There seems to be an endless choice of woods to choose from when deciding to buy furniture. Different woods have different properties, making them suitable for particular locations and uses. Here is a quick guide to various type of furniture wood to help you make the right decision for your home and budget.
Beech is an incredibly durable wood, light in colour with a fine grain and few knots. It’s smooth texture and resistance to shock makes it a popular furniture and flooring choice. A hardwood found throughout the Northern hemisphere, beech is mostly imported from Europe due to declining UK forests. Beech is relatively inexpensive for a hardwood, as it doesn’t contain the popular graining of other woods. Look for FSC certification on your beech furniture. A beautiful piece for your home, this Fraser Dining Table is a contemporary choice and features beautiful Beech-effect legs.
One of the most common commercial trees, pine is a softwood with a straight and even grain. Grown in the northern hemisphere, it is used in both construction and furniture, being both lightweight and inexpensive. Plantation grown pine is much better quality than wild pine, producing thicker wood with more resin. Small knots in pine wood give it a popular rustic look, and it lends itself easily to painting and staining. The perfect piece for any home, this bedside table is made from natural pine and provides you with space for your collection of books or other items. Ensure your pine is from sustainable plantations, marked with an FSc certificate, or buy reclaimed wood.
Oak is a hardwood with a strong grain, and is hugely popular in furniture and joinery for it’s rustic and elegant look. A beautifully designed piece for your bedroom, this Amsterdam Oak Bed Frame provides you with a stylish, supportive place to sleep. Despite being strong and durable, oak can split if not worked correctly, so skilled craftsmen are needed to produce high quality pieces. There are over 600 species of oak which grow throughout the Northern hemisphere, with English Oak being incredibly popular for use in furniture making. The quality of the finished piece and the length of time it takes for the tree to grow both contribute to a high price for oak furniture. Illegal felling of Oak trees in Europe is common so make sure yours is FSc certified.
Teak is a tropical hardwood that can grow up to 40m tall. Found mainly in Southeast Asia and Indonesia, teak is renowned for its practicality and durability. Natural oils present in the bark ensure the wood is weather and insect resistant, making it a popular choice in outdoor furniture. It is easily shaped and contains a lovely tight grain. Try to avoid buying teak imported from Burma, as this has most likely been logged illegally. Generally speaking, teak is an expensive wood due to import costs and the long growth period for high quality trees. A great way to keep your wood looking fresh, this Johnstones Woodcare Raw Linseed Oil rejuvenates and nourishes your wood furniture.
Ash holds very similar properties to oak, and is often used as a substitute. Durable and with a straight grain, ash is very easy to work with, commonly used for furniture panelling. It’s a hardwood that grows throughout the Northern hemisphere, although almost all ancient forests have been destroyed. Buy from plantations which come with a FSc certification.
Maple is one of the most versatile woods around, used in everything from violins and kitchen utensils to flooring, furniture and more. The wood itself is very strong and durable, with an elegant, tight graining and broad range of colours. Grown throughout North America and Canada, maple is one of the more sustainable woods, yet still commands a reasonable price due to it’s quality and the craft needed to bring out the best in the grain.