A common tree in the Eastern United States, Oak has an easily recognizable grain pattern of concentric arches, cathedrals and misshapen ovals. The open-grain of oak gives it a deep texture. Available in both Red Oak and White Oak, both have a similar appearance and durability. The sapwood of Red Oak is white to light brown and the heartwood is a pinkish reddish brown. White Oak sapwood is light-colored and the heartwood is light to dark brown.
Oak is a hard and heavy wood with good bending and crushing strength and great wear resistance. Its open grain stains well with a wide variety of colors. In addition to the various stains, Oak can be milled in a process called Quarter Sawing. When Oak is quarter sawn, the grain appears tight and straight, instead of the arch and oval swirls found in flat sawn Oak.
A beautiful, closed-grained wood, natural cherry has a light pink color that darkens to orange amber if aged naturally. The process, most noticeable in the first two years, gives the cherry wood a unique color and grain variation that cannot be simulated with stain. The heartwood of cherry varies from rich red to reddish brown while the sapwood is a creamy white. The wood has a fine uniform, straight grain with a satiny, smooth texture, and may contain brown pith flecks and small gum pockets.
Cherry wood is easy to machine, nails and glues well and, when finished properly, produces an excellent smooth finish. The wood is of medium density with good bending properties, low stiffness and medium strength and shock resistance. Because of its medium crushing strength, cherry wood dents easily and does not make the best wood for table tops that will receive heavy, everyday use. Although with the use of a table pad, table cloth or desk blotter you can still have the beauty of cherry without having to worry about “dents and dings”.
Maple wood, available in both Hard and Soft varieties, has a very smooth surface with a subtle grain pattern. The sapwood is creamy white with a slight reddish brown tinge and the heartwood varies from light to dark reddish brown. Both heartwood and sapwood can contain pith flecks.
Hard Maple, which we refer to as simply Maple, is very hard and heavy, with great strength properties and high resistance to wear and abrasion. Soft Maple is used for distressed finishes and is exactly as the name implies, soft.
Hickory Wood Carya spp.
Hickory is the hardest, heaviest and strongest of the woods. The sapwood is white, tinged with inconspicuous fine brown lines while the heartwood is pale to reddish brown. The grain has a course texture and is usually straight or slightly wavy.
Hickory is an extremely tough and resilient wood with good strength and shock resistance. Because of its strength, it is difficult to work with, so the styles available in Hickory are limited.
Walnut Wood Juglans nigra
The sapwood of Walnut is creamy white, but is usually steamed to darken it. The heartwood is light brown to dark chocolate brown, occasionally containing a purplish cast and darker streaks. The wood develops a rich patina that grows more lustrous with age. Usually straight-grained, Walnut can have a wavy or curly grain appearance.
Walnut is a tough hardwood of medium density and moderate bending and crushing strength therefore, it is easy to work with hand tools and it screws and glues well. Because of toxic material occurring in the tree roots naturally, many builders will not use Walnut because of the difficulty of disposing of scraps and saw dust.