Designers need knowledge about peoples’ perceptions, based on sensory examinations of wood. This study describes results of a combined tactile and visual perceptional assessment of five common wood species in Sweden. The species were graded with regard to ten words. Differences in ratings between tactile and visual inspections were compared and main differentiating words, in tactile and visual inspection respectively, were identified. For some species like pine the differences between visual and tactile inspections vary greatly whereas birch was more coherently perceived across examination model. Visual inspections created clearer differences between the studied wood species than tactile inspections. The results provide information about the most appropriate species designers should select when aiming to achieve specific goals concerning the message or ‘expression’ of the product. This study indicates applications of product semantics and sensory analysis in wood design. Topics for continued studies are discussed.