Choosing Your Wood Type
We understand there are many options to choose from. Here are some details about each of the woods our craftsmen use to make your furniture. If at any point you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Note: Standard versus Rustic
You’ll see some woods, such as cherry and quartersawn white oak, available in both standard and rustic versions. The only difference here is that the rustic version will have more ‘imperfections’ allowed to remain. This means you may have furniture where the original character remains including grain imperfections, knots, burls, mineral streaking or other variations. Allowing these features to remain results in lower cost.
Many people actually prefer these characteristics, and the result is you receive a product made from the same wood at a reduced cost. Why does it cost less? Because during the milling process less waste is created as the ‘imperfections’ no longer have to be cut out of the wood. This results in quicker milling and less waste.
Along with Oak, Brown Maple is generally the least expensive option for solid hardwood furniture. This is not an indication of quality, but a reflection of the economics of supply and demand. Brown Maple offers a very economical alternative to cherry wood, with similar looking results when stained in traditional dark stains.
The grain on Brown Maple is very fine and uniform which makes it very smooth because it does not contain the texture of heavily grained woods like Oak or Hickory. It is also subject to mineral streaking and therefore contains natural variations in wood color. Due to the nature of Brown Maple wood you should expect color variations in the stain.
Recommended Stains: Asbury | Coffee | Onyx | Driftwood
Hard Maple, sometimes known as Rock Maple, or Sugar Maple, has more than double the hardness of Brown Maple. Common uses of Hard Maple are basketball courts, bowling alley lanes, butcher blocks, and even baseball bats. For the purposes of furniture, both maple species are more than adequate to provide long lasting and beautiful furniture.
The real reason people like Hard Maple is due to its unique grain characteristics. The grain is generally straight, but may have subtle waves, and it has a fine, even texture. Depending on how the log is milled, unique grain patterns can emerge resulting in characteristics defined as Curly Maple, Quilted Maple, Bird’s Eye Maple, or Tiger Maple.
Recommended Stains: Natural | Sealy | Michael's Cherry | Ebony
Oak (Red Oak)
Oak is one of the most used woods in the world, and arguably the most popular hardwood used in the United States. Oak is strong, hard, plentiful, and easy to work with. The grain on Oak is straight, with a coarse uneven texture. Its unique and dominant grain patterns make it one of the most easily identifiable woods. It is usually the least expensive option due to its plentiful supply.
Oak wood takes any color stain applied very well. The result is usually a uniform color appearance without streaking or other irregularities.
Recommended Stains: Ebony | Wheat | Saddle | Sealy
Quartersawn White Oak (QSWO)
Most people are familiar with the look of Quartersawn White Oak even though they may not realize it. If you’re at all familiar with Arts & Crafts style furniture, Mission Furniture, or Stickley furniture, you have likely seen Quartersawn White Oak.
Quartersawn White Oak is an extremely hard wood, about double the hardness of Brown Maple. Because of the way the tree is milled at the lumber yard, Quartersawn White Oak has distinctive wavy grain patterns along with Medullary Rays. The more common terms for this are 'Tiger Stripe' and 'Ray Flecks.'
The process of milling the wood in this way results not only in beautiful grain patterns, but also provides the benefits of structural integrity and durability. However, milling the lumber in this way increases cost because a log must be repositioned many times to produce this outcome.
Recommended Stains: Tea | Michaels | Tavern | Smokehouse
Cherry wood is the classic American wood used for fine woodworking, furniture building, and cabinet making. People are drawn to Cherry wood for its unique grain characteristics and warm tones. It’s important to keep in mind that Cherry will darken over time and with exposure to light.
If you are looking for a durable, beautiful hardwood with classic grain and clean lines, Cherry wood is an excellent choice.
Recommended Stains: Michaels Cherry | Asbury Brown | Natural | Washington