Andrew Mathie is a cabinet maker for your bespoke furniture

Styles of Wooden furniture

 Listed here are some (but not all) of the types of timber types we regularly use in furniture making. Each timber type has its own particular properties and usage suitability. We hope the information gives a better understanding of the different timbers and therefore help in making a choice for future furniture projects.

 

Victorian Ash

Other trade names: Tassie Oak, Alpine/Mountain Ash. This timber is sourced from a group of eucalypt trees with similar appearance and features. These very tall gum trees are grown in Victoria, Tasmania and southern NSW. Warm, dense and resilient it is a popular Australian hardwood widely used in furniture making. Its colour varies from pale straw to soft browns to light pinks and it readily accepts all stains.

Jarrah

Sourced from large Eucalyptus trees, this premium quality Australian hardwood is grown only in Western Australia. The timber is high in density, heavy and of significant strength. It is very durable and is more traditionally used for outdoor applications such as railway sleepers, decking for piers, wharf/bridge construction and also for flooring joists. Now it is a prized furniture timber having a magnificent colour and grain. Jarrah ranges in colour from rich reddish-browns to soft salmon pinks. Its hardness makes it somewhat difficult to work with.

American Cherry

This timber comes from the Black Cherry tree grown in North America. It is very tall and has blossoms in spring. Cherry is a relatively hard timber, fine-grained with a striking wavy appearance that is highly favourable. Colour varies from light reddish brown to red. Cherry has excellent stability and it warps or moves very little once dried. Beautiful when polished.

European Oak

Oaks are trees/shrubs of genus ‘Quercus’ and have acorns.  They are native to Europe and four of the tallest species are used for its timber. Oak is the most widely used hardwood, popular worldwide and very durable. It is light tan to biscuit coloured, mostly straight grained with characteristic silver grain figure on quartered surfaces. The acidic nature of oak may cause iron staining and there is a tendency to split in dry conditions, but these drawbacks are only minor. Polished finish is superb.

Fijian Mahogany

Although not native to Fiji, this American mahogany tree grows faster in Fijian plantations than its country of origin. The rapid timber growth is due to excellent environmental conditions and therefore its grain is more uniform/straighter and its colour lighter than the homegrown variety. It is a very strong, dense, durable timber with a gorgeous appearance. Can be pinkish to a reddish brown and yellow to orange-brown. Darkens to a deep mahogany colour as it ages. Polishes well can have staining issues.

European Beech

This is a hardwood widely grown in parts of Europe. When cut it has a white fine-grained appearance which changes to a pinkish tone after steaming. This process stabilises the wood. It is very versatile timber with excellent furniture making qualities.Stains well and takes a good polish. Not suitable for outdoor use.

Oregon

This is a native conifer to North America and abundant in Oregon, hence its name. It is also commonly known as Douglas-Fir, named after Scottish botanist David Douglas who introduced the species to England and Europe. This softwood is also grown in plantations in South America, New Zealand and to a small extent Australia. Straight grained, coarse uneven texture with a colour range of yellow-brown to pale reddish brown. Moderately durable, not a good base for paint because of its uneven nature. Popular for rustic, chunky furniture styles.

American Rock Maple

This tree is native to North America and is also known as ‘Sugar Maple’ from which maple syrup is commercially produced. Timber can be sourced from the maple syrup plantation but must be cut out around the numerous tap wound stains. Lumber plantations provide unmarked premium timber. Rock maple is so hard and resistant to shocks that it is often used for bowling alley floors. The grain is usually straight, but wavy or curly grain sometimes occurs. It is light coloured ranging from creamy white to reddish brown. It is a superb furniture making timber.

Rosewood

Refers to a number of tree species with similar characteristics. They are richly hued with a distinctive darker veining and have a fragrant scent likened to a rose, hence the name.  Grown in tropical/sub-tropical areas; there are a few species that are endangered in some countries. New Guinea Rosewood is predominantly used in Australia and varies in colour from golden brown to a deep red-brown. It is a very durable hardwood and has remarkable physical beauty when polished.

Baltic Pine

This is a native conifer to Northern Europe/Asia and in particular the Baltic regions, hence the name. It is commonly referred to as Red Baltic Pine and is also called Scots Pine (National Tree of Scotland). The colour of this softwood is yellow-brown to reddish brown. Tight dark knots are common in this fine-grained timber. In the past, it has been used extensively as flooring but has become a fashionable timber for furniture. Old Baltic pine (recycled flooring) is ideal for country style furniture. Polished and stained it looks superb.

Hoop Pine

This is a native conifer to Australia and is a tall tree which grows in coastal rainforests in Northern NSW and QLD. It is also known as Moreton Bay Pine, Colonial Pine or Queensland Pine and its name is derived from the circular ‘hoop’ markings in the bark around the circumference of the trunk. The timber is of medium hardness with a straight grain and fine texture. It is a light coloured timber of yellow-brown appearance with a pinkish tinge. Hoop pine stains, sands and shapes very well but is not suitable for outdoor use.

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