In an exclusive interview, the most common hardwoods explain why they should be featured in your home. Like all wood products, these hardwoods are often described as living materials because they respond to their environment. They expand in high humidity and shrink in drier conditions. Careful construction and protective coatings can ensure that the wood furniture matures into an attractive final product. Each hardwood has its own endearing characteristics and charm, as the hardwoods themselves describe.
Cherry: I’m the most popular of the hardwoods because furniture owners adore my amber hue. However, if you purchase me new, my coloring will be much lighter than you expect. I’m pale when first constructed. Once exposed to light for several months, I will become a glossy red. While maturing, my coloring is very impressionable. If an object rests on a newly constructed cherry table, it will leave a lighter imprint where the area did not receive light. Don’t panic. Over time these lighter patches will darken to match the rest of the table.
Maple furniture has a delicate, pale hue.
Maple: I’m a natural blonde. Unstained, my coloring ranges from dark honey to platinum, but with staining, I can achieve a dark chocolate color or even brilliant white. My grain runs straight with occasional whorls. Beyond my good looks, many people value me for my resilience. I resist abrasions and indentations.
American black walnut was used to create this extendable table.
American Black Walnut: Although I’m all-American, I’m sometimes considered an exotic hardwood, because I am rare and have a unique patina. At first sight, you will be attracted to my dark color, which ranges from gray-brown to deep purple-brown. Look closer and you will notice my rich golden undertones that become more pronounced as I age. These undertones give me a depth that stains cannot mimic.
Soap ash has a gentle taupe coloring with some darker grains.
American White Ash: Powerful. Strong. I’m known to be a sturdy choice for furniture. While I’m predictably solid, my natural coloring can be charmingly variable. I may be very light or very dark. Many adore these variegated colors, especially as they are set off by my smooth, straight grain.
Oak is a durable choice for furniture.
Oak: Some people describe me as dense -- but that’s a compliment. My hardness gives me strength and durability. If you seek a long-lasting wood, I’m the best choice. Not only am I extremely strong, but I also produce a high concentration of tannins that resist fungal and insect attacks.
Now that you have met the most eligible hardwoods for furniture, which do you prefer?