piece for a project.

    • Trevor Reed

      I have a bit of spalted dogwood that my father harvesting from standing dead trees in East Texas, if you are interested. Here is a pic of a mallet that shows the spalting.

      • Knate

        That’s great. Do you have any pieces that are about 14 inches long? If so, could you quote me a price?

    • Trevor Reed

      I haven’t ever sold any wood before, so what sounds fair for 14″ of dogwood for you? I’m not sure how much the shipping will be, but I know that that size might be pretty heavy. My email is aggietreed@gmail.com if you want to shoot me an email

  • Trevor Reed

    My father found some dead standing dogwood at the ranch he works. The time standing dead gave it some gorgeous spalting character and yet its still incredibly dense and easy to turn. I have plenty of sticks of dogwood that are all about 5-7″ wide, if anyone is interested. The pic below is a sample of the spalting in the blocks.