Wood Types

This page will provide basic information about wood types to help you determine which one suits your needs. If you still need help, please call us & we will be happy to answer all of your questions.

 Wood Types

Acacia is a durable hard wood from fast growing trees from the Far East and South America. The thin grain, the flame design and varied color shades give furniture made from it a warm appearance. Acacia is a genus of shrubs and trees of Gondwanian origin belonging to the Subfamily Mimosoideae of the Pea Family (Family Fabaceae). There are roughly 1300 species of Acacia worldwide, about 950 of them native to Australia, with the remainder spread around the dry tropical to warm-temperate regions of both hemispheres, including Africa, southern Asia, and the Americas.

Alder is a hardwood from the Pacific Northwest. It is very consistent in color and takes stain well. It ranks third behind oak and pine as the wood most commonly used for ready-to-finish furniture. Alder gives the look of many fine hardwoods at a reasonable price.

Birch The appearance of the wood will vary between species, but generally, the sap wood is creamy white and the heart stock, golden brown. Paper birch is predominately sap wood, with small brown knotty hearts. The wood is mostly white but as it nears the core will show brown flame patterns, with white sap edges.. quite dramatic. Yellow birch on the other hand, tends to be a larger tree and exhibits a more consistent golden brown color, with little creamy white sap wood. Often yellow birch shows a nice curl pattern.

Cherry  is a very popular and all-around great wood; easy to work with, stains and finishes well with just oil, and ages beautifully. Cherry's heartwood has a reddish-brown color to it and the sapwood is almost white. Cherry has a hardness of 2 on a scale of 1 to 5. This is a very common wood for furniture-making and is available from sustainably-grown forests. You won't find cherry at your local home center, so a trip to the lumberyard is necessary if you want to use it. Because it's in demand, cherry is getting somewhat expensive compared to other domestic hardwoods, such as oak and maple.

Eucalyptus is a sustainable, plantation grown hardwood actively replanted in temperate regions around the world. Supply is plentiful and stable. This heavy hardwood earns high marks for strength, a rich appearance and durability.

Maple
is especially abundant in the eastern U.S. It is a very light-colored hardwood with a very even grain texture. Eastern maples are generally harder than western maples because of the colder winters and shorter growing seasons. Both are very durable and take any color of stain well.

Oak is the wood most commonly used for ready-to-finish furniture. It is a very hard, open-grain wood and stains well in any color.

Parawood is a hard wood that comes from the great rubber plantations of Malaysia. The density of parawood is comparable to that of birch or ash. Its strength is rated the same as maple. Parawood is easy to finish and matches well with a variety of other woods. Once a rubber tree is no longer able to produce sufficient quantities of latex, it is cut for the process of furniture making and a new tree is planted in its place. This is an example of man's ability to fully utilize our natural resources, without harming the environment.

Paulownia has a light blond appearance and resembles White Ash. Paulownia has one of the highest strength to weight ratios of any wood.  Paulownia has been widely used in the orient for fine furniture, musical instruments, carvings and decorative finishes for over 1000 years. It can be peeled for veneer in 1/16 inch thickness and has even been sliced at 1/32 inch.

Pine is a soft wood that comes in many varieties from various parts of the world. Pine has a yellow coloring with brown knots and is excellent for staining. With some stains, a sealer helps prepare the wood to achieve a more even look.

Poplar  is one of the less expensive hardwoods. It's also fairly soft (1 in hardness on a scale of 1 to 5), which makes it easy to work with. Poplar has a white color with some green or brown streaks in the heartwood. Because poplar is not the most beautiful wood, it's rarely used in fine furniture and if it is, it's almost always painted. Poplar can be a good choice for drawers (where it won't be seen) because it is stable and inexpensive. You can find poplar at larger home centers, but a lumberyard will have a better selection.

White Cedar is light weight but very durable and is unique in its resistance to bugs and its ability to weather without treatment (unlike other species). It is grown in moist swampy NE woodlands. Cedar absorbs and loses moisture slowly, which minimizes the dry cracking, splintering and swelling. Cedar has the US Forest Products Laboratory highest rating for decay and disease resistance. Fresh cedar odor is a mild insect repellent. White Cedar will last 25-30 years unfinished. There is no need to treat the wood, because it is naturally resistant to rot and pests. However, some people like a little color; for that, it is recommended that you stain the product (rather than to apply paint to it) in order to retain the natural protection of cedar. 

Yellow Balau is a heavy hardwood that is native to Southeast Asia where the harvesting is strictly regulated to maintain a plentiful supply. The wood is extremely strong, durable and resistant to decay. It will weather to a silver-gray color when exposed to the natural elements.

 

 


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