Wood has been used to create furniture for many thousands of years, not only thanks to its versatility and strength, but also its beauty. Whether you wish to decorate your home in a traditional or modern style, you’ll be sure to find a shade and texture of wood to suit your needs and tastes. In this article we will explore the different types of wood that are used in furniture making, and the certain characteristics of the woods that make them ideal for particular kinds of furniture.
Hardwood comes from trees that lose their leaves annually such as mahogany, walnut and oak. They grow slowly, and therefore the wood from these trees has dense fibres that make it durable and therefore highly suitable for flooring, as well as large and high-end pieces of furniture.
Mahogany and walnut are premium hardwoods that are dark and rich in tone and relatively free from voids and pockets, giving a smooth and elegant finish. Mahogany also has the added feature of darkening over time. For these reasons, these types of wood are used in high-end furniture such as tables, beds and chests of drawers. Oak is a popular hardwood used in the UK for both flooring and furniture and is relatively more affordable than other hardwoods. This means it’s often used for a wide variety of furniture such as wardrobes, coffee tables and bedframes. Its main features are varied and open grain patterns and has a medium, warm tone.
Softwood comes from seed-bearing evergreen trees such as pine, cedar and yew. The wood from these types of trees has a less dense structure than hardwood, and the trees often grow tall and straight making them easier to cut down and turn into planks. Softwoods also absorb adhesives much more easily than hardwood, making them ideal for furniture making.
Pine is one of the softwoods most commonly used for furniture in the UK, and has a pale to medium, warm tone with lots of knots, thus lending itself best to a rustic home decor scheme. Scots Pine in particular is one of the strongest types of softwood available, and is also affordable thanks to its short growth period.
Cedar wood is highly resistant to rotting and insect attack due to the oils found naturally in the wood, making it the perfect wood to use for outdoor furniture. It has a straight grain, and comes in a variety of tones from creamy to reddish, depending on the type of cedar tree it comes from. Yew, although classed as a softwood, is actually harder and more durable than many hardwoods, but is often used for smaller furniture projects due to the way the tree twists as it grows meaning only smaller planks can be cut. It is pale in colour with knots present, and has a straight grain and uniform texture.
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