A Guide to Furniture Wood Types

May 30, 2018 Off By Admin

There can be a big difference in the price of a piece of furniture; depending on what wood it has been constructed from. Of course the type of wood used is influenced by a wide variety of factors; including what part of the world the furniture is made.

This guide will help you to understand the different furniture wood types available; whether you are looking to purchase readymade pieces or the best table saw to create your own.

Hardwoods & Softwoods

As their names suggests hardwoods are generally much harder than softwoods. This makes it more difficult to create the intricate pieces of furniture that are so popular. But, a hardwood should stand the test of time. A well built mahogany or oak cabinet can be looked after and still be going strong in 100 years.

The flat packed pine wardrobe is unlikely to be doing the same!

The most common hardwoods for furniture are:

  • Mahogany
  • Oak
  • Walnut
  • Cherry
  • Maple
  • Birch
  • Ash

Hardwoods are generally darker than softwoods. The most common softwoods are:

  • Pine
  • Cedar
  • Fir
  • Larch
  • Spruce

These are all natural woods and are popular for making furniture. A piece can be well made out of any of these types of wood. The real question is how well made is it? Pine is affordable and attractive; providing it is well built it will be more than worth the money you spend.

Quality furniture doesn’t refer to the wood it is made from. It refers to the level of expertise and whether it has been hand crafted or not.

It is worth noting that some furniture is made from manufactured wood; this is generally the cheapest type to buy:

  • Fibreboard

This is created by breaking down other woods, soft and hard, into their basic fibers. These are then effectively glued together with wax and resin to create a strong and dense piece of wood.

MDF is very popular and a great example of this type of wood.

  • Chipboard

This is also a bonded wood. It is the shavings and chips from other woods bonded with resin. This is a very popular choice for flat packed furniture.

  • Veneer

This is often used in conjunction with chipboard and fiberboard. It is an exceptionally thin layer of wood which is adhered to the surface of another piece of wood; such as chipboard.

The result is what looks like solid natural wood even though it isn’t.

  • Plywood

It is possible to bind lots of sheets of veneer together. The result is a flat piece of wood which is surprisingly strong. It even looks like the real thing.

The ply is bonded in diagonal segments to ensure the strength of this wood type. This is why it has become one of the most popular products on the market for furniture and flooring. It is highly unlikely to warp; regardless of what you do to it.