What’s The Best Wood For Your Table?

There are thousands of wood species, but we only use a few in our furniture. Most woods are unsuitable in some way:  too soft, unstable, ugly, or unavailable.  Our favorites have a nice mix of physical durability, attractive color and grain, and reasonable price. Here’s the list:

Cherry

Cherry is our favorite wood. Our cherry comes from Pennsylvania, which has some of the best forests in the world. The trees we use are forest grown, and look very different from the flowering, fruit bearing cherries that you see in orchards and gardens.  In the wild, stands of cherries grow tall and thick, with heights of more than 100 feet.  Those long trunks yield fine lumber.  Pennsylvania forests are managed for the long term.  During harvest, the best trees are left untouched to provide seeds for the next generation.

A few of the cherry trees grow so large that their trunks start to buckle under their own weight.  These trees yield fantastic flame and curly cherry, which shimmers and glows as you look at it.

Cherry wood changes color over time; it will transform from a lighter reddish brown hue to a darker, rich reddish brown hue. This process can take anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending on the wood’s exposure to light.

Mahogany

Mahogany was the wood of choice in the 1700s. It’s still one of the most popular woods for furniture because of its durability and color. The trees we use come from Africa, as traditional sources of supply in Cuba and Honduras have been over-harvested.  African Mahogany, or Sapele, has the interlocked grain seen in New World mahoganies, but is a different species of tree.  It has very similar color, density, and grain, and is the first choice for a traditional look.

Walnut

Walnut trees grow in many parts of the world, but we use the Black Walnut tree that is found throughout North America.

Walnut trees don’t yield as much clear wood as other species like oak or maple, so it’s more expensive than the other domestic hardwoods.

Maple

Maple is sold as two types: hard maple and soft maple. Things like bowling pins, baseball bats, and pool cues are often made of hard maple, while things like guitars, pallets, and veneer are often made of soft maple. We use hard maple in our work.  We value its superior dent resistance and durability.

Some maple trees experience distortion as they grow that results in beautiful grain.  We use curly maple, birdseye maple, and quilted maple as a focal point on many of our table tops.

Oak

Oak is a wood which has a very prominent grain pattern and texture, and feels more robust and informal than some of the other woods.  But it’s combination of durability and price makes for good value.

Exotics

We use a huge variety of exotic species, mostly sliced into veneer.  These trees are chosen in the forest for superior color and figure.  Bubinga, Curly Anegre, Bolivian Rosewood, Macassar Ebony top our list when we want a spectacular table.