Choosing a Wood
What wood should you choose for your custom crafted table? It's hard to go wrong no matter what you pick, but there are pros and cons to every type of wood. Wood is generally classified by its density, from very soft to extremely hard. The denser the wood the more durable it is - and usually the more expensive. We tend to use mostly softwoods such as pine, cedar, hemlock, and fir for our tables. They look great stained, are economical and blend well together once the table starts getting dinged up years down the road. The distressing that eventually occurs from use adds character and personality.
Softwoods are not weaker or inferior to hardwoods, just different. They grow quicker than hardwoods, creating a grain that is less dense. Softwood comes from coniferous trees (trees that do not shed their needles). Common softwoods are pines, spruces, cedars, and firs. Softwoods also tend to run to lighter colors. Softwood is excellent for gently used, less expensive furniture.
Hardwoods are slower growing deciduous trees (trees that drop their leaves each year) and thus produce a much denser, heavier wood. Some common types of hardwoods include walnut, maple, cherry, ash, and birch. Woodworkers love hardwoods because of the colors, grain patterns, warmth and character that make beautiful wooden furniture. Hardwoods tend to run darker in color than softwoods. Heirloom furniture is nearly always made out of hardwood due to its durability.
Softwoods We Use
Cedar has a reddish color and is a fairly soft wood with a straight grain and a slightly aromatic air. Cedar is mostly used in outdoor furniture, decks and fencing because it is highly resistant to rotting in moist environments. Cedar takes stains and finishes well. Click image to view.
Douglas Fir has a straight, strong grain with a pale yellow to light reddish brown tint. It is the most commonly used wood in construction for its ease of use and low cost. It is among the strongest of soft woods but it doesn’t take stain as well as other woods so it is typically used when the finished product will be painted. Click image to view.
Pine comes in several varieties such as Ponderosa, Sugar, White and Yellow, each with their own light coloring, and they all make great furniture. Pine is a soft wood that is easy to work with, stains well and has interesting grain features and imperfections including knots. Click image to view.
Western Hemlock has a pale reddish brown color with occasional darker streaks. The grain is generally straight with interesting patterns created by growth rings. It takes stains and finishes well and is best used when “character” is desired due to the irregularities of the wood between the softer earlywood and harder latewood. Click image to view.
Hardwoods We USE
Mahogany is a rot resistant reddish-brown wood with straight, fine grain. It polishes readily to a reddish sheen while it's color tends to darken over time. It has excellent workability while being very durable, and it accepts stains and finishes well. Click image to view.
Black Walnut, also know as American Walnut, can range from a pale brown color to a dark chocolate brown with darker streaks. Grain is usually straight, but can be irregular. It is a very popular wood for it's beauty, workability and durability. It takes stains well, but it is rarely stained due to it's natural coloring and luster. Click image to view.
Poplar is commonly called the hardest softwood as it lies right on the dividing line between soft and hardwood densities. A whitish cream to yellowish brown wood, with an occasional streak of light green, poplar takes stains well with its straight uniform grain. Poplar is commonly used in cabinets and furniture due to its lightweight strength.
Red Oak is a popular wood, prized for its durability, large pores and strong grain with a coarse texture that stains extremely well. The sapwood is white to light brown with the heartwood a pinkish reddish brown. Click image to view.
White Oak is prized by furniture and cabinet woodworkers for its strength, beauty, rot-resistance and ease of use. Like Red Oak, White Oak has a strong grain with a coarse texture but is more white to light brown in color. White Oak is more moisture resistant than Red Oak and has commonly been used in boat building. Click image to view.
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