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A Guide to Different Types of Wood

Timber Wood Forest Image


Almost any type of wood can be used to build wooden furniture.  There are so many different types of wood and each type has its own unique characteristics, which in turn can add different degrees of warmth, emphasis and beauty to its surrounding decor.

There are decisions to make when choosing which type of wood is right for your furniture, and this blog should help you decide.  Our guide  will provide you with a list of some of the most popular wood types available and explain their characteristics and also differences between hard and softwood, grains and colour.


Hardwood Vs Softwood

Hardwoods come from broad-leaved trees (deciduous trees that drop their leaves every year and produce seeds) whereas softwoods come from conifer trees (trees that have needles and do not produce seeds).

Hardwood trees grow slowly compared to softwood trees and this tends to make them produce dense wood. Items made from hardwood are more likely to withstand years of wear and tear. However not all hardwoods are always hard, for example poplar and basswood.

Hard woods are usually much darker in colour and soft woods are usually lighter.

Hardwood is commonly more expensive than softwood, although both are extremely popular within the furniture industry.

Hardwoods Softwoods
  • Ash
  • Beech
  • Cherry
  • Mahogany
  • Maple
  • Oak
  • Walnut
  • Cedar
  • Fir
  • Larch
  • Pine
  • Spruce


Ash Wood Grain Image

Ash is light brown in colour with a straight grain.  Ash is a tough hardwood which is known for its excellent bending abilities. It is primarily used for bent pieces of furniture such as a chair with curved backrests. 

Beech Wood Image

It is very light in colour. It is a popular wood for furniture, especially for anyone who loves lighter colours in their home.  Beech is a strong and hard heavy wood. It has an even texture and a fine, tight grain. It has a high shock resistance.  It is a  great wood to polish as it has a smooth finish.



Cherry wood starts out as light golden/pink tone and darkens to a rich, reddish-brown and the colour varies over time as it is exposed to light.  A single cherry wood board can have several contrasting grain patterns depending on the growth of the tree.  It is not uncommon to find different grain contrasts in the same piece of solid cherry wood furniture



Mahogany Wood Image

 Mahogany varies in colour from a medium brown to a deep red brown, depending on its age. It is an expensive hardwood. Mahogany is a very traditional, versatile and popular type of wood and used in a wide variety of furniture and was particularly popular in the making of dining tables and chairs.



Maple Wood Grain Image

Maple wood is pale in colour and has natural swirls and twists in the wood grain.  Maple is a much more durable and heavier wood. It is an ideal wood to withstand years of wear and tear, as it is so strong and moisture resistant.  You can easily use any type of stain or paint on it.



Oak Wood Grain Image

Oak can be purchased in two shades; white oak, which is grey/brown in colour or red oak which is very similar but with a prominent reddish tint. Oak is a very popular wood and it is very hard wearing and heavy. It is known for having lovely open wood grain markings.  It is a very popular choice for furniture, doors, floors, staircases.


Image of Walnut Wood Colour and Grain
Walnut is a rich chocolate brown colour although it can also be found in lighter shades.  It has a straight grain.  Walnut is a hardwood and know for its strength and is very versatile.


Pine Wood Image

Pine has a pale finish which is ideal for staining. It is lightweight and a less durable wood compared to hard woods. Pine blends well with other woods, making it ideal if you are looking for furniture that will match existing pieces in your home.  It can also be stained in different shades of wood varnish, so it can be stained much darker than its natural colour if required.  

Pine is very affordable when compared to many of the hardwoods such as oak. 

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