Wood is a versatile material used in furniture making, and there are several different types of wood to choose from. The type of wood used can affect the price of a piece of furniture, as well as its durability and look.
There are a number of ways to identify the type of wood used in your furniture, and it can vary widely depending on the age and usage of the item. Some woods are softer than others, and it is important to know the hardness of the wood before buying any piece of furniture.
If the wood is soft, it may be prone to scratches and dents. To test the hardness of a piece of softwood, you can scratch it in an inconspicuous area with your fingernail. If the wood is harder, it will not scratch easily or leave any dents.
Many modern wood furniture pieces are not made from solid wood, but are instead composed of manufactured materials such as MDF (medium-density fiberboard), particle boards or chipboards. These are less expensive than wood, and they can also be painted or printed to make them look like solid wood.
Other manufactured or engineered woods, such as plywood, are much more durable than particle board. These are often used in load-bearing pieces of furniture, such as wardrobes and kitchen cabinets.
Cedar is a popular wood because of its pleasant scent and ability to resist pests. It can be found in a variety of colors, including red and white.
Pine is a common softwood that is popular in furniture making. This type of wood can be stained or painted, and it is easy to carve.
Walnut is another popular wood that is used in many types of furniture. It is typically a dark tan or chocolate brown color, with a straight grain. Occasionally, walnut will have streaks of purple or green mixed in with its rich brown color.
Spruce is a light-colored wood with a tight, straight grain. It can have hints of red or yellow between its growth rings, which makes it popular for painted furniture.
Oak is a hard wood that is used in furniture and other construction projects. It is rot-resistant and will last for generations, so it is a great choice for creating heirloom furniture pieces.
Other woods that are used in furniture include cherry, ash, maple and walnut. These woods can all be difficult to identify by simply looking at them, but they are easy to spot if you know their characteristics.
In addition to the appearance of the wood, you should also look at the way it was cut from the tree. Most softwoods are quartersawn, while hardwoods are usually plainsawn. Some quartersawn woods have a very distinctive grain pattern, such as lacewood or oak.
Some hardwoods, such as ash, are very soft to the touch, with little or no grain indentations at all. These woods are easier to work with than more robust hardwoods, so they are a good choice for beginners.