Uses of wood and types of wood in furniture; it might surprise you

Thousands of years ago, during the stone age, cavemen often used wood to make mostly fires to cook and keep themselves warm during cold weathers. But as years passed, they found more uses of wood. They learnt to carve materials out of it and even used it as weapons to protect themselves against invading enemies. But today, thanks to civilisation and advanced engineering, wood is now the most versatile material on the planet. Wood can be used to make paper, roofs, wooden bridges, parts of ships, and much more.

Wood is an important component of furniture. It is used to make fittings, such as handles, of a door, coffin, or other wooden items. Wood is also used to make chairs and sofas, including window frames and wardrobes.

 

We have various types of wood used in furniture. Each of them fall under these three categories of wood: hardwood, softwood and engineered wood. Woods that are tougher and denser are known as hardwood, while those that are less dense and brittle fall under softwoods.

Identifying the differences between hardwood and softwood can be a real headache most times. But one common way to distinguish between them is this: hardwood comes from deciduous trees which lose their leaves annually, while softwood comes from conifers (evergreen trees). Furthermore, hardwood is generally more expensive and has lower sap than softwood. Some examples of hardwood trees are oak and mahogany. For softwood trees, they are spruce and pine.

 

There is this thought that hardwood is harder than softwood. Although this is true in many cases, it is not always the case. For example wood from yew trees — a softwood— is relatively hard — while wood from balsa trees — a hardwood — is relatively soft.

 

Engineered wood, on the other hand, is wood that is man-made. Unlike hardwood and softwood, it doesn’t exist in nature. This wood is mostly made from waste and sawmills.

 

Also referred to as composite wood, engineered wood undergoes a lot of chemical and heat processes which are often done according to users specifications. The most common examples of engineered wood are plywood and composite board.

Now that you understand the different classes of wood and know some of their examples, before buying wood for furniture in your home, you must know that each wood is unique to a type of furniture.

In this article, you’ll learn the various uses of wood in furniture and the types of wood used to make them.

 

TYPES OF WOOD USED FOR FURNITURE

Wood can be used to make various projects in furniture. For example plywood is popularly used to make kitchen cabinets, while ash is often used to make wood floors.

1. Oak and maple

One of the fine attributes of solid hardwood is its rich and warm colours, which is why when it comes to luxury, they are unmatched! Maple and oak are often used to make face frames and cabinets. Though maple is more expensive than softwood, it is worth every penny if you want something that’s exquisite and adds more style and luxury to your kitchen.

2. Walnut

Setting up a colourful kitchen cabinet can be challenging. Using the wrong wood type can make things even worse. Although any type of wood can be stained to match the colours in your home, walnuts stand out here. Walnut gives a very warm texture — one that’s similar to mahogany. It is famous for its rich colours, and cabinets made from it appear better.

3. Ash

Despite its unpleasant smell, Ash is a material many carpenters love to work with. Aside from the fact that ash is available in most parts of the world, this wood has an excellent sticking property. Besides this, ash holds screws and nails perfectly. It is also available in colours like light and creamy brown and has an excellent brown streak.

 

Ash is both flexible and tough and can handle any type of wood finish — one of the major reasons carpenters love to work with it. That said, ash can be used for various purposes in furniture. It can be used to make boxes and tables, and even as a flooring material.

4. Cherry

Obtained from the cherry tree, this wood is a popular choice for furniture manufacturers because of its smooth grain and flexibility. These unique properties make the cherry wood ideal for complicated furniture designs. Freshly cut cherry wood has a rich light pinkish colour that turns to medium reddish-brown over time. Cherry is used to make cabinets, musical instruments, furniture, and other wooden materials. For a perfect cherry product, use only light to natural finishes.

5. Larch

This wood material is mostly found in cooler climates such as regions in the northern hemisphere. Its color ranges from rich bricky red when freshly sawn to medium brown with narrow strands of white sap when left to dry. Though larch is somewhat light, still it has a good strength.

 

Besides this and despite being a softwood, larch is valued for its tough, waterproof and durable qualities. An example is the western larch which is known to have fire resistant barks. Larch is used to make fence pots and joints in furniture. It is also an extremely good flooring material and ideal for heavy structural work.

 

One major drawback of larch is its poor resistance to fungus attack — it is susceptible to wood fungi. Notwithstanding, this can be solved with proper wood treatment.

6. Hemlock wood

Hemlock is a very soft and light wood. Its colour ranges from reddish brown to a less light colour in the sapwood. Hemlock can be used to make various types of furniture like tables, cabinets, pallets, and even plywood. There’s two types of hemlock: western and eastern. Western hemlock is used for general construction, roof decking, and for making plywood, while the eastern hemlock wood is used to make boxes and pallets.

 

Furthermore, hemlock wood can be used to make boats and aircrafts. Currently, construction companies have begun using hemlock to make frames and sheaths. To get the best finish in hemlock products, apply only clear finishes.

7. Veneer

Veneers are thin layers of wood cut from solid timber. Its unique qualities are emphasised in its grain patterns, colour and character marks. Veneers are cost-effective and environmentally-friendly. Likewise, they are a good substitute to solid hardwood.

Veneers are often used by interior decorators and architects for various wood designs. But its application is a bit complex and requires the skills of professional woodworkers with a high-level of craftsmanship.

 

Veneers are often used to make wall panels in areas like hotels, reception areas, board rooms and elevators. They are the ideal choice for anyone who can’t afford solid hardwood but want to enjoy the same aesthetic values it provides. And if you want lightweight wood for a boat or yacht interior, veneers are more ideal than hardwood.

 

Conclusion

Wood has numerous uses in furniture. Some like larch are good for joinery. Others like ash are excellent for flooring and can be used to make boxes and tables too. If you want colourful kitchen cabinets, walnut wood is the ideal choice. Besides, wood is so versatile that its application is not limited to furniture alone. For example, because of their lightweight qualities, wood veneers are often used to design the interior of boats and yachts, while hemlock wood is used to make frames and parts of ships and aircrafts.

 

SOURCES / REFERENCES

https://awiqcp.org/news-and-blog/what-are-the-most-common-applications-of-wood-veneer/#:~:text=Wood%20veneers%20can%20be%20used,of%20opulence%20and%20fine%20craftsmanship.

https://spadonehome.com/types-of-wood-for-furniture/