Our solid wood furniture is Canadian made, predominantly in B.C. we also have builders in Ontario and Quebec. Each builder utilizes their own selection of woods ranging from Maple, Oak, Rift cut white Oak, Pine, Cherry and Birch. Below are some characteristics of each wood.
Keep in mind that no matter what material your furniture has been built from, it is important to properly care for and maintain your pieces. For information on keeping your furniture beautiful: Looking after solid wood furniture.
The East Coast Maple comes in two types. One is softer, the other harder than West coast Maple. Maple is generally harder for manufacturers to work with, doing the reverse of Oak. It is a fast growing wood, and the tension in the wood is often released upon cutting in the form of twisting or splitting. However it gives a beautiful finished look. Unlike Oak which has a marked variation of grain patterns, Maple is generally more homogeneous, with large swirls and less tightly knit grain. It lends itself to contemporary designs with darker stains providing clean looking furniture, particularly condo style furniture.
Considered a hardwood, Poplar is softer than Maple and is more akin to Pine. It has a distinctive open grain which gives it a uniquely striking characteristic. The grain pattern is similar to Pine but without the large number of knots thus Poplar provides can provide a very organic appearance within a contemporary context.
Often thought to be the hardest of the woods, it is in fact softer than the denser Maple varietal. Oak is predictable to work with. When it’s cut, it doesn’t twist or split, and there is less wastage. Oak is slower growing, so there is less tension in the wood. Oak furniture is often known for it`s very traditional furniture, such as Mission or Shaker styles, and Quarter Sawn.
Rift Cut White Oak
Rift cut White Oak has a darker and browner undertone than the Red Oak, it is also a harder wood with a finer grain. Rift cut means that the lumber was cut from the centre part of the tree where the grain is the straightest and finest. This means a lower yield which in turn makes this a more expensive wood. Most often seen with a lighter stain or white wash, this wood is a designer favourite.
The softest of the wood types that we supply, it is also the least expensive. However there are many types of pine, each with varying degrees of hardness. For instance Alpine uses Lodgepole Pine exclusively, which is the hardest of pines and is used for making telegraph poles. Pine is usually associated with a country or rustic feel as the surfaces are easily marked due to the softness of the wood. This marking is not necessarily undesirable, as it adds to the patina over time. The knots are quite prominent which results in more variation in the look of the furniture’s surface. As a result this furniture is most often styled in a casual or farmhouse design.
The colour of this wood will naturally deepen with age and exposure. A fine uniform grain with a smooth texture are its characteristics. Often the lumber will have small flecks and gum pockets which add to the visual interest of this hardwood.
This is another hardwood which comes from the East Coast, hence it is often the preferred wood of many Quebec and Ontario manufacturers. It’s finished look is similar to Alder and Maple.
Over time wood furniture will change in colour. For instance Oak usually gets progressively darker in the first 2-3 years and then stops; Fir will just continue to get richer and richer in colour. The finished look of a piece of furniture will not only vary depending on the choice of stain; Different types of wood, even different batches of the same type of wood will take stains differently and even a single piece of wood will not absorb stain uniformly; Different manufacturers may use a stain with the same name, but they are not necessarily identical. In addition, each manufacturer has their own way of applying stain. We are able in many cases, to get unstained furniture and then have it stain matched to your needs. For more information look at our solid wood care instructions and staining process.