We uasualy like to use wood furniture because of its beauty and elegance. But there are not too much people know clearly about differences between two types of wood: hardwoods and sofftwoods.
Hardwoods come from broad-leaved trees (deciduous trees that drop their leaves every year and produce seeds) whereas softwoods come from conifer tress (trees that have needles and do not produce seeds).
Examples of hard and softwoods
- Hardwoods: mahogany, walnut, oak, ash, birch, maple, and cherry.
- Softwoods: pine, spruce, cedar, fir, and larch.
Hardwood is commonly more expensive than softwood. However, both are extremely popular within the furniture industry.
Hardwood trees are very slow growing trees compared to softwood trees, this tends to make them produce dense wood. Items made from hardwoods are more likely to withstand years of wear and tear. However not all hardwoods are always hard, poplar and basswood are examples of these. Hardwoods are usually much darker in colour and soft woods are usually lighter.
Some furniture wood types
Beech is a hard, strong and heavy wood. It has a fine, tight grain and even texture. Beech wood is very light in colour and has a high shock resistance. It is a popular wood for furniture and will give your room a warm feeling. With its smooth finish it is a great wood to polish.
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. Ash is light brown in colour with a straight grain.
Oak is a very popular wood, it is very hard wearing and heavy. It is known for having lovely open wood grain markings. 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.
Mahogany is an expensive hardwood and varies in colour from a medium brown to a deep red brown, depending on its age. It is a very traditional, versatile and popular type of wood. It is also a popular choice for use on veneers.
Cherry is a very strong hard wearing wood, which is built to last. Generally found on antique furniture, Cherry is known to become darker with age, starting with a light natural tone. It takes time to darken and is dependent on how much natural light the wood is exposed to.
Maple wood is much more durable and heavier. As maple wood is so strong and moisture resistant it is the ideal wood to withstand years of wear and tear. Maple wood is pale in colour and has natural swirls and twists in the wood grain. It can easily accepts any type of stain or paint.
Walnut is a hardwood and is known for its strength, straight grain and its rich chocolate brown colour, however lighter shades are available. Walnut can be a very versatile wood, offering a range of shades and grains to complement your décor.
Pine is very affordable and lightweight with a pale finish which is great for staining. It is less durable wood compared to hard woods such as maple or oak. Pine blends well with other woods, making it ideal if you are looking for furniture that will match existing pieces in your home.
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