When it comes to crafting furniture that stands the test of time, the choice of wood plays a pivotal role. In Iowa, there are seven major wood types that have captured the attention of artisans and woodworkers alike. Let's dive into the characteristics and cost ratings of each of these wood types that can be used to create furniture pieces:
Black Walnut - Cost: 3/3
Known for its rich, dark color and stunning grain patterns, Black Walnut is a highly sought-after wood for furniture making. Its heartwood displays shades ranging from deep chocolate to lighter purplish hues, creating a visually captivating aesthetic. Walnut is favored for its workability, allowing woodworkers to carve intricate details and achieve smooth finishes. The wood's durability and resistance to decay make it an excellent choice for heirloom-quality furniture.
White Oak - Cost: 3/3
White Oak is a staple in furniture construction due to its exceptional strength and durability. Its light to medium brown hue boasts a beautiful ray and fleck pattern, adding character to any piece. White Oak's tight grain makes it suitable for creating sturdy, enduring furniture that can withstand daily use and the test of time. This wood type is often used for crafting classic mission-style furniture.
Cherry - Cost: 2/3
Cherry wood is renowned for its warm, reddish-brown color that deepens over time, creating a striking patina. Its fine, straight grain adds an elegant touch to furniture pieces, making it a popular choice for traditional and contemporary designs alike. Cherry wood is relatively easy to work with and takes on finishes exceptionally well, giving furniture makers the freedom to create pieces with a range of styles and finishes.
Hard Maple - Cost: 2/3
Hard Maple is valued for its light, creamy color and smooth, even texture. This wood type is characterized by its subtle grain patterns, making it an excellent canvas for furniture that requires intricate detailing or a sleek, modern look. Hard Maple's resilience and resistance to wear and tear make it an ideal choice for crafting furniture that can withstand daily use, such as dining tables and chairs. One major drawback to Hard Maple is the difficulty to stain this wood type, which often appears blotchy and uneven. We often recommend a clearcoat on this type of wood.
Ash - Cost: 1/3
Ash wood, with its light color and pronounced grain patterns, is a versatile choice for furniture making. It's known for its exceptional strength and shock resistance, making it a favorite for crafting pieces that need to endure heavy use. Ash wood's pale color allows it to take on a wide range of finishes, from natural and rustic to contemporary and sleek, making it a perfect choice for creating furniture that blends seamlessly into various design aesthetics. There is also an abundance of Ash wood available in Iowa due to the Emerald Ash Borer, which helps drive down the cost of this type of wood.
Sycamore - Cost: 2/3
Sycamore wood, often prized for its light to medium brown color and distinctive interlocking grain patterns, lends a touch of elegance to furniture creations. Its fine texture allows for smooth finishes, and its characteristic figure can create visually appealing focal points in furniture pieces. Sycamore's versatility and relative ease of working make it a popular choice for crafting intricate and unique furniture designs.
Hackberry - Cost: 1/3
Hackberry wood, with its pale, creamy color and subtle grain patterns, is a reliable choice for furniture that exudes a simple, rustic charm. It offers good stability and is known for its durability, making it suitable for a wide range of furniture styles. Hackberry's affordability and easy workability provide furniture makers with the opportunity to create budget-friendly yet enduring pieces that capture the essence of nature.
In the heart of the midwest, these seven exceptional wood types provide furniture makers with an array of options to create masterpieces that combine both form and function, with costs ranging from moderate to affordable. Whether you're drawn to the deep tones of Black Walnut, the strength of White Oak, the warmth of Cherry, the versatility of Hard Maple, the resilience of Ash, the elegance of Sycamore, or the rustic charm of Hackberry, each wood type offers a unique set of characteristics that contribute to the creation of exquisite, enduring furniture. As artisans continue to draw inspiration from Iowa's natural beauty, these wood types will undoubtedly play a significant role in crafting furniture that tells a story and withstands the test of time.