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Wood Selection for Custom Furniture
“What kind of wood is that?” is one of the most often heard questions pertaining to custom furniture. The visual beauty, distinctive color, and unique grain patterns of handcrafted wood furniture all seem to provoke the same inquiry. While most gallery furniture is made from a handful of wood types, there are literally thousands available that can be used for fine furniture.
Obviously some species are far superior for some purposes like outdoor furniture. This is almost exclusively made from Teak, which is oily in nature and therefore highly resistant to deterioration from constant exposure to water. Certain types of wood like Balsa and Honduras Mahogany are generally used for wood carvings because of their superior response to carving tools. Wood furniture is generally handcrafted from hardwood rather than softwood, but in general, there are no hard and fast rules for wood selection for custom furniture.
So what should you use for your dining room furniture, bedroom furniture, or bathroom furniture? The answer is quite literally, “anything you want”! We are, however promoting the use of native hardwoods and softwoods over imported exotic woods from the rainforests, unless they are sustainable harvested. You can learn more about our cause in the Eco-Friendly section, which can be accessed in the Guides & Info section from our home page.
Back to wood types. If you want to see bold and splashy grain on the top of your nightstand, perhaps you might select Ash. If you prefer a more understated, elegant look for your dining table, then you may want to go with more of a straight grained wood like Vertical Grain Fir. Accent tables often sport a variety of woods for contrast – perhaps up to three or more. If you intend to paint your bedroom dresser or medicine cabinet, then the choice will most likely be a closed grain wood such as Alder or Maple.
People these days are seeking a more natural or rustic look for their custom furniture. A rocking chair or dining room chair made from Willow or Birch saplings will add a totally distinctive look to a set of living room furniture. Similarly a dining table made from a single slab of Red Cedar with knots, checks, mineral stains, and natural splits will stop any wood art appreciator dead in his or her tracks.
Let’s say you’re looking for a conference table for your boardroom. We can help you through the wood selection by asking a variety of questions about the nature of your business, your style preferences, size requirements of your conference room table, and the overall “look and feel” that you’re seeking. You may end up with a single slab of 3” thick Fir measuring 4’ wide x 26’ long, or your conference table could be covered with exotic veneers. Either approach for your handcrafted custom furniture will be like no other in the world, and will be quite appropriate depending on your setting.
Essentially the wood choices for your custom furniture are endless. Each of us has our favorites, but we can make anything out of any kind of wood! Give us a call and of our professional woodworkers will guide you through this selection process.
Wood Finishes for Custom Furniture
People often ask what the most suitable finish is for a particular piece of custom wood furniture. This is not an easy question as the answer varies considerably depending on your décor and how you intend to use your furniture. For example, a dining table can be finished with multiple coats of high gloss lacquer which produces a mirror finish, or it can simply have a hand rubbed oil finish with a paste wax top coat.
The lacquer will be more difficult to maintain, whereas small scratches and minor blemishes can easily be removed from an oil rubbed surface. With this type of finish, your handcrafted furniture can be refinished in later years with minimal difficulty.
Other finishing considerations for your gallery furniture are whether or not to use stain or to go with a clear finish that shows the natural color of the wood. This is mostly a matter of taste, style, and design.
Some people are drawn to exotic dyes and intricate color schemes, which certainly has its place. We prefer the natural look, and tend to choose woods that are highlighted by the use of clear finishes. No matter what finish you choose, your custom solid wood furniture will last a lifetime, and will only increase in value as time goes on.
Furniture distressing remains popular for those seeking the “farmhouse” or “country” look or which is also referred to as rustic wood furniture. This is the process of artificially producing a “worn” or “aged” look on wood furniture and if artfully done, the age of an accent table, for example can fool even the most seasoned antique dealer! This technique is often used on pine furniture or that made from softwoods. The thinking here is that softwood furniture is more likely to be scratched or dented and if it starts out that way, any further blemishing will be hardly noticeable. In fact, it merely adds to the character. Custom furniture in this style produces a warm, comfortable, and inviting atmosphere where one need not worry about accidentally denting the living room furniture during a hyperactive card game with your kids!
As environmental awareness increases, more and more people are asking about “green finishes”. These are finishes that are generally water based, feature low VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), and are readily available as states and municipalities begin to regulate the use of highly toxic lacquers and polyurethanes. These natural finishes are often used on baby furniture where there’s a risk of a child gnawing on the edge of his or her crib, for example. Others merely want to do their part to stem the use of dangerous, petroleum based finishes and are insisting that the finish on their custom furniture be made from as many natural ingredients as possible.
Every maker of handcrafted furniture has his or her favorite way of finishing, and if you decide to commission a piece of furniture from Artisan Crafted Home, be sure to ask questions about the finish. Our experienced staff can explain the differences and guide you through this technical area with ease. Once a proposal has been accepted and a finish chosen, we will supply an actual finish sample for your approval prior to fabrication. Our goal is to ensure that you know exactly what your fine furniture will look like once it arrives at your home.
Ordering Custom Furniture
Ordering custom furniture for your home or business can be one of the easiest things you will do. No more pounding the pavement and fighting for a parking space while wasting precious fuel looking for that perfect dining table, bath vanity, or desk – let us make it for you! We are a group of seasoned professionals with many years of experience in the custom furniture industry. If you can think of it, we can make it. Begin by browsing through our gallery and then give us a call. You’ll be glad you did!
Here’s how it works:
Call us at 1-360-321-2131 and tell us what you are looking for. Almost anything you see in our online showroom can be either duplicated or made to your specifications.
We will ask you a few questions about your preferences such as wood types and finishes, and how you plan to use your furniture. If the piece you are interested in is in stock from our Sale Page, we will call you back with a shipping quote and if accepted, will ship within a few days.
If you are interested in having us make something custom for you, we will gather all the information required for an estimate and will provide it to you within a couple of days. If our proposal is accepted, we collect a 50% deposit and will get started! Upon completion, we will collect the balance and will ship your furniture to you the most economical way.
All of our furniture is fully warrantied, of museum quality, and is guaranteed to last a lifetime….. and beyond. We look forward to your call.