About the Wood Types
What is the difference between woods?
Each wood has their own unique characteristics which can impact the finishes that can be applied, and also impact the cost of the raw materials and manufacturing time. Each wood also has unique visual characteristics that can meet specific style requirements. For instance cherry and soft maple have an even grain which can lend itself well to clean/contemporary styles. Below is a brief description of all the woods we offer.
Red Oak is a very popular hardwood, chosen for its traditional, coarse-textured look, as well as its excellent durability and strength. It accepts stain consistently and wears very well over time, making red oak a good choice for furniture that will see heavy everyday use. Natural color varies from yellow to pale brown, often with a light reddish tinge.
Quartersawn White Oak — much like red oak — is hard and strong, providing outstanding wear-resistance. It has a medium-coarse to coarse texture and varies in color from light tan to nearly white or light grey. Our Amish craftsmen use quartersawn white oak for a unique aesthetic appeal.
Soft Maple is a straight-grained, fine-textured wood. And despite its confusing name, it’s actually a hardwood. Derived from red or silver maple trees, soft maple is not as durable as its hard maple cousin, but is more capable of accepting stain. Soft maple has roughly the same density as cherry, with colors usually ranging from light cream to pale brown with occasional dark streaks.
Hard Maple, or rock maple, comes from sugar or black maple trees. It’s a tough, moderately heavy wood with a fine and uniform texture. Hard maple finishes very smoothly and is extremely durable. Commonly seen with no stain, its natural color varies from nearly white to light tan, with an occasional reddish tinge.
Cherry is a dense, even-grained wood, widely considered to be the finest of the fruitwoods. It is prized for its beauty and considered an excellent choice for both formal and casual applications. Natural coloration varies from a light cream to a dark reddish brown; however, cherry can darken considerably with age, developing a deep, rich patina over the course of several years.
Character Cherry has all the characteristics of the classic cherry as described above, plus a few more. Harvested from the same tree as its premium counterpart, character cherry is simply a different grade — one with more knots, variations in the grain, and more, well, character.
Hickory is a close-grained wood that’s often nearly white in color. It’s also one of the hardest, heaviest and strongest woods found in the United States. Because of its flexibility and resilience, hickory is commonly used in the construction of chairs and other bentwood furniture.
Walnut is a dense wood, ranging in color from light- to deep-chocolate brown. The black walnut tree produces one of the finest cabinet woods. Slow-growing and highly desired, walnut is more expensive than many other woods.
Is it really solid wood?
There are varying degrees of quality when it comes to furniture production. Some use particleboard in places where they think you won’t look — and cardboard in places where they just don’t care. But that’s not the Amish way. At Simply Amish, we use only the finest northern hardwoods, raised to perfection, and slowly kiln-dried to prevent splitting and provide years of reliable use.
What does term Quartersawn mean?
Quartersawn is a technique for processing lumber that dates back hundreds of years, and it was widely used in furniture manufacturing in the 18th and 19th centuries. The reason it was widely used is it was a practical method for handling large trees prior to the advent of machinery.
The process was simple in that the large log was split into quarters using wedges — making it easier to manage. These pieces were then hauled off to the mill for processing. The result of this processing creates a very unique grain patern that cannot be achieved using any other method, and is distinctive of certain time periods in United States history.