The people who love and care for their furniture most are often the people who know the story behind the furniture. They know the little details – how the piece was created, where the materials are sourced from, and any special features it contains. The wood that’s present in your custom furniture will determine its quality, durability, and lifetime as you use and admire your piece within your home.
Wood Types Commonly Found in Custom Furniture
There are many wood types used in custom furniture. Here, we’re walking through three of the most commonly used woods – mahogany, alder and oak.
Mahogany has a reputation that precedes it and for good reason. This beautiful wood generally can be found in warmer climate regions like Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. So what makes mahogany so great? First, stability is one of the most key benefits of using mahogany. Once worked into a shape, mahogany remains intact. For example, if you have joints made of mahogany, they rarely swell or shrink with changes in weather and humidity. The ability to work the wood into those shapes is also a benefit of mahogany. It’s known for great workability, as it is easy to sand and easy to shape. It’s just hard enough to be durable but not too hard that you can’t work it into the beautiful shapes you require for your custom furniture piece. Mahogany trees are also very tall, so their grain tends to be almost flawless, free of knots and defects.
Alder trees are native to the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Oregon alone has four different species of alder; red, white, Sitka and thinleaf. The trees can grow to 80 feet tall. So, what makes alder so great for custom furniture-making? Well, this species is one of the softest of the hardwoods. It has a high workability rating, as it is easy to manipulate into the shapes you require for your furniture pieces. Alder is also commonly used in cabinet making for this reason. Alder’s color is light brown and its’ grain patterns are subtle and more straight than many of the hardwoods. This makes it great for shaping and eliminates the worry for twisting or warping. Alder is one of the lightest hardwoods, which is useful in furniture framework – as it’s not so heavy that it prevents you from moving your furniture around.
There are hundreds of species of oak all over the world. This tree can live in many environments, from cool to tropical. The trees are present in the U.S., Mexico, Europe, Asia, Africa, and more. Mexico has over 100 species and China is a close second in population density. The availability of this wood makes it one of the more popular woods for woodworking and custom furniture making. Oak is widely known for being very durable and hard. The very dense wood is excellent for highly trafficked furniture that needs to be sturdy, like bed frames and sofas. White oak is waterproof, making it great for furniture that’s exposed to the elements. Red oak is the wood more commonly seen in flooring and most indoor furniture. There are many different varieties of oak, making it great for custom furniture. You have more options in terms of unique wood patterns and it stains quite well, so it affords you variety in color as well.
These are just a few of the wood types commonly used in furniture. Know your wood while building your own custom furniture pieces and you’ll end up with a piece you adore.