Wood Types: What is your Furniture Made Of?

Beth Rice 20/01/2017

Solid wood furniture has a leg up on the competition. Sought after for its quality and beauty, it can’t be beat by cheaper imitations. While it may be more expensive, wood furniture will last longer, saving you money in the long run.

Investing in solid wood furniture guarantees the buyer:

  • A durable product that will last
  • Natural beauty within the home
  • Furniture that can be passed on to future generations

Which wood types offer exceptional quality and what furniture styles are they best suited for? Let’s take a look.

Three Cheers for Cherry

Cherry wood is a popular choice for fine furniture. When first cut, it is naturally a pale pinkish-yellow color. It will darken over time into a rich brown shade. Furniture made from cherry is strong and durable. Exhibiting a fine straight grain, it’s easy to shape. Its rich color lends itself to elegant dining furniture, carved chairs, and shaker tables.

The Fenmore Leg Dining Table and the Saltville Dining Chair exhibit the elegance and beauty of cherry wood furniture.

Amish Fenmore Leg Dining Table

 Fenmore Leg Dining Table

Lacombe Amish Dining Chair

The Saltville Amish Dining Chair

Own Oak and Reap the Benefits

Oak wood is naturally light in color and features heavily defined grain patterns. It can be separated into two types: white oak and red oak.

Red oak is light brown to pinkish-red in color. White oak is a mixture of white combined with light and dark brown shades. Its natural beauty lends itself easily to mission style furniture. It is also a good choice for furniture that gets used every day.

There’s much to be celebrated about oak furniture. Although the heavy grain doesn’t make it a good candidate for a painted finish, its attractive price tag, strength, unique character, and resistance to wear and tear make it a popular choice for American-made furniture. It can be finished in a variety of light to dark stains.

The Quiet Strength of Quarter Sawn Oak

With a few creative cuts of the log, oak furniture can feature a different pattern. The log is quartered, then turned and cut to create a beautiful and unique grain pattern that is not as thick as the natural pattern of oak. Quarter sawing produces a strong and stable wood that is more resistant to cupping, warping, and moisture. This dynamic wood lends itself to bedroom furniture, as well as shaker and mission styles.

The Amish Quarter Sawn White Oak Wood Mission Hope Chest displays the dramatic character of quarter sawn white oak.

Amish Quarter Sawn White Oak Wood Mission Hope Chest

The Amish Quarter Sawn White Oak Wood Mission Hope Chest

The Marks of the Maple

The hardness and durability of maple wood makes it an attractive candidate for furniture. While there are different parts of the maple log, they share some of the same characteristics.

Brown maple is the heartwood of the maple tree and features heavy streaks and a sleek, smooth grain that is ideal for painting. It looks best in contemporary styles that have smooth forms and strong profiles like the Amish Bloomingdale Dining Table.

Amish Carmen Trestle Dining Table

The Amish Bloomingdale Dining Table

Hard maple is the sapwood of the maple tree. It exhibits the same strength, but is denser, heavier, and harder than brown maple. It is naturally light but takes dark stains well. This added durability makes it ideal for children’s furniture.  The Amish Tanessah Kid’s Chest made from hard maple wood will easily stand up to daily use.

Amish Kid's Tanessah Chest

The Amish Tanessah Kid’s Chest

Winning with Walnut

Walnut’s heartwood (the dense inner part of a tree trunk that yields the hardest timber) is a deep, rich brown with a heavy grain that contributes to a luxurious texture and look. Walnut is the favorite for “dark furniture.” The wood’s bold grains and clean lines lend themselves to more formal styles. Walnut shines in deep brown shades, creating attractive bedroom dressers and desks. Its strength and stability make it a natural choice for beds and accent tables that get used daily.

The Amish 48” Armoire with Optional Pocket Doors is an example of premium sophisticated dark furniture while the Amish Mission Royal Corner Hutch features walnut inlays we love.

Amish Solid Wood Armoire with Drawers

The Amish Solid Wood Armoire with Drawers.

Amish Mission Royal Corner Hutch

The Amish Mission Royal Corner Hutch

Pine Wood: Pretty at a Great Price

Pine a soft wood with a yellow, whitish-brown color. Solid pine wood furniture is lightweight and resists shrinking and swelling. It is a more economical premium wood. Its natural knots make for beautiful country style furniture and farmhouse style tables.

Renew with Reclaimed

Reclaimed wood brings its own special story to furniture. Salvaged from abandoned barns that are often over 100 years old, the wood features nail holes, worm holes, hairline cracks, and distressing. Reclaimed furniture is usually yellow pine, but could also be hemlock or fir. It is rustic at every turn, adding that natural, lived-in feel that welcomes you into any room. Reclaimed wood is popular for industrial style furniture that combines its historic character with metal elements.

Every mark found in the reclaimed wood of the Amish Barn Wood Farmhouse Table with Breadboard Ends tells a story.

Amish Barn Wood Farmhouse Table with Breadboard Ends

Spend Time Outside with Cedar

Cedar wood is the perfect candidate for outdoor lounge furniture. It is lightweight and resists decay. It even has a fresh scent that repels insects.

The Amish Outdoor Round Side Table is just right for enjoying a beverage in the backyard.

Amish Outdoor Round Side Table

Perfect Poly

The formula for creating incredibly durable and stylish outdoor furniture has been found with eco-friendly poly. Made from recycled plastics, it will not rot, splinter or warp. Poly contains a UV protective agent that safeguards the wood from fading. It is also weather resistant and virtually maintenance free, only requiring occasional cleaning with mild soap and water.

The Berlin Gardens Classic Poly Picnic Table is perfect for outdoor gatherings.

Berlin Gardens Classic Poly Picnic Table

The natural characteristics of these wood types contribute to the quality and exceptional style of our Amish-made solid wood furniture.

Related Posts
How to Mix Wood Types and Finishes

Gone are the days when all the solid wood furniture in a room had to match each other and the Read more

Staff Picks: Our Favorite Wood Types and Finishes

Wood type and finish contribute directly to the look of and style of custom furniture. Wood type determines the strength, Read more

The Best Furniture for Romance

With the excitement and mystery of romance in the air this time of year, we’re here to help love blossom Read more

Furniture to Make a Bedroom Sanctuary

Your bedroom should be a place where you can take a breather and get a good night's rest. However, life’s daily Read more

About the Author


  • Virginia Bean
    January 20, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    What about elm? Furniture made from this is just beautiful.

  • Milca Rivera
    February 22, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Hi, Virginia! Thank you for the comment. You’re right, furniture made from elm is beautiful. Our Brady Amish chair is just one example of a beautiful piece constructed from Grey Elm: https://www.dutchcrafters.com/Brady-Amish-Hardwood-Dining-Chair/p/46481. Elm is great for constructing furniture with curves as it is bendable hardwood. One of the things that makes elm so beautiful is it’s distinct interlocking grain pattern, which also helps make it resistant to splitting. It’s also moderately priced, although mature American elm is apparently hard to come by (and expensive if you find it) because it was ravaged by Dutch elm disease during 20th Century.

  • Diane Colonnello
    April 30, 2024 at 6:48 am

    Do you make murphy beds?

  • Seth Carter
    May 16, 2024 at 3:47 pm

    Diane, thank you so much for reading our blog! You can see our Amish Murphy Beds here or reach out to a specialist if you have any custom requests!

Leave a Reply