Handmade wooden furniture can make a wonderful addition to your home or office. It helps to communicate your sense of taste and style, while also making your family or guests feel more comfortable when they visit. Unlike the cheap, particle-board or plastic used in the construction of most modern furniture, high-quality wood lasts longer and captures the perfect blend of form and function.
However, not all wooden furniture is created equally; each species has its own strengths and weaknesses. Few customers understand the differences between the various species commonly used in furniture construction, which is unfortunate, as this type of knowledge can be helpful for obtaining the best furniture for your needs.
The United States was built upon the back of the white pine; and although this particular species has largely been replaced by various yellow pine species, pine remains an important component in many products, including furniture. In part, this is due to the ubiquity, and therefore lower cost, of the material. But another important reason pine is so commonly used in the manufacture of furniture is that it works adequately in almost every context. Pine furniture is generally of moderately high quality, but it's visual appeal is relatively limited.
White oak is perhaps the best all-around wood for furniture production in the world; walnut has its devotees and is easier for the craftsman to cut, but it is much more expensive than oak. Red oak is also excellent for furniture production and is incredibly stable, which improve the durability of the finished product. White oak glues well, which is of critical importance when making the types of joints necessary for stable furniture construction. Oak has an attractive grain and accepts many stains and finishes.
Walnut is a favorite of many furniture makers and furniture customers. It's tight grain and silky texture are a delight to the eyes and the hands, even if its high price-point won't delight your wallet. Many value-oriented customers try to maximize their furniture dollars by incorporating one or two walnut pieces in amongst the rest of their furniture collection.
Fir is not the finest wood available, it lacks the strength and weight of oak or the rich color of walnut, but it makes up for this with its flexibility. Not only can you use fir to create virtually any type of furniture, it also works well with most commonly used stains and finishes. Most often, manufacturers use this to their advantage, and use fir to create aesthetically unusual furniture, such as asymmetrical coffee tables, oddly shaped end tables and more.