Types of Wood in Furniture Part I
The natural raw material wood was already used for the manufacture of furniture in antiquity, whereby solid wood was primarily used. Nowadays there is a multitude of different wooden furniture. For example, terms such as “partially solid construction”, “veneer” or “MDF” can be found in product descriptions. Read more about the different types of wood in furniture production and what you should look out for when choosing furniture made of wood.
What is solid wood?
The term solid wood is used synonymously for solid wood. Furniture made of wood in which all parts are consistently made from one type of wood may be referred to as solid wood furniture. In the case of box furniture such as cupboards or chests of drawers, these may also be declared as solid wood furniture or solid wood furniture if the rear walls, drawer bases and / or drawer frames are made of a different material. In the case of veneered furniture, one should not speak of solid wood furniture or solid wood furniture. The standards for solid wood furniture are specified in DIN 68871.
Definition: solid wood
Solid wood denotes boards, beams and planks that have been cut directly from the full wood of the tree trunk.
Types of wood in furniture construction
Not all wood is suitable for building furniture.
Not every type of wood is suitable for the construction of solid wood furniture. When choosing wood, it is also important which piece of furniture is to be built, as the various pieces of furniture are exposed to different stresses in everyday life. The most important properties of wood include strength, hardness, weight and structure. As a rule, softwoods are more sensitive than hardwoods.
The following types of wood are predominantly used in the manufacture of solid wood furniture:
- Cherry tree
- Linden tree
For further information on the different types of wood that are used in furniture construction, we recommend our magazine article:
Processing of solid wood in furniture production
In the manufacture of solid wood furniture, “grown” boards and beams are rarely used ( plank processing ). There are various reasons for this, including high costs and the wood’s high sensitivity to warpage.
Solid wood for furniture construction is mainly used in lamellar gluing or in parquet gluing.
What are glued wood panels?
Glued wood panels are used, among other things, in the manufacture of furniture from solid wood. Glued wood panels are manufactured from individually sawn and planed rods made of dried sawn timber, which are also known as lamellas. The individual wooden slats are glued together with white glue to form stable solid wood panels. The width of the individual bars can vary. Wood-related errors in individual lamellas are professionally eliminated in the manufacture of glued wood panels. One of the characteristics of glued wood panels is a high level of stability.
Wood works: what does that mean?
It can be a nuisance when you have decided to buy a high-quality piece of solid wood furniture and then discover that the expensive furniture is changing more and more due to wood distortion, changes in color and small cracks. If you then drive to the furniture store or write to the online shop to complain or request an explanation, you will often only get the answer that it is completely normal behavior of solid wood furniture.
There are binding DIN or EN standards for solid wood furniture produced in Germany or another EU member state, which define what is considered normal in connection with the “living” or “working” natural raw material wood what you don’t have to accept as a customer.
The permitted characteristics for solid wood specified in the DIN / EN standards include:
- Differences in the color and structure of the surfaces
- Cross or hairline cracks
- Gump (dark inclusions in birch, alder, cherry tree)
- Pressure points / differences in the surfaces that appear during machining processes such as sandblasting, brushing or burning
There are big differences between the different types of wood in terms of how strong or weak the characteristics described are. In addition to the type of wood, the growing area also influences the characteristic properties.
The defects and changes in solid wood that are unacceptable include:
- Boards with trimmed bark
- Transverse or longitudinal cracks
- Blue or red rot
- Open glue joints
- Weeping resin galls
- Loose astan cuts
- Traces of feeding by insects
- Traces of planing or sawing as well as putty on parts and surfaces in the visible area
Ideal room conditions for solid wood furniture
You can do something yourself to ensure that your solid wood furniture remains attractive and “in good shape” for a long time. The climatic conditions in the apartment are an essential factor:
Constant room temperatures between 19 ° C and 23 ° C and a relative humidity of 45% to 55% are ideal for furniture made of solid wood. If the air in the room is too dry, this causes the wood to “shrink” (it releases moisture and “shrinks”). If the humidity is too high, the wood expands (it absorbs moisture and “swells”). Wood is also able to store moisture and release it back into the room when the air is dry, so it can also play a part in balancing the room climate. As a rule, short-term deviations in the room climate do not harm wooden furniture.