A wood plaque is for display and usually has a brass plate or insignia attached to it and is hung on a wall. This kind of plaque may have routed or profiled corners, with shapes that range from ovals to rectangles to triangles. Most plaque wood is cut into the shape of a keystone or a shield and comes from any of the following kinds of wood:
Teak, an exotic hardwood, is grown and harvested from tropical countries. The majority of the teak used in the United States comes from South America and is used on boat decks and for other specialty items like outdoor furniture. The oil quality in teak protects it almost indefinitely against moisture penetration. When it is sanded smooth, teak is an outstanding wood for plaques.
Black walnut is one of the most commonly used woods for making plaques. It has a natural, dark-brown color that needs no stain. It is easy to work with routers, handheld cutting tools, or sanders. Its softness enables it to respond well to carving tools. Black walnut plaque is especially appealing for its complex grain patterns.
The tight grain pattern of mahogany makes cutting and routing it easy without chipping or splintering. It does not need to be stained. Any type of mahogany can be used for making plaques equally well.
The hardest wood used for making plaques is maple. When cut and sanded smooth, maple wood exudes a translucent quality that stands out in plaques. It needs no stain because its swirls and grain patterns are stunning when a light coat of lacquer is added.