The Sturdiest Types of Wood for Furniture

Published by Billy Dunham on January 7, 2013 - 1:30pm

There are several different types of wood used in building furniture, and understanding the differences between them will help people make the right furniture buying decisions.  When it’s time to buy new furniture for the home, consider these various options to make the right choice for any home.
 
Cherry and Mahogany
Deep color with rich tones combines with a hard wood that handle years of use.  The finishes are attractive, and the durable wood is less likely to become scratched or damaged.  An ideal choice for bedroom, dining room and living room furniture, people who are looking for durability and high quality often lean towards these valuable woods.
Pine and Beech 
The least expensive options, pine and beech are fast growing woods that are typically very soft.  They scratch and dent easily, and even the most careful homeowners will find some damage to the wood after regular use.  However, the damage can become part of the great appeal.  Every piece takes on a weathered, aged look that is completely unique from other items.  Commonly used for tables, chairs and cabinets, pine and beech are also used for making beds.  The light color and low price of these furnishings make them an ideal use for children’s rooms.  The furnishings can last for many years, but owners should expect them to have their own unique flair from the scratches and dents.
 
Unique Maple
Maple can be finished to achieve a light tone or an incredible rich color.  It ranges in hardness with sugar maple being the hardest variety.  Soft maple taken from other species is prone to scratching and denting like pine, but hard maple is more durable and will be more resistant to damage.  Maple is commonly used in kitchen cabinets and furniture, but it can be used in furniture throughout the home.  Birdseye Maple features a unique grain pattern and is only found in hard maple.  It’s one of the most durable options, and the unique appearance of the grain makes it one of the most expensive options among maple furniture.   A good choice for families who are looking for quality while sticking to a budget, maple will continue looking great for years to come.
 
Traditional Oak

The traditional favorite, oak furniture has been commonly used in furniture for centuries.  It can be stained for light shades or deeper colors, and it’s harder than pine, beech or maple.  While not as hard as mahogany, it is still a durable wood that is known for lasting decades or even centuries with a little care.  It falls between mahogany and pine in cost, color and durability, so it’s a great choice for families searching for quality furniture.  However, it can also fit nicely in the budget when families are trying to save a little money.
 
Solid vs. Veneers
When shopping for furniture, it’s common to find solid wood furniture that features a pine or even plywood base with a mahogany or cherry veneer.  Veneers are a thin layer of solid wood carefully applied to a base featuring a different wood species.  They have been in use for centuries as a way of getting quality solid wood furniture at a lower price.  Durable and attractive, veneered furniture looks beautiful and can last just as long as regular furniture.  The downside of veneers is that they can become damaged and are difficult to repair.  The furniture cannot be refinished the way solid wood can.  However, people who really want the look of cherry or mahogany without the typical high cost will be pleased with the look and price tag of veneered furnishings.

How's it constructed 
When shopping for wood furniture, it’s important to look at the construction.  Even more than the wood species used, how the furniture is assembled effects the durability and value.  Look for dovetailed joints in drawers, dust shelves between drawers in dressers and solid wood bases in cabinets.  Examine the assembly of legs to be sure that they are fitted in with grooves and joints rather than just tacked in place.  When furniture that is built to last is chosen, it can last for decades whether it is made from simple pine or luxurious cherry.

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