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Would you Know which Wood Would be Best for Furniture?

Apr 25, 2016

We have people tell us they want wooden furniture, but which they mean something other than the DIY particle board and iron on faux wood grain vinyl.

But wood? Wood is a rather vague, generic term, like fruit, there are apples, pears, strawberries, well you see my point. So lets take a quick look at some of the common types of timber used in furniture, the plus and not so pluses.


Pine is a good old standby, a soft wood, it is light, inexpensive and knotty, fine if you like that sort of thing you can stain it to protect it. If not, well, luckily pine is quite happy wearing a coat of paint. Drawback, well, it is a soft wood so marks and scratches easily.


Cherry is a hard wood, has straight grain, fewer knots, surprisingly doesn't always come in a red colour,  there is a blond or pale cream variant as well. It stains up beautifully  and is often used in formal furniture. Would be a pit to paint it. Drawbacks. Can be expensive.


Maple is a very hard wood, has a nice straight grain, usually a light colour. It is inexpensive and very tough. It is also known as the poor man's Cherry or Mahogany as it looks classical in dark stains. Drawbacks, needs to be sealed before staining.


Oak is like a hardened, slightly less knotty version of pine. We used to use to build battle ships once apon a time~As a hard wood it is again, very hard wearing, and looks great with a clear urethane finish. Drawbacks, something about oak makes it tricky to stain.


Nuts. Walnut is more than that, it is a beautiful wood, a swirly, knot free grain and another member of the hardwood family.  Can be stained but why would you? Drawbacks? Another of the higher prices boards.


We need to pop cedar in as most of the above timers are better suited to indoor furniture, but  Cedar can sand up to damp conditions. It is, like Pine another soft wood, has a nice straight grain and is reasonably priced.
Ok so whether you are thinking of a DIY project and building a cabinet or set of drawers or heading off to the furniture store to pick up a read made piece of dining  or bedroom suite, we hope the short table above gives you some idea of what to look for.

Just to finish, we deliberately omitted Mahogany as it is logged under  non sustainable and sometimes illegal conditions, often resulting in the mas destruction of surrounding native trees which places already endangered species in even more peril.

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What to Look for when Buying Wooden Furniture
How to Care for Leather Furniture

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Next: How to Care for Leather Furniture

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