Have you ever wondered why certain trees are used in furniture making and others are not?
The reason is this: some trees produce wood that is hard, robust and fine grained and others, quite simply, don’t. When you are crafting furniture, the wood you are working with has to be strong, flexible and attractive. Certain woods bend well and therefore can be used for bent furniture parts that require maximum strength. Fine grained timbers are more attractive in appearance and other trees produce an appealing colour of wood. All of these factors combine when deciding which trees to use for furniture making.
Some trees, such as the yew tree, have been used for thousands of years in tool making and hundreds of years in furniture making which proves that the qualities of the timbers have been known for an exceptionally long time.
What are the Most Popular Trees used in Furniture Making?
The ash tree is extremely malleable and is therefore ideal for furniture making, particularly for rounded parts. Ash veneers are widely used too. The colour of the timber varies depending on the species from creamy white to dark reddish brown.
Beech wood is another flexible hardwood but as it’s not quite as appealing as other timbers, it tends to be used alongside others. So you might find you have an ash table with beech drawer bottoms and legs for example. Beech does stain well however and will often be stained to appear like cherry, maple or mahogany.
Oak is of course another revered timber used in furniture making. It is an exceptionally strong tree with an attractive grain, widely used for solid furniture and fittings but equally popular as a veneer. Some of the more unusual oak veneers include tiger brown oak burr, quartered bog oak and European oak cluster, but there is a huge choice from this particular timber.
Cherry wood is one of the most revered and expensive hardwoods and associated with fine furniture and cabinetry. The grain is most appealing, sometimes slightly mottled which adds to the charm. You’ll find this timber in colours ranging from dark reddish brown to light brown.
Mahogany has been a staple favourite in furniture making for centuries and is renowned worldwide. A very expensive, timber, it is widely used as a veneer; its beautiful deep brown-red colouring and distinctive grain exceptionally attractive.
Maple is also a very popular veneer, and produces alluring effects when sliced in certain ways and also when figured. Maple burr and cluster veneers, open burr maple, quilted maple and pink quilted maple are all used in fine cabinetmaking.
Walnut is also used in fine furniture making and is one of the most popular timbers used to make veneer panels. The grain is immensely appealing and the wood is one of the most expensive.