About Our Woods – General Information

Our Furniture is always built out of solid hardwoods and, in some cases, solid hardwood plywood (shelves, cabinet backs and some sides). Solid Hardwoods have many different characteristics and every piece of furniture will look differently. “Hardwood” does not indicate the heartiness of the wood or its resistance to damage. Hardwood technically refers to wood that comes from a dicot tree, such as a broad-leaf variety like oak, that usually goes dormant in the winter. “Softwood” refers to wood that comes from gymnosperm trees like pine.

Hardwoods have a complex structure and are slow-growing as a result, reaching full maturity at 80 years. U.S. hardwoods have been used for years in furniture, musical instruments, flooring, and cabinetry.

All hardwood contains variation in color and grain. Each tree is unique, which means each piece of furniture is different in grain pattern and color variation. We cannot control the type of graining or coloring your piece will have. Hardwood ages with time and will deepen in color.

S-2 Stain (OCS-101)

Oak

Vintage Antique Stain (FC-17882)

Cherry

Sealy (FC-44938)

Brown Maple

S-2 Stain (FC)

White Maple

S-2 Stain

Quartersawn

Lite Asbury Stain (FC-9018)

Hickory

Natural Finish (No Stain)

Walnut

Michaels Stain (FC)

Elm

Common Hardwood Specifics

Common hardwoods include Oak, Cherry, Brown Maple, Hard White Maple, Quartersawn, Walnut, Hickory, and Elm. Some of these hardwoods are available in a “rustic” grade. Rustic & Sap grade woods will have additional knots and other unique characteristics.

Oak

  • Grain Characteristics: Wide and open pattern with “Cathedral” arches, feels coarse.
  • Rays: Thin dark lines that look like someone took a pencil and drew dotted lines.
  • Durable: Grain helps hide light wear and tear.
  • Economy Option: Least expensive hardwood.
  • Red Oak Color Undertone: Pinkish and reddish hues.
  • Aging: Light stains golden and deepen over time. Medium to dark stains age very little.

Cherry

  • Grain Characteristics: Clear, smooth, and “closed”, similar to Maple.
  • Small Pits: Pits look like small black dots. Pits are mineral deposits where sap used to be stored.
  • Color Undertone: Light golden pink and red hues.
  • Aging: Ages the most drastically of the hardwoods. Aging brings out rich, reddish-brown undertones.
  • Luxurious: Upscale look and feel, typically used in formal settings.
  • “Premium” Cherry: The heartwood of the tree, has less variation and knots.
  • “Rustic” and “Sap” Cherry: Cut from the outside of the tree, which creates more variation from sap lines and knots.

Brown Maple

  • Grain Pattern: Generally straight grained, smooth, consistent texture, similar to Cherry.
  • “Soft”: Known as “soft maple” because it is less dense than “hard maple.” Same hardness as Cherry.
  • “Brown”: Cut from the heartwood of the tree.
  • Color Undertones: Light reddish brown to dark brown with greenish/gray streaks.
  • Economy Option: Way to obtain the look of Cherry at the cost of Oak.
  • Common: Most common type of maple we use.

Hard White Maple

  • “Hard”: Grows slower than soft maple, which creates tighter growth rings resulting in greater density.
  • “White”: Cut from the outer white sap wood of the tree.
  • Grain Pattern: Generally straight grained, smooth, consistent texture, similar to Cherry.
  • Color Tones: White to creamy white, mineral streaks.
  • Natural Finish: Looks best unstained. Because of the density, it does not absorb stain well, resulting in a “cloudy” finish

Exotic Types of Maple

  • Same Species; Different Figures: The terms describe different figures in the grain pattern. These usually happen because of some type of injury or disease as the tree grows.
  • Bird’s Eye: Pattern that look like tiny, swirling eyes.
  • Curly: Ripples make the grain look like it curled.
  • Tiger: Also known as curly or flame maple. It has stripes, waves, or small flames running across the grain.
  • Wormy or Ambrosia: Has beautiful blue, gray, and brown colored cradles which are best displayed in a natural finish.
  • Spalted: Has dark black veins.

Quartersawn White Oak

  • A Wood-Cutting Technique: The log is first quartered, then slices are cut from each quarter. Standard oak is typically plain sawn.
  • Grain Pattern: Somewhat tight, vertical, straight pattern with dramatic flecking.
  • Stable: Expands and contracts less in humid environments than plain sawn oak.
  • Wear and Tear: Grain pattern helps hide light wear and tear.
  • Aging: Similar to Oak, goldens slightly.

Hickory

  • Grain Pattern: Open and straight, occasionally wavy.
  • Extreme color variation: White or cream-colored to tan or reddish-brown, sometimes even a purple hue.
  • Hardest of Hardwood: Hard, stiff, dense, and shock resistant.
  • Popular Use: Cabinetry and flooring.
  • Aging: Takes on a slightly golden hue.

Walnut

  • Grain Pattern: Usually straight, can have waves or curls.
  • Color Undertone: A range of chocolatey brown tones, occasionally a gray, purple, or reddish cast.
  • Natural Luster: Polishes to a very smooth finish.
  • Aging: Ages to a rich golden brown.

Elm

  • Grain Pattern: Open, coarse grain, irregular and wild.
  • Color Undertone: Golden to light beige.
  • Odor: Tends to have a slightly unpleasant smell.
  • Aging: Very little.