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Top 7 Types of Wood For Furniture

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House interior with luxury wooden furniture

If you want to deliver quality wooden furniture to your client to grow your business, you need to know the best types of wood for furniture. This is especially important if you are dealing with bespoke furniture or high-end furniture.

Let’s get started. 

Introduction

Ultimately, the best wood for furniture will depend on the kind of furniture you are making. Different types of wood for furniture will have different characteristics, such as density, grain, color and finish.

Choosing the correct type will not only result in client satisfaction, but also help you determine the right price. Additionally, this will come in handy for resale, restoration, or discarding of furniture.

Woods, of course, come in a wide range of prices. Some of the most expensive furniture wood species include sandalwood, rosewood, agarwood, maple, ebony wood, elm, and African blackwood. By contrast, the cheapest wood for furniture is pine.

Regardless of expense, for best results, accurate millwork shop drawings should be used, such as the one below.

Pool bar shop drawing
Millwork shop drawing of pool bar by BluEntCAD

There are two main types of wood materials: manufactured wood, which is composed of real wood and various synthetic materials, and solid wood, which comprises of hardwoods and softwoods. For the purposes of this article, we will be focusing only on solid wood.

But what’s the difference between hardwood and softwood, and will it make a difference to your furniture?

Hardwood vs Softwood For Furniture

Hardwood

Hardwood comes from flowering plants, such as walnut, mahogany, oak and maple. These plants, also called angiosperms, represent about 80% of all known green plants that currently exist. Some hardwoods do not float in water, so don’t take any chances with a swimming pool.

  • Hardwood is durable, requires relatively little maintenance, and has a close grain.

  • Due to its density, hardwood furniture tends to weather daily wear and tear well.

  • It is often used for wooden flooring since it has low sap content and adequate fire resistance. Furthermore, it naturally comes in various colors and perforation plate patterns.

  • It tends to be more expensive than softwood. This is because it grows more slowly. However, there are some exceptions, such as the hardwood gum, which is priced similarly to most kinds of softwood.

Softwood

Softwoods come from evergreen, seed-bearing trees, such as cedar, redwood, yew, spruce, pine, and fir, and are generally more economical than hardwoods. They are also called non-porous wood due to the absence of vessels.

  • Softwoods absorb adhesives quickly, which results in a good finish.

  • It is often used for scaffoldings, fittings, floor coverings, and wall claddings.

  • Because it has a higher sap content and a loose grain, it has poorer fire resistance than hardwood.

  • It has a lightweight structure and is quite versatile.

  • It is more readily available than hardwood and easier to manipulate.

Hardwoods and softwoods can be used for the same purposes, and many times, they are. However, because softwoods are economical and easier to work with, they make up the majority of the wood used around the world. 

The benefit of hardwoods is that they are more long-lasting than softwoods. Hence, hardwoods are ideal for high-end furniture, flooring, decks and construction. 

Top 7 Types of Wood For Furniture

Always bear in mind the kind of project you will be working on. After all, you will approach luxury millwork and custom kitchen cabinets in different ways. 

Hence, the most expensive or beautiful wood may not necessarily be the best choice depending on your goals. Furthermore, no matter the wood type, you will have to maintain it so that it will retain its aesthetic appeal and last longer. 

With that in mind, let’s cover various types of wood for furniture and what they’re best suited for. 

1. Mahogany

  • Mahogany is a durable, versatile wood, and is considered more traditional in furniture making.

  • Fine, straight grain.

  • Medium texture and moderately heavy.

  • Classic, warm look.

  • Lasts decades with proper care.

  • Ranges from medium brown to deep reddish brown in color.

  • Resistant to rot, particularly from water, which makes it attractive to ship builders all over the world.

Ideal for: dining tables, interior millwork, wood veneers, musical instruments, ornate furniture, focal-point or large furniture, windows, trim, high-end furniture

2. Oak

  • Oak is a multi-faceted, durable hardwood and can be finished with many different looks.

  • Long lasting and dense – can last centuries with proper care. (For example, the Oval Office desk is made of oak and was given to President Hayes by Queen Victoria in 1880).

  • Ranges from light brown to pinkish red in color.

  • Beautiful open grain.

  • Scratch and stain resistant if properly finished.

Ideal for: desks, modern furniture, traditional furniture, ornate designs, 

3. Maple

  • Maple is durable, sturdy, resistant to splitting, and can be cleaned with a damp cloth.

  • Non-toxic, so can be used to make, for example, kitchen cutting boards.

  • Wears well.

  • Grain is closed and usually straight, but might be wavy.

  • Ranges from deep reddish brown to a pale golden color.

  • Takes all finishes.

Ideal for: desks, tables, kitchen furniture

4. Walnut

  • Walnut is famously tough; it was used to make airplane propellers in World War 1.

  • Gorgeous grain character.

  • Withstands intricate carving.

  • Capable of resisting warping.

  • Suffers little shrinkage.

  • Smooth surface allows for a beautiful finish.

  • Very versatile.

Ideal for: cabinetry, paneling, tables (especially ornate or antique-style), headboards, mantels

5. Cherry

  • Cherry wood has a smooth grain and is flexible.

  • Steams easily, so is good for curved designs.

  • Rich color – darkens with time.

  • Highly durable.

  • Smooth texture.

  • Moderate natural luster.

Ideal for: desks, cabinets, flooring, carvings, turnings, decorative purposes

6. Cedar

  • Cedar is weather resistant.

  • Aromatic quality repels bugs.

  • Many types are of a gorgeous color.

  • Resistant to warping and cracking.

Ideal for: outdoor furniture, closets, hope chests, interior paneling, musical instruments

7. Pine

  • Pine is the cheapest wood used for furniture.

  • Blends well with other woods.

  • Susceptible to damage.

  • Lightweight.

  • Paints well.

  • Fine, smooth grain.

  • Ranges from white to brownish red in color.

  • Known for its beautiful knots, which add a rustic charm.

  • Resistant to swelling and shrinkage, so it maintains its shape.

Ideal for: rustic and farmhouse designs, furniture for people who move frequently, children’s furniture

Conclusion

We hope this article has given you an insight into your project, whether you are working on luxury outdoor furniture or kitchen millwork cabinets.  

No matter the type of wood you choose, you will need millwork drafting services to create the ideal product. Luckily for you, BluEntCAD is just a click away. 

We provide millwork detailing for custom furniture manufacturers, casework companies, woodworking companies, decks & fencing manufacturers, millwork manufacturing companies, cabinet makers, interior designers, and millwork shops for commercial, hospitality and residential projects. 

Ready to make your project a success with millwork shop drawing servicesContact us now!

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