Your furniture is an important investment, and it’s worth knowing as much as you can about how it’s made and what materials it is constructed from.
For most furniture, the frame is made from wood. So, it’s helpful to know which woods are used to make different kinds of furniture and which woods are associated with quality furniture.
We put together this article describing which woods are commonly used to make furniture and outlined a little bit which ones you should look for if you’re in the market for high-quality furniture. Hopefully, this helps you make better-informed consumer choices.
What are some of the woods used in furniture?
Most wood is used for furniture in some way, including when chips are pressed together into particleboard. But people looking for furniture will often see the same kinds of woods when shopping. Some of those, and their benefits, are as follows:
- White pine: An inexpensive, readily available softwood, pine is one of the most common woods used in furniture. It is the single most common wood used for unfinished furniture, although it can be found in all different kinds of furniture. It is a low-cost wood.
- Oak: Who hasn’t dreamed of having a bedroom set made of oak? A hardwood prized for its strength and appearance of its grain, it is most commonly associated with solid furniture. In modern furniture, it’s also used as a veneer. It is a more expensive wood.
- Maple: Another popular hardwood, maple is as dense as it is strong. It is commonly used in furniture and butcher blocks, but it is difficult to work with hand tools. It’s also pretty expensive.
- Mahogany: Mahogany is a classic furniture wood. It combines a rich, deep dark red color scheme with tight grain density. Mahogany furniture lasts a long time and is prized by antique hunters and is often passed down from generation to generation. It is, of course, very expensive. If you find some for sale, make sure it’s South American mahogany.
- Redwood: A softwood most commonly associated with outdoor furniture, redwood is also resistant to fungus and insects. Its price is regionally dependant, more affordable on the West Coast where the trees primarily grow. Redwood furniture usually goes unfinished.
- Cherry: If you’re looking for fine furniture or cabinets, cherry is likely to be an option for you. People like it because it is tightly grained with a deep reddish color that is often accentuated with a stain. It’s hard to work with hand tools and is expensive.
- Pecan: You can find pecan wood in both rustic and modern furniture, and often in dining room furniture. It’s a dense hardwood that can withstand punishment but is difficult to work using hand tools. It’s moderately priced, however.
- Ash: Ash has two advantages. It is a tough hardwood but is capable of bending. Furniture parts that require strength while bent is a common use, as are veneers. Colored exactly as the name might imply, it’s moderately priced.
- Teak: Another wood associated with the Tropics, teak is commonly used for outdoor furniture because it is dense enough to be nearly water repellent. Just don’t allow it to sit too long in direct sunlight. It is also expensive.
- Hickory: Hickory has a well-established reputation as a hard, dense, heavy wood. It is among the most durable of woods and is commonly used to make chairs: rocking chairs, lawn furniture, and Windsor chairs. Because it is dense, it is hard to work with hand tools. It is moderately priced.
- Cedar: Most commonly associated with chests, cedar is also used in closets. It is famous for its scent and attractive grain, and for its ability to repel insects. It’s a moderately priced wood that is light red in color.
- Birch: You’ll find birch in all facets of furniture making, from chairs to cabinets and even the tops of veneer. It’s solid hardwood, which means things made from it will last a long time. It’s also priced somewhere in the middle of all woods.
- Poplar: One of the most inexpensive woods you’ll find, poplar is either used to make furniture at the lower end of the price scale. It’s also used as a supplemental wood alongside other, stronger woods in slightly more expensive furniture. It is light and easy to work with hand tools.
- Rosewood: From Brazil, rosewood is another wood prized for high-end furniture. Like mahogany, it is prized for its deep, lustrous coloration. Also like mahogany, if you plan to buy rosewood furniture, you should plan to pay a lot for it.
Knowing how to buy quality furniture starts with knowing what kinds of materials it is constructed from. That means having a better idea of which woods are associated with high-quality furniture and why.
Not only does knowing which woods are used to make furniture help you know which furniture to look for, but it’ll also help you do a better job of maintaining your furniture or replace broken parts.
We hope you found this guide helpful. If you did, or have some additional knowledge, feel free to leave a comment below. Or, share it on your social media networks. The worst knowledge is the knowledge you keep to yourself.