The basics of wood furniture: How to select the best wood for your furniture

When furnishing your home, it is common for one to ask themselves, what wood is the best for furniture?  This question has no one correct answer. Instead, the type of wood to suit your furniture needs will depend on your expected usage and budget.  Over and above, the type of wood used to make a furniture item, the process that has been utilised to make the item, is also important on the quality of the furniture. It is important you have a reliable source of energy in your house. Since wood is flammable, ensure that you get your energy from a reputable company to avoid the hazard of fires. You can use review sites such as Britainreviews.co.uk to check the best energy providers reviews. Avoid the negatively reviewed energy providers, and this way, you’ll get a reliable provider to supply your home energy needs. Wood furniture is explored in this article to help the reader select the best wood for their furniture.

Types of wood

One of the simplest characteristics used to differentiate wood that is utilised to make furniture is hardness. Contrary to the prevalent belief, it is not always that hardwood is denser or harder than softwood. Instead, botanically, hardwood is from flowering trees, while softwood is from conifers. Both softwood and hardwood are utilised for a variety of purposes, from decorative to structural purposes.

1.  Softwood

Softwood is derived from evergreen and seed-bearing trees known as gymnosperms. They include spruce, pine, cedar, fir, redwood, yew and juniper. These trees grow straight and tall, and it is easy to cut them in long straight wooden planks.

Softwood properties

  • They are lightweight and fine, making them the finest wood for furniture.
  • Mainly softwood is used in building materials, including interior and exterior wall cladding, structural frames, floor coverings, fittings, scaffolding and formwork. In addition, softwood is utilised in the cardboard and paper industry.
  • Typically, softwood has wood rays and tracheids but lacks vessels. Since it lacks vessels, softwood is a non-porous wood.
  • Softwoods can make a better finish as the lack of vessels permits them to absorb adhesives better.
  • Softwoods have a lighter colour, a greater content of sap and loose grain. It also has poor resistance to fire.

2.  Harwood

Hardwood is derived from angiosperms, including walnut, oak and maple. As a characteristic, they lose their leaves yearly.  Hardwood takes longer to mature and has more dense wood fibres.  Some types of hardwood are incapable of floating in water.

Harwood properties

  • It is durable, needs less maintenance and has close grain.
  • As compared to softwood, it takes longer to mature, and thus it is comparatively expensive. Nevertheless, there are exclusions; for instance, gum, which is a hardwood, has a price tag comparable to that of a majority of softwoods.
  • While hardwood is also used to make furniture, not all hardwood types are suitable for furniture making.
  • Hardwood has good resistance to fire and also has a low content of sap. This makes it suitable for wooden flooring. Other factors that make it popular for flooring are that it offers various styles, perforation plate patterns, and natural colours. 

Comparing softwood and hardwood

Softwood Hardwood
Has a fine texture Has a rough texture
Comes from evergreen coniferous trees It is derived from angiosperm deciduous trees
Has a 90-95% content of tracheid Has a 5-10% tracheid content
It is non-porous as it doesn’t have vessels Has vessels and thus porous
It is less dense due to an anatomical structure that is moderately less intricate Are dense to an anatomical structure that is more intricate
Almost all softwoods are perfect for use to make furniture. Not all hardwood types are suitable for furniture. The fact that they are expensive makes them mainly applied in the high-end manufacture of furniture.


An example of softwood and hardwood

Parana Pine

Also referred to as Brazilian pine, Parana pine are native to southern America’s particularly Brazil. This wood is free from pitch pockets, pitch streaks and resin ducts. Compared to other softwood, Parana pine has a higher capacity to hold nails and a higher shear strength. Nevertheless, during compression and drying, it tends to distort and warp.

Mahogany
This is a tropical hardwood tree that is very popular. Wood from mahogany is known for its colour, durability and beauty. Characteristically mahogany darkens with time, and it is comparatively free of pockets and voids making it widely used in furniture.

In conclusion, this article helps the reader with important insights about wood to help them select the best wood for their furniture.