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One of the questions you need to answer when getting a new piece of furniture is: What type of wood I want it to be? The answer depends on your budget and the expected usage of the piece. In this article, I will describe the characteristics of the different types of wood used to build furniture.
But first, you need to know that there are two types of woods: Hardwood and softwood. The first one comes from Angiosperms such as maple, oak, and walnut. Since they grow slowly, this type of wood has denser fibers. As hardwood is rare, it is relatively expensive compared to softwood. Softwood comes from gymnosperms, which are evergreen trees. This type includes trees such as pine, spruce, fir, cedar, juniper, redwood, and yew.
One of the more traditional woods in furniture making. It is lighter in weight than some of the other wood types here but has the strength of oak. We think of mahogany as reddish-brown; however, there are brighter colors of the wood. Genuine mahogany is sourced from Latin America and is becoming harder to find so It can be expensive.
Oak is a durable wood that is typically used for flooring and kitchen furniture. It is beautiful but can yellow over time. By contrast, red oak is slightly darker and porous. It also looks gorgeous and is relatively inexpensive.
Maple may be the ideal furniture wood. While there are many different types of maple, almost all are durable and make for great furniture. It wears extremely well. Maple is naturally non-toxic, so it is often used to make kitchen cutting boards.
Cherry darkens with time, giving it a vibrant look as it continues to darken. Cherry is relatively hard, and it can be resistant to scratches and dents. It has a smooth grain and is non-toxic.
Pine is a softwood and tends to be inexpensive. It’s prone to damage which makes it not the best wood for furniture.
Cedar is a relatively soft wood, so it’s not ideal for indoor furniture. However, for outdoor furniture, it’s quite good. Cedar is naturally weather resistant.