Choosing Wood For Your Furniture


What wood should you use for your fine furniture project? The choices can be overwhelming. Woods from all over the world are available, and they come in a dizzying array of grain patterns and colors. Asking and answering a few basic questions will help narrow the choices and make the process more manageable.

What color range will work best for your project.

Is a light colored wood most appropriate? If so then perhaps maple, ash, or birch would work. Or maybe a dark wood is what you are after. Choose walnut, mahogany or for a real treat try an exotic rosewood. There are woods such as cherry with medium red colors tones, or oak with a beautiful golden brown color. Whatever wood you choose stick with a wood that has natural color close to what you like rather than staining an inferior wood in an attempt to make it look expensive.

Will the project be made of solid wood or veneer?

Veneer opens up vast possibilities because many species are easily obtained in veneer while very scarce in solid lumber. If you like the exotic and unusual, veneer is the way to go.

What's your budget for the project?

Familiar domestic woods are fairly close in cost while most imported lumber tends to run much higher. Cherry, walnut and oak may cost in the $3 to $5 per board foot range while exotics like rosewood or teak may cost $15 to $30 or more per board foot. This information may affect your choice.

Do I need to use a really strong wood so the piece lasts longer?

For most furniture the answer is no.All hardwoods are plenty strong for most furniture projects. The only exception would be certain chair parts which may require special consideration.

What is the most important criteria in choosing wood for a project?

Aesthetics. Select the wood you like for its color and grain. The price difference between one domestic hardwood and another will not greatly affect the overall cost of the project.

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