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Woods in Furniture Design: Best Plans and Projects for Furniture Design

The type of wood you intend to use is at the crux of the furniture design. Any specific furniture design may find more than one type of wood ideal or to a large extent suitable but you must choose the best wood for the project.

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When you explore woodworking plans, you will get to know of the recommended types of wood but you should familiarize yourself with the various hardwoods, softwoods and manufactured woods in general to understand their influence in furniture design.

It is no secret that wood is the most widely used material when it comes to furniture. Steel and other alloys may be catching up but it is unlikely wood will be shaken from its omnipresence.

Every type of wood has its inherent characteristics, some of which can be truly unique. Some types of wood are preferred over others for their durability while some are clearly more aesthetic, some are readily available and some are easier to work with. Wood in general can be classified as hardwood, softwood or manufactured wood. However, there is far more to them than the classification. There are aspects such as colors and grains among others.

Hardwoods and Softwoods

Hardwoods are obtained from deciduous trees. These trees have broad leaves and can produce seeds. Softwoods are obtained from coniferous trees. These trees cannot produce seeds and have leaves shaped liked needles.

Hardwood is dense because the trees grow slowly over the years and hence are sturdier. Softwoods grow quickly and hence their wood is not as dense. Hardwoods can last decades, in some cases several human lifetimes. Softwoods don’t have such an attribute but they too can last years. Hardwoods are more expensive but in some cases softwoods are easier to work with.

Both are almost equally popular. Commonly used hardwoods are oak, mahogany, birch, walnut, ash, cherry, beech and maple. Commonly used softwoods are spruce, pine, cedar, larch and fir.

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Beech is known for being heavy and strong. Its resistance to shock is what makes it so popular. Its texture is pleasantly event and there are tight fine grains. Beech hardwood has a light color and a smooth finish. Polishing this hardwood is easier compared to some other hardwoods or softwoods.

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Ash is tough and can be bent very easily. It is owing to this attribute that ash is used widely for furniture designs that require bending such as chairs and especially backrests. Ash has straight grain and the light brown color further cements its popularity for many furniture designs.

Oak has been a traditional choice when it comes to hardwoods. Oak is hard, it is heavy and strong, it is resistive to most things you can throw at it and its distinct grain makes it stand out from the rest. There is white oak with its brownish or grayish hue and there is red oak that looks distinct with the red tint.

Mahogany is one hardwood that most people find expensive. It is costlier than other hardwoods. While one may be tempted to think that the color ranging from deep brown with almost a reddish hue to medium brown as one goes from a mature mahogany to a relatively younger tree is the primary reason for its popularity, the reality is its versatility that makes the hardwood such a popular material for furniture.

When you explore some interesting woodworking plans with splendid furniture designs, you will find the versatility of mahogany preciously useful.

Maple is heavier than many hardwoods and it is naturally more durable. Maple is resistant to moisture which makes it all the more interesting. Many people struggle with outdoor furniture design as exposure to rain or water runoff from some source can be worrisome. Maple takes care of that. The pale color of maple may not be ideal for all types of furniture design but the twists and swirls available naturally in the grain are interesting and maple anyway is welcoming of paints and stains as you deem fit.

Walnut is known for its color, strength and grain. The chocolate brown hue, the straight grain and its versatility make it ideal for artistic furniture design. There are variations in the grains and shades that also augur well for experimental furniture design.

Pine is one of the more popular softwoods. It is light, it is not expensive and it is compatible with most stains because of its natural pale finish. However, it is not as durable as hardwoods. On the positive side, pine can easily coexist with other types of woods and hence it is often used in parts of a larger furniture design.

Related: Woodworking Projects : Guidelines About Perfect Woodwork

Furniture Design with Manufactured Wood

Plywood, fiberboard, veneer and chipboard are manufactured wood. Fiberboard is an affordable variety made from softwoods and hardwoods. Softwoods and hardwoods are broken down into fibers and then they are bonded with the help of heat, resin and wax. Medium density fiberboard or MDF is the more popular variant known for its durability and strength. Fiberboard is not as durable as maple, oak or other hardwoods but it will last long enough given its cost.

Medium density fiberboard is in fact the most popular material used by brands like Ikea. Medium density fiberboard is not solid wood but it is strong enough to endure the wear and tear it is supposed to be exposed to given the purpose of the furniture and the wooden veneer finish makes the furniture design more aesthetic than what fiberboard would naturally look like.

Chipboard or particle board is manufactured from wood shavings and chips. These are bonded using resin. This is another popular material used by brands like Ikea. Wooden furniture design that must facilitate a work surface can often be better when chipboard is used as the flat veneered surface makes it easier to work.

Plywood is another manufactured wood that is widely used in a myriad of furniture design. Plywood is substantially strong. It is made of wood veneers. Layers of wooden veneers are placed atop one another and they are bonded for a reasonably durable material. Plywood is particularly known for being resistant to warping.

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Note: This Page was last updated on Saturday 16th of January 2021