Furniture Wood Types Part II
Mahogany is finely grained hard wood which is reddish brown color. It is extremely durable and resists swelling, shrinking, warping and twisting. Mahogany is used extensively for high quality, expensive furniture such as wooden cabinets and veneered tables and dressers. It is also used in the construction of boats due to its high resistance to swelling and warping caused by water.
Maple is a fine textured hard wood native to Asia with immense strength and hardness. With moderate shrinkage, maple machines well and is best used in flooring, fine furniture and hard wearing surfaces such as bowling alley lanes. Maple is a very light colored wood and it is sometimes even bleached before finishing to make it even whiter.
Medium Density Fibre Board (MDF):
MDF is an artificial wood made from powdered wood bonded with glue and compressed to form sheets usually 2400mm x 1200mm in size. It is quite soft, fairly pliable and very easy to work with. It cuts, sands and finishes very easily. It is used widely for interior projects especially for cupboards and shelving. Due to its nature it is highly recommended to wear a face mask when sanding MDF as the particles are tiny and easily inhaled.
Oak is a hard wood, light in colour, which has good pliable qualities despite its durable nature. It stains and finishes well and resists moisture absorption. Oak is great for furniture, for which it is commonly used, due to its natural aesthetic qualities as well as its strenght. It is also used for boat framing, wooden desks and flooring.
Pine is a fast growing soft wood native to Scandinavia. It has a uniform texture and is very easy to work with. It finishes well and resists shrinkage, swelling and warping despite having a wide grain. It is widely used in the construction of timber frame houses, panelling, mass produced furniture, wood pallets and numerous other items. It is one of the most widely used timbers in the world and is so fast growing that it is ‘farmed’ in countries all over the world.
Plywood is an artificial wood that was invented during the Second World War and was primarily used to build boats and landing craft for the military. It is made from numerous thin laminates of wood glued together. Each layer is at right angle to the grain of the other to give it great strength while also allowing it to remain quite pliable. The thinner the sheet, the more pliable it will be. It is used widely in the building industry as a sub flooring material or as a structural casing between walls.
Redwood is native to a narrow strip of land along the lower west coast of America. It is light but relatively durable softwood that is easy to work with. It has a good natural resistance to rotting and decay and is therefore commonly used for making outdoor furniture, fencing and house panelling. It is named for it’s color, a deep pinky, red hue through the wide grain.
Rosewood is tight grained hard wood with dark reddish brown color. It is hard to work with and requires a lot of polishing to achieve a good finish. It is commonly used for making musical instruments such as pianos, as well as tool handles, sculptures, veneers and furniture. It has also has a uniquely pleasant fragrance which sets it apart from most other woods.
Spruce is a relatively strong soft wood native to Scandinavia that finishes well but has a low resistance to rotting and decay. It possesses moderate shrinkage and is light in color and weight. It is a good option for making masts and spars for ships, aircraft, crates, boxes, general millwork and ladders due to its favorable strength to weight ratio.
Teak is a renowned hard wood that is very moisture resistant. It resists warping, cracking and decay and is used in a wide variety of ways that make use of its extreme strength and hard wearing qualities, these include furniture, panelling, window frames, ship building, church doors and flooring. It is also sometimes used as a construction timber for its load bearing capabilities, for example, as a cross beam.
Walnut is a hard word that is fine in texture, dark in colour and strong yet easy to work. It resists shrinking and warping and can take numerous types of finishes as it takes stains and glazes very well. It is used mainly for making solid and veneered furniture, cabinets, wall panelling and decorative novelty trinkets. The English Walnut actually originated in Persia, and the Black walnut is native to the United States.