One of the most important elements of the design process is selecting wood species. There are numerous cosmetic and lifestyle factors that go into selecting a wood species for your project. Certain wood species are going to do a better job of resisting and hiding scratches for folks interested in a dining table that may also serve as a family gathering and homework workspace for families with multiple children. Other species may provide a smooth, glossy look for those seeking a sleek contemporary bedroom set.
Below we discuss factors to consider when selecting each of the wood species we build in.
Red oak offers a course-textured look and outstanding durability that makes it a great choice for families with children or pets that may be hard on furniture. Its naturally textured grain tends to allow nicks and scratches to blend in seamlessly. At times red oak has been unfairly maligned due to the ubiquity of blonde oak furniture in the 1990s that now looks dated. However, updated finishes make red oak a great choice for current pieces. Driftwood grey stains and white or cream paints can give red oak furniture a coastal or modern farmhouse feel, dark greys and onyx-colored stains can skew more contemporary.
Brown maple has a subtle, muted grain that gives it a remarkably smooth texture when it is stained or painted. It takes dark stains like rich browns, dark greys and blacks very well. It's a good choice for folks that want a very clean, sleek look and therefore tends to lend itself well to more contemporary pieces. In contrast to red oak, because of its smooth texture brown maple will highlight
dings and scratches more especially when stained darker colors.
Cherry has a beautiful swirling grain and a reddish-pink undertone when stained. Its gorgeous natural grain makes it a great choice for simple, clean-lined shaker-style pieces where the grain pairs perfectly with the understated elegance inherent in shaker furniture. Darker stained cherry pieces can work great for more formal dining settings. Cherry is a photosensitive and will gradually darken over time.
Quartersawn White Oak
Quartersawn white oak has a lovely, straight grain owing to the fact the lumber is cut horizontal to the tree's growth rings. It's a remarkably strong, durable species that can hold up to heavy daily use and looks better and better with age. It's the obvious choice for craftsman and arts and crafts-style pieces like our Mellion bedroom collection and Mission seating furniture. Golden browns stains beautifully highlight the darker flecks inherent in quartersawn white oak.
Its dramatic, swirling grain pattern makes walnut a favorite for undersated, clean pieces where the natural beauty of the wood is allowed to take center stage. It can range in color from light to deep brown with blonde, red and pink tones often coming through. With its gorgeous natural coloring, walnut is typically finished with a natural clear coat. Live edge walnut tables can create a stunning center piece with the versatility of providing either a very formal or more casual feel depending on the space and place setting. For instance a live edge table under a dramatic chandalier with gold flatware offers upscale elegance in a formal dining room. Or the same table can be built with a bench on one side and have a burlap table runner adorned with colorful flowers for a more rustic chic look.
Exotic and other wood species
We build in exotic wood species like tiger maple (shown on table below) and flaming birch and in other species like hickory, elm and white hard maple. Each has its own unique grain pattern and qualities.
We have samples and examples of furniture pieces in our showroom of each wood species. Stop by the showroom or call us with questions. We own our own lumber mill and our staff is highly knowledgeable of the different characteristics of the wood species used in our pieces.