How to Choose the Ideal Wood Species for Your Design Project
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How to Choose the Ideal Wood Species for Your Design Project

Posted on: March 16th, 2017 by reclaimed No Comments

When it comes to choosing the right species of wood for a design project, there are a variety of factors to consider. While the overall look is dependent on the species, it’s also important to focus on species’ sustainability, eco-friendliness, and durability, which will allow that ideal look to remain longterm. Fortunately, our information below will lead you through the process of picking the right species for you and your clients.

All species of wood have different levels of hardness based on their unique cellular structures. Hardwoods include wood from fruit or nut bearing deciduous trees. These leafy trees include oak, cherry, maple, and beech, and can be found growing throughout North American forests. Trees that produce softwoods, such as pine, cedar, fir, and spruce, are conifers and have needles in place of leaves.

While hardwoods, as their name implies, are harder and more durable than softwoods, their hardness varies widely. Therefore, certain species may not be suitable for all applications. The Janka Rating System, shown above, ranks species’ hardness, making it easier to choose the appropriate one. For example, if you’re in need of tables that will be placed in high-traffic areas, like in restaurants or hotels, it’s best to choose hickory, hard maple, or white oak. Although you may prefer aspen’s grain pattern and color over beech’s, aspen will not be able to withstand constant wear and tear as well as beech. Choosing aspen for a high traffic purpose may cause dents, splitting, and bowing, resulting in a quicker replacement.

Tropical hardwoods are another category of wood. These wood species are imported from other countries and include mahogany, wedge, and teak. While some species of tropical hardwoods are good for a variety of applications, many are not suitable. For instance, bamboo is typically known as a hardwood, but in reality it’s a type of grass. In order to create bamboo flooring, the grass must be glued together, and is actually only expected to last 30 years. Furthermore, the glue used tends to contain urea formaldehyde, which is classified as a probable carcinogen. Having to import bamboo lowers its carbon footprint, as well, making it a non-optimal choice for a healthy planet.

Here at Reclaimed Table, we source only North American hardwoods. Though more expensive than softwoods, we know they will stand up to the pressure of heavy use. Using native hardwoods also ensures a lower carbon footprint than imported wood. Many imported species don’t even adhere to the quality standards and safe manufacturing practices found in the U.S.

Finally, we use only hardwoods in lieu of veneers or laminates that may off-gas harsh chemicals into the air and aren’t durable substitutes. This use ensures that our products are healthy for you and the environment and will continue to last well into the future.

If you need help deciding on the ideal wood species for your next project, feel free to contact us today!

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