Great wooden furniture starts with great wood. From commonly used woods like oak or cherry, to woods such as cyprus or walnut, it’s important to know at least a little bit about wood and different wood types.
A few common woods that go into handcrafted Amish furniture, mission style furniture or country style furniture are cherry, oak, pine, maple, walnut, hickory and eco-friendly polywood. The following is a breakdown of a few woods, with information on each type:
Cherry hardwood is widely accepted as the most distinguished and celebrated hardwood used today in the craftsmanship of Amish or country style furniture. Cherry wood is recognized for both its strength and beauty. Mission style furniture crafted from cherry wood can last for decades, if not generations.
Cherry wood will also redden and darken with age. Cherry wood’s darkening quality is seen as a major advantage. Most customers value the aging of cherry wood, just like they would a fine wine; it only gets better with age!
Oak wood has long been celebrated for its strength, durability, and beauty when it comes to crafting furniture. There are over sixty species of oak grown in the United States. The family can be separated, however, into two distinct groups: white oak and red oak. Oak is a heavy, strong and light colored hardwood. The light color of oak and the natural appeal of the wood grain have long been considered a great source of warmth in American and country style furniture.
The most common type of pine wood used in crafting Amish furniture is Eastern White Pine. Eastern White Pine is straight-grained, with a fine, uniform texture. It has more knots than regular hardwoods and sometimes yellows with age. Eastern White Pine is a soft but stable wood and works very easily with most machine or hand tools.
Hard maple wood usually has creamy white sapwood, with a varying light to dark reddish brown hue in the heart stock. Maple is a heavy, hard, strong, tough, stiff, close-grained wood, and it has a fine and even texture. Maple has an excellent resistance to abrasion and indentation. This makes it an ideal wood for children’s furniture.
Walnut happens to be a dark wood with a medium amount of grain that makes slight grooves in the wood. The appearance of walnut does not change much, even with different stains. If you have more formal tastes, then the rich dark browns of walnut may be the right choice for you.
Hickory wood is distinguished by extreme contrasts of light and dark colors. Hickory hardwood has a natural look that has taken country style furniture patrons by storm. Hickories, themselves, are a very significant species within the eastern hardwood forests.
Eco-friendly polywood is a new, incredible wood alternative for everyday outdoor use. Polywood furniture is strong, durable, and pleasant to the eyes and touch. Polywood furniture has a similar look and feel to wood, and is an environmentally-friendly product with almost none of the maintenance and upkeep of traditional country style furniture made of traditional wood.