What is the difference in the wood that we use in our furniture?
Wood Characteristics change dramatically from tree to tree. The easiest and simplest method to describe a wood is by distinguishing it between hardwood or softwood but this is just a botanical classification and not all hardwoods are hard or softwoods are soft.
So what is a Hardwood and what is softwood? A Hardwood refers to flowering trees such as Oak and Ash, while softwoods are conifers such as Pine. Oakea stocks furniture made from both hardwoods and softwoods such as Solid Oak Furniture, Solid Ash (Chinese oak) Furniture and Solid Pine furniture.
You will usually find there is a big difference in price between hardwood and softwood furniture as hardwoods are considered a higher value material while softwood are considered quite cheap. There are small exceptions to this rule such as Gum or Rubberwood which is classed as a hardwood but usually has the same price region as softwood.
The grain structure and colour differs for each species of tree and can give a better prediction of its characteristics. Woods such as Oak, Walnut, Ash, Mahogany, Rosewood and Teak are classed as ‘open grain’ woods; these woods have large vessel cells running through the wood and are visible as pores in the wood. This gives these types of wood a rough texture and it takes more time and effort to finish to a smooth appearance. Woods such as Beech, Maple, Satinwood, Birch and Gum are all closed grain which means that the cell structure is smaller and does not require the level of work to get a nice smooth finish. As our own Utah range is Oak, this range is sanded to a very high specification and then an extra layer of lacquer is then applied to make sure that you always get a consistent high quality finish.
If you cut a tree’s trunk across its horizontal axis, you will always see what are called ‘Growth Rings’ these rings can be used to indicate how old the tree is but also can used to identify what the wood is. These growth rings can appear in many different shapes from swirls to curls, waves to mottled effects, all give an indication of the tree’s identity. The other tell tale sign of a trees identity is the colour of the wood, this can range from dark browns to pale whites, deep purples to pale yellows.
All woods used in the modern furniture industry are chosen based on their unique qualities such as their durability, grain structure and colour. Hardwoods usually have a deeper and richer grain structure which makes them stand out with character when made into an elegant piece of furniture. These woods tend to have a higher value as they are more desirable and demand is high. Weaker grained woods are usually stained to give them character.
Here at Oakea we know what goes into making a high quality piece of furniture, and it is because of that reason that we only stock the highest quality product but at a price you as the customer can afford.