What Type of Wood is Best for Custom Made Furniture?
Woodworking is a type of craftsmanship that is both artistic and utilitarian. A good piece of custom made furniture can be kept for years between multiple families. Also, it can be a statement piece of home decor. This is, of course, if the craftsman uses the right materials.
So, we are going to talk about what sort of material would be best suited for custom made furniture. After all, there are quite a lot of different types of wood out there in the world. So, let’s find out what checklist you need to run when looking for materials for custom made furniture.
The first thing to realize is that you want to choose a type of wood that is resistant to dents and scratches. Hardwoods are far more likely to resist things like dents and scratches because of the direction of the grain. The best and most common way to test different types of wood is the Janka Hardness Test.
Specialists conduct the experiment by embedding a steel ball in the surface of a sample. The amount of force that it takes to embed the ball onto the surface is measured and applied. The US uses the Pounds per Force (lbf) scale and Europe uses the Kilograms per Force (kbf) scale.
The higher the amount of force, the harder the wood.
Hardwood is rarer in comparison to their softer counterpart. This means it usually more expensive and harder to get. However, not all hardwood is malleable enough for custom made furniture. And, not all furniture is going to go through too much wear and tear. This is why different types of wood are used for different items.
Wood changes when exposed to external environmental factors. Good timber should be more durable. If a piece of wood is naturally resistant to climate changes, termites and fungal attacks. The scale ranges from 1-5 with 5 being the most resistant and 1 being the least. You want to at least choose 3 and above if you want your custom made furniture high quality.
On a similar note, fire resistance is also key to quality made furniture. If the wood has more density, with its grain more compact, it will be more fire resistant as a whole.
A lot of wood is naturally porous. After all, trees are plant matter, and timber is also part of that structure. However, not all wood has the same amount of absorbency. You want to at least make sure that it has less permeability if your furniture is going to be exposed to water.
Not all types of wood look the same. If you have a preference on the pattern of the wood grain or its natural color, take a look at your options. Do you want wood that is brown, yellow or red? Are you planning on painting it with a varnish, or are you leaving it alone? Are you concerned at all over the texture of the wood? These are things you want to keep in mind when deciding what type of wood you want for your custom made furniture.
Mahogany – It is a reddish brown wood that leans toward the harder end of the Janka scale. It is rare so it is going to be more expensive. It is a tropical tree and darkens over time.
Black Walnut – This is one of the most popular woods for furniture in the US. It has a variety of colors that range from light pale brown to grey, to nearly white. It is on the lower range compared to the rest of the other hardwood.
Oak – This is more on the mid-range of the hardness scale. Oak trees are native to the northern hemisphere. There are around 600 species of oak, both deciduous and evergreen. The color goes from pink to blonde.
Birch – Birch trees are widespread in the Northern Hemisphere. Though it is closely related to Oakwood, it is much harder. The color ranges from reddish-brown to nearly white. It has a density slightly above Black Walnut.
Maple – Maple trees are native to Asia. They are sturdy, resistant to splitting and are easy to clean. This makes it ideal for kitchen furniture.
Eastern White Pine – If you want cheaper wood that is not going to be exposed to water anyway, then Eastern White Pine would be ideal. It is on the softer side of the scale and is very lightweight.
Western Hemlock – These species are native to the west coast of North America, and is easy to shape. It is soft, but it also has termite resistance. Just don’t try to use it for outdoor furniture.