We always have four wood species available for all maps: maple, walnut, oak, and cherry. In addition, I often have other species available and can source pretty much any wood of your choice -- just contact me for availability.
For most maps, any of the wood species works well, and it mostly comes down to a matter of personal preference. If you're not sure, here are a few suggestions to consider:
- If you're planning to have any laser engraving added to your map (either a landmark or road/trail on the front, or a message on the back or mantle base), I generally don't recommend walnut. Engraving will still show up, but it's a much more subtle effect.
- On really mountainous maps, lighter woods like cherry and maple tend to show detail a little better. The darker woods combined with the shadows cast by the topography can make it a little hard to see all of the detail in the valleys.
- If it's a less mountainous region, consider oak or walnut. Those woods tend to have a more pronounced grain pattern that can add some extra visual interest in the flatter parts of the map.
- If in doubt, cherry is by far the most popular wood, and a personal favorite.