Now that so many of us appreciate the need for sustainability and a low eco footprint we are looking for ways to spread that ethos to our whole home including the furniture. Tying in with this is the current trend for wooden furniture of all sorts made from recycled or upcycled sourced pieces of wood. For both these reasons and many more people are on the hunt for the perfect piece of wooden furniture to complete their dream homes.
But what is the very best wood to look for when buying furniture? Without being an expert or in the industry it can be very hard to judge.
We contacted Thom Howden at Kalusto Furniture to help us put together a primer on the woods commonly used for furniture. He told us, “Well, first you have to realise there are two main types of wood. Softwoods like fir, pine and spruce and hardwoods like oak, mahogany, walnut, beech, and acacia. Most of our furniture tends to be the heavier hardwood varieties.”
It turns out there is no one, best wood for furniture. They all have their place depending on the setting they are intended for, the usage and the appearance of the wood desired.
We will run through the ones that Thom flagged and highlight the main uses and properties.
This is one of the most well known and common woods. Often used by custom cabinet makers for example. Oak comes in both white, which is actually more of a grey/brown, and reddish tinted variants. It tends to be very dense and is versatile in use all the way from floorings to cabinets and trims. It is an extremely hard, strong wood. It has a varied and porous grain pattern. It tends to be either oiled for a finish or left natural.
Mahogany is another of the most popular choices for furniture. It is straight grained and tends to be free of whorls, pockets and grains. This is a moderately hard wood that has a lovely red colour, all the way from dramatic blood red to a more subdued reddish-brown hue. It is often finished off with sanding to keep the natural highlights and its colour tends to change slowly over time.
Black walnut is often used for expensive, top of the range furniture. It is a brown wood going from a really pale colouration to a more chocolatey one. It is fairly lightweight and not as dense or as finely grained as our previous two examples.
This is a very heavy and hard wood but surprising easy for carpenters to work and to mould into shape often with the use of steam. Its colour varies from pink to a reddish brown though there are also cream varieties. Its main use is more for ancillary parts of furniture such as chair legs.
This hardwood is found in many hot regions of the world including Australia and India. Its properties make it very suitable for long lasting items of furniture. It is exceptionally durable and hard to scratch. The colour tends to be a deep brown.
So there you have it, a quick guide from the guru’s at Kalusto on the top selling woods from their perspective.