Selecting the wood type for your furniture can seem intimidating but don't worry, we're here to help! Our guide below will explain the features and differences between Oak, Brown Maple, Rustic Cherry, Cherry, Sap Cherry, Quarter Sawn White Oak, Hickory and Hard Maple. Check out our Wood Species guide below or give us a call to talk with a specialist.
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Red Oak Features:
Brown Maple Features:
Cherry / Rustic Cherry / Sap Cherry Features:
One of the most commonly asked questions at QW Furniture is 'What is the difference between Rustic Cherry and Regular Cherry? And what is Sap Cherry?' The difference can be summed in 'grain variation'. In Rustic Cherry furniture, there is more grain variation allowed. Meaning, small grain burls and even some knots are allowed. Because there is less waste using Rustic Cherry, the cost is less than regular Cherry. In many cases, our customers want this variation and cost savings and prefer the Rustic Cherry. Sap Cherry is similar to Rustic Cherry, but does not have as many knots. Sap Cherry contains boards from both the outer part of the Cherry tree and the center "heartwood" in the middle of the tree resulting in more color and grain variation.
Cherry is widely considered one of the most beautiful American hardwoods. With a deep, wide and exotic grain pattern, it is easy to see why.
Cherry checks the box on the Janka Hardness Scale with a rating of 950 and garners aQW hardness score of 6 out of 10. As is the case with Brown Maple, we recommend being a little more careful with products made in this wood species. Let's be clear, Cherry is still very much an American Hardwood. However, if furniture in your household takes a regular beating we may recommend a change to Hard Maple, Red Oak or QSWO.
Cherry looks fantastic in a variety of colors from light to dark. A Natural finish on Cherry will highlight the natural color and grain variation of the beautiful Cherry wood. A darker finish like Asbury or Earthtone will blend the color of the Cherry wood grain together, while maintaining the visibility of the gorgeous grain pattern.
Over the years, builders have created many different styles out of Cherry. Cherry is very common on Victorian style furniture, modern, shaker and even provides a unique and attractive twist to traditional style.
QSWO / Rustic QSWO Features:
Rustic QSWO vs QSWO
Just like with Cherry, we can build our furniture out of regular Quarter Sawn White Oak (QSWO) or Rustic Quarter Sawn White Oak. The difference can again be summed in 'grain variation'. In Rustic QSWO furniture, there is more grain variation allowed. Small grain imperfections, burls and even some knots are allowed. In many cases, Rustic QSWO costs less than Regular QSWO. Many of our customers want this grain variation and cost savings and prefer the Rustic QSWO.
What is Quarter Sawn White Oak?
This is another common question at QW Furniture. The term 'quarter-sawn' actually refers to how the log is milled. Quarter sawing is a type of cut in the sawing of logs into lumber. The log is cut once, then turned a quarter turn and cut again. The resulting grain pattern on White Oak is a very tight grain with horizontal 'flakes' called tiger stripes. This grain pattern has been widely preferred for generations.
QSWO is often considered the counterpart to Cherry and is preferred over Red Oak. The grain is very tight and deep and has the hallmark of the 'quarter-sawn' milling process in what is referred to as 'tiger stripes'. These tiger stripes are horizontal 'flakes' that add to and accentuate the beauty of White Oak. You'll find this grain pattern on furniture dating back to the turn of the century.
QSWO rings the bell on the Janka Hardness Scale with a rating of 1335 and garners a QW hardness score of 10 out of 10. Plain and simple. Furniture made out of QSWO will last for generations.
Like Cherry, QSWO has been popular in a broad spectrum of finishes over the years. Current trends on QSWO are more toward the medium brown and red tones. QW staff favorites on QSWO include Seely, Michael's, Lite Asbury and Asbury.
The most popular style of furniture ever created out of QSWO is definitely the mission style. QSWO also looks great on traditional and shaker styles as well.
Like Oak, Hickory has a distinct and deep grain pattern. Hickory is available in either Rustic Hickory, for those who want the grain variation and visible knots, and regular Hickory.
Hickory blows up the Janka Hardness Scale with a rating of 1820 and garners a QW hardness score of 15 out of 10. Plain and simple. Furniture made out of Hickory is guaranteed to be very heavy. And will last for generations.
When most people think Hickory, they think of Rustic Hickory kitchen cabinets in a Natural finish. While Rustic Hickory with a Natural finish is very distinct and fits well with rustic themes, Hickory with a stained finish is very attractive as well and has been gaining popularity. QW staff favorites on Hickory include Natural, Seely, Michael's, Asbury and Earthtone.
Hickory furniture is typically associated with either rustic masculine styles or traditional styles. However, Hickory is a very versatile wood species and would complement a home in almost any style.
Hard Maple Features:
Much like its soft Maple counterpart, Hard Maple has a very smooth and feminine grain pattern. The wood grain on Hard Maple is not meant to distract from the overall decor in a room but silently compliment it. Hard Maple has a clearer wood grain than Brown Maple, which contains brown mineral pattern in the wood.
Hard Maple is at the top of the chart on the Janka Hardness Scale with a rating of 1450 and garners a QW hardness score of 10 out of 10. Plain and simple. Furniture made out of Hard Maple is guaranteed to be very heavy. And will last for generations.
Hard Maple looks excellent in any finish from Natural to Ebony. Hard Maple, also known as 'clear Maple' is very common on kitchen cabinets with a Natural finish because of it's clarity and lack of grain imperfections. If you're trying to achieve a very light and consistent color, Hard Maple would be an excellent choice. QW staff favorites on Hard Maple include Natural, Michael's, Asbury and Rich Tobacco.
The smooth grain pattern in Hard Maple lends the style towards contemporary and shaker styles. Hard Maple is a versatile wood and does look great on all styles of furniture.