About Solid Woods

About Solid Woods in Furniture

Wood Selection
Since we do not add color(stain) to wood, we are careful picking boards that match. No two boards are alike, even if from the same tree. We consider this to be a beautiful feature of solid wood furniture, and carefully strategize how different boards are put together.

Important in this is the difference between heartwood and sapwood. If you look down at a tree trunk, you would see a darker circle in the middle, the heartwood, with a lighter ring around the perimeter, the sapwood.

Different woods have different proportions of heartwood to sapwood. Walnut, for example, is usually almost all heartwood. Maple, on the other hand, is mostly sapwood.

Certain woods are typically picked for the heartwood or their sapwood. Furniture made from Cherry, for example, usually has had the sapwood cut out, and all you see is heartwood. Furniture made from Ash, on the other hand, usually has the heartwood cut out, leaving it consistently light. In some species the variation from heartwood to sapwood is dramatic, and in others subtle.

We love this variation between heartwood and sapwood within woods, and will usually suggest to customers that we feature it rather than hide it. Especially on tabletops or headboards, the variation can make an excellent piece extraordinary. Depending on the piece and the context, it also can be too much. To facilitate a careful decision, many of our wood samples contain some heartwood and some sapwood.

Changes over Time
With exposure to ultra-violet light from the sun, over time, different woods darken to varying extents. Cherry and Mahogany, for example, can darken significantly in the maroon direction. Maples and Ashes tend toward gold. Birches and Sycamores tend  towards Amber. Walnuts can lighten a little. These changes are accelerated if the sun directly hits the furniture. We have some aged samples of most species, if a customer is particularly concerned.