Wood is available in a variety of colors, grains, and hardnesses. Solid wood has always been a preferred material for fine furniture. Shock-resistant and durable, it’s also a sound investment, increasing in value over generations. Different parts of the world produce different types of woods. Below are some distinguishing traits of the types of wood commonly used to construct fine furniture:
Eucalyptus is a hardwood that earns high marks for strength, durability, and excellent weathering characteristics. Eucalyptus is pinkish-brown in color and ages to a reddish-brown with time and exposure to light. Its resistance to decay is similar to that of teak wood. In fact, when finished with a high-quality oil, eucalyptus takes on a teak-like appearance.
Indigenous to Indonesia, India, and Central America, teak is a high-quality yellow to dark-brown hardwood. It’s generally straight-grained with a coarse, uneven texture and an oily feel. Teak ranges from yellow-brown to dark golden-brown in color. Noted for its heaviness and durability, it was originally used for shipbuilding and is now often used for high-caliber outdoor furniture and decking.
Oak is the wood most commonly used for finer, more durable furniture. It’s a very hard, heavy, open-grained wood that grows from deciduous and evergreen trees in the United States, Canada, and Europe. It’s found in both red and white varieties. Red oak (also known as black oak) has a pinkish cast and is the more popular of the two. White oak has a slightly greenish cast. Prominent rings and large pores give oak a coarse texture and prominent grain. It stains well in any color.
Acacia is one of the most beautiful and practical materials for creating high quality furniture. It is native to the North and North West of India and grown by farmers who often grow the trees on their own land. The timber is used in villages to produce furniture, doors, agricultural tools and accessories. The acacia tree grows very slowly which makes the wood incredibly hard and durable. The furniture and tools are used for years and passed down from generation to generation. Acacia wood comes from pod-bearing trees and is known for it’s spectacular grain and rich contrasting colours. Not only environmentally friendly and almost indestructable, this superior wood has another unique characteristic – which is the ability to change colour and luster in different lighting conditions.
Cedar wood comes from cedar trees, of which there are several varieties, including Northern White Cedar, Western Red Cedar, Eastern Red Cedar, and others. Cedar wood has the familiar, long lasting fragrance often found in closets, chests, and other furnishings intended to discourage moths and other insects. Cedar is also naturally rot resistant, making it good for decks, shingles, and other outdoor construction. Cedar is a lightweight wood. It also lies flat and stays straight, which means it resists the natural tendency to crack. Another useful property of cedar wood is its resistance to rotting. The fibers in the wood contain oils that repel water, making it useful for wetter, as well as more humid, climates. Cedar wood is warm in color, and can range from red to pink to orange to yellow.
Hardwood vs. Softwood
Solid woods can be classified as hard or soft. A hardwood is derived from a broad-leefed tree (without needles), such as maple, cherry, oak, ash, walnut, or mahogany. Hardwoods usually offer greater strength and stability. Softwoods come from needle-bearing evergreen trees, such as pine, spruce, redwood, or cedar, and are preferred for intricately carved pieces. Softwoods are more susceptible to marks and dings, but this can often result in an appealing weathered quality.