Choosing the Right type of wood

Choosing the right type of wood for your custom built furniture

A custom built piece of furniture can be a great addition to your home.  I have built all types of furniture from small farm house tables to full wall entertainment centers.  I will explain some of the main differences of the wood types, costs and how to choose the right material for your custom built furniture.

What types of woods are available for table tops?

Most table tops are constructed joining multiple planks of solid wood.  The type of wood that you choose for the tops can make a huge difference in the look, feel and durability.  Table tops typically consist of  ¾” to 1 ½”  thick boards that are glued together.

Here (6) common wood choices for table tops listed in order of most affordable (1) to most expensive (6).

#1 Common Pine Construction

1 ½” thick, lengths up to 16 ‘, board widths up to 11.25”

Most Affordable Option

  1. Pros
    1. Most affordable option
    2. Softwood, so it will show wear from daily use
    3. Great option for farm style furniture
    4. Solid heavy table
    5. Various wide wood grains
  2. Cons
    1. Expansion & contraction greater than hard woods
    2. Soft woods show wear easily (if wear is not your style)
    3. Typically contains lots of knots
    4. Sappy wood (if it bleeds, it will dry)

#2 Knotty Common Pine

¾ ” thick, lengths up to 16 ‘,board widths up to 11.25”

2X the cost of Construction Grade

  1. Pros
    1. Affordable 3/4” thick option
    2. Less moisture than construction grade
    3. Softwood, so it will show wear from daily use
    4. Great option for farm style furniture
    5. Light weight, easier to move
    6. Various wide wood grains
  2. Cons
    1. Typically contains lots of knots
    2. Sappy wood (if it bleeds, it will dry)

#3 Clear Pine

¾ ” thick, lengths up to 16 ‘,board widths up to 11.25”

4X the cost of Construction Grade

  1. Pros
    1. Perfect pine grain
    2. Contains NO knots
    3. Great moisture levels, dried to perfection
    4. Softwood, so it will show wear from daily use
    5. Great option for a clean looking piece
    6. Light weight, easier to move
  2. Cons
    1. Approaching higher $ material
    2. Not all stores stock Clear pine, may need ordered#4

#4 Poplar

¾ ” thick, lengths up to 16 ‘,board widths up to 11.25”

5 to 6X the cost of Construction Grade

  1. Pros
    1. Unique wood color
    2. Hardwood, typically doesn’t wear from daily use like pine
    3. Contains some knots
    4. Great moisture levels, dried to perfection
    5. Great option for a for barn style piece
    6. Light weight, easier to move
  2. Cons
    1. Higher end cost
    2. Limited availability

#5 Oak

¾ ” thick, lengths up to 16 ‘

6 to 7X the cost of Construction Grade

  1. Pros
    1. Very tight grain
    2. Looks great with just a clear finish
    3. Hardwood, doesn’t wear from daily use like pine
    4. Typically Knot Free
    5. Great moisture levels, dried to perfection
  2. Cons
    1. High end cost
    2. Limited availability

#6 Barn wood

No real standard sizes

Up to 10X the cost of Construction Grade

  1. Pros
    1. Most Unique wood choice for Farm style
    2. Aged to perfection
    3. Already has wear so no need to worry
  2. Cons
    1. High end cost
    2. Extremely Limited availability
    3. No piece is the same

So hopefully now you have a better understanding of how a custom built piece of furniture’s cost, look and feel can drastically change simply from your choice of wood.

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