As a woodworker, you probably have made some furniture using different types of wood. But which is the best wood for furniture? The answer to this question is not easy. It can depend on your budget and where you intend to use it.
The process that you use to create different pieces of furniture is another factor. Then the most important factor that we must all agree on is the type of wood you use. In this post, we take a look at some of the finest varieties of wood that you can use to make furniture. Read on to find out more about it!
Categories of Wood for Furniture
Before we launch into the specific types of wood, we need to first understand the classification of the wood that we use. You get two types of wood, solid wood including hardwoods and softwoods, and engineered wood, which is a composite form of wood that is derived from natural wood.
Hardwood comes from deciduous trees, which are trees that shed their leaves during winter. Trees of this wood take a longer time to grow, and the wood that we harvest is of the highest quality that you can find. Oak, teak, beech, mahogany, hickory, maple, and walnut are some examples of hardwoods that make excellent furniture.
Softwoods are less dense than hardwoods and the trees are gymnosperms, coniferous, and evergreen (they do not shed their leaves during winter). They grow faster than hardwood trees. Although softwoods play a more prominent role as construction material, you will find a lot of furniture made of softwood. Some of the commonest species of softwood are spruce, fir, and pine.
Engineered Wood for Furniture
We do not consider engineered wood as solid wood. However, we do consider it as wood and it is an extremely versatile form, which plays a prominent role in furniture making. Some of the manufactured types of wood include plywood, particleboard, oriented strand board (OSB), and medium-density fiberboard (MDF).
Best Types of Wood for Furniture
Furniture is made from countless types of wood. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. Here, we have compiled a list of the best of the best types of wood that you can use for making furniture:
There are different types of maple and all of them make some extremely attractive-looking furniture. It is a non-toxic variety of wood, so you can use it for kitchenware like cutting boards. The varied grain patterns offer some interesting possibilities so that no two pieces of furniture made from maple will ever be identical.
This wood is a traditional preference for making furniture. It has a fine grain structure and a beautiful color and is relatively lighter than many other wood types. Despite its delicate looks, mahogany is as strong as oak. Although mahogany commonly comes in a reddish-brown color, you will find it in lighter colors as well. It is a rare wood these days, especially the variety that comes from Latin America.
There are several varieties of oak and all of them enjoy wide popularity in furniture making. Oak is durable and usually, we use it for flooring and kitchen furniture. A drawback of this wood is that it tends to become yellow over time. Oak has a definitive grain pattern, is heavy, strong, and dense.
You will find cherry the most interesting type of wood in that it darkens to a rich, deep, reddish-brown color over time. The color of this wood is what attracts most people to it, and furniture made of cherry looks spectacular. The wood is hard, making it a bit difficult to work with. But this same hardness makes the wood resistant to scratches and abrasion. Cherry wood has an even grain and the wood is non-toxic.
Cabins made of pinewood look rustic and inviting, so we tend to think that furniture made of this wood would look good as well. Pinewood is extremely soft, which makes it easy to work with and yes, it looks great. However, the softness of pinewood also makes it prone to being scratched and dented easily. For this reason, pinewood furniture is not so common.
Here is a wood that is also soft like pinewood, so you may find it inconvenient to make indoor furniture with it. But cedar makes good outdoor furniture because the wood has some good weather-resistant properties. It is also suitable for making closets because of its aromatic properties that help to repel bugs.
Teak is one of the most expensive and sought-after types of wood in the world. Woodworkers revere it for its good looks, strength, and durability. The natural oils that teak wood secretes make it resistant to insects, rot, and mold. It also makes it quite a weather-resistant type of wood. Teak is a bit difficult to work with because of its hardness but it makes excellent furniture. The fine grain structure of teak gets accentuated once you apply an appropriate finish to it.
Rosewood is more expensive than teak wood and is scarce. Due to the over-exploitation of rosewood trees, the wood features on the list of endangered wood species. It has a faintly rose-like aroma on cutting and it has a deep reddish maroon shade. Rosewood has a natural glossiness without having to apply any polish and, it is also termite resistant. A variety of rosewood called Indian rosewood is more readily available and can be commonly found on the Indian subcontinent. Rosewood is also perfect for sculpting.
Walnut is one of the most expensive varieties of wood, especially if used for furniture. It also serves well for carving and is very stable. This property of walnut makes it the preferred choice for ornate furniture that features intricate carving work. Because of the high cost and scarcity of this wood, you are more likely to get walnut in veneer form.
Plywood, although without the good looks and smooth texture of solid woods, occupies a prominent role in furniture making due to its strength and durability. It takes nails and screws in easily and will not warp and shrink with differences in temperature and humidity.
This wood is cheaper and tough but flexible. You will find it impossible to crack plywood because of the way the layers are glued together with the wood grain at right angles from one layer to another. If you use a suitable wood veneer, you can make plywood look like expensive hardwoods at a fraction of the cost.
What we have featured here are a few of the best types of wood for furniture that you can get. If you use any of them, your woodworking projects will look great. By looking at the properties of the types of wood featured here, you could probably experiment with some other types of wood with similar properties and get excellent results. As long as you use the best quality wood, you can complete some awesome-looking woodworking furniture projects.