While working on restoration projects, I'm often asked questions on wood selection. On a recent job in Virginia, a contractor was looking for a low-cost substitute for expensive vertical-grain fir flooring for an exterior porch deck. For projects like this, I have two methods for deciding what wood will be best for the job. Two Ways to Select Wood The first and easiest method is to look at the kind of wood that has been used traditionally. If woodworkers over the years have used a certain wood for a particular application, then I trust their collective judgment. In New England, for instance, the common wood for porch decks has been "hard pine," which usually means red pine or fir,