Man has used wood for millennia to make weapons, furniture, and paper. Timber is a widely popular furniture making material because it has unique properties and characteristics that alternatives including synthetic materials lack. With that in mind, here are some of the types of wood used to make furniture. If you like working with wood, check out wood profits for tips on how to make money woodworking.
Oak is a popular wood used to make different types of household furniture including kitchen cabinets, tables, and chairs. In most cases, it is stained reddish brown, making it slightly darker than raw oak wood. Oakwood has high tannin content that makes it resistant to insect and fungal infestation. In the US, the northern red oak is used to make high-end furniture. However, untreated oak wood should not be used to make outdoor furniture items because it deteriorates fast when exposed to the elements.
Unlike oak, walnut has a naturally rich chocolate brown color and straight grains although some walnut species may produce wood with irregular patterns. Its color ranges from light pale brown to dark brown tinged with purple or reddish hues. Walnut wood is quite easy to work with, readily available and has excellent dimensional stability. It is advisable to treat walnut wood to prevent insect attack. Most furniture makers in the US use the American walnut species, which is native to North America.
Maple wood properties include fine and even texture, relatively straight grains, and color that ranges from nearly white to reddish brown. It is used to make specialty furniture items, outdoor benches, cutting boards, workbenches, and even butcher blocks. If you want to make durable furniture pieces, go for hard maple wood because it is denser, stronger, and stiffer than wood from any other maple species.
Cedar is a light, soft wood that is easy to handle and has excellent thermal insulation properties. Moreover, it is easy to treat/stain, does not split when fastened with screws or nails, and is highly resistant to termite infestation. It is used to make both indoor and outdoor furniture. Furniture manufacturers in America mostly use cedar wood from the western red cedar species.
Furniture makers love mahogany wood because it is incredibly robust, especially Caribbean mahogany, and has a uniform pore structure. The color of raw mahogany wood ranges from red to brown, and it is used to make contemporary, Victorian-style, and Georgian-style furniture. Nevertheless, consumers should take note the quality of mahogany wood varies depending on grade and tree species. For instance, Philippine mahogany is not as strong and durable as mahogany species native to South and Central America. As such, furniture items made with Philippine mahogany are generally very cheap.
Birchwood has a light brown to reddish color and is quite dense. Most furniture makers use birch wood from the yellow birch tree to make mass-market products. For high-end furniture pieces, the rare and fine-grained European birch wood is the most popular choice. It is also used to make flexible veneer and plywood products.
Ash wood is durable, sturdy, and is renowned for its bending capability. For this reason, it is used to make curved or bent furniture items such as curved backrests for chairs. Some furniture makers also use it for interior joinery. The only downside to ash wood is it deteriorates fast when exposed to the elements, meaning it is not suitable for making outdoor furniture.
Cherry wood is among the most popular hardwoods used to make furniture in the US. Regarding appearance, it normally has straight grains, fine and even texture, as well as a pinkish brown to reddish brown color. It is mostly used in specialty furniture, joinery, interior millwork, and veneer items. Over time, furniture made with cherry wood acquires a darker and richer hue due to oxidation.
Poplar wood is the right choice if you are looking for an inexpensive hardwood that is easy to shape and stain. However, it is rarely used on its own to make furniture items. Instead, it is used to make upholstered furniture pieces and furniture undersides that are typically hidden from view. This aspect has made popular a “utility” wood.
Rosewood is durable, heavy, very hard, and has a dark red-brownish color. Its grains are mostly straight, machines well, nails well, polishes to a lustrous finish, and is resistant to decay and insect attack.
The types of wood used to make furniture in America include rosewood, birch, cedar, mahogany, ash, cherry, maple, walnut, oak and poplar. It is worth noting that none of those mentioned above tree species are in the CITES or IUCN lists of threatened tree species.