There is a large variety of woods used in making wood furniture. It is only up to the person, whether building their own furniture piece or buying a pre-built furniture item, design style is important to the type of wood used. Whether it is Colonial, traditional, Mediterranean, modern or even eclectic, each wood represents certain styles in particular eras. When it comes to outdoor furniture, there are also woods better suited for tables, chairs, decking and even in boat construction.
When making wood furniture such as bedroom furniture, hardwoods are an ideal choice for their properties. This wood is typically more expensive that other softwoods. Hardwoods are usually derived from trees which are leaf-bearing. Although some coniferous trees (bearing pine needles) are considered hard woods, the same is said about soft woods too. Soft woods come from coniferous trees, yet some are considered hard.
In the hard wood categories, Oak is the most common wood used for furniture. It divided into two classes, red or black oak. Its uses are primarily for American, English country and contemporary furniture.
Maple is very hard and is used for American Colonial designs. The unique property of some species of maple is used for the back of violins and bowling alleys for the shock resistance.
Mahogany used for Georgian, Victorian and contemporary is some of the best for carving and finishing. There are many grades and species grown in different parts of the world and contribute greatly to the value of this wood.
Cherry is medium hard and strong and was used mostly during the 18th century as Colonial and French provincial designs. It is also great for carving and polishing wood.
Walnut is considered the most popular for the strength, durability and hardness; it is used mainly for fine cabinet work.
Rosewood is also very hard and fragrant. It is one of the harder woods to work with and requires a high polish. It is often used for musical instruments.
Teak is very heavy, durable and strong. Teak furniture, used as Scandinavian modern, Oriental, and outdoor furniture, is an excellent choice because it ages very well with time. It has an oily property, making it resist water and insects better. Teak furniture is an excellent choice for outdoor uses.
Although softwood is not as popular in furniture making, it does have its uses.
Pine is used to make country or provincial furniture.
Ash, specifically white ash is the largest and most used commercially for steam bent furniture pieces and structural frames.
Hickory is in the heavy and hard range for softwoods. It is sometimes used to craft furniture pieces.
Beech also has the properties of being hard and heavy in the softwood group, often used with a flat slice, leaving a curly, wavy or straight grain pattern.
Fir is easy to work with but does not resist decay very well; it is still used in some furniture-making.
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