Woods and Stains
We use hardwoods that are sustainably harvested in our region of the country. Domestic hardwoods have been endorsed by the USDA as a green building material, due to responsible harvesting methods practiced by the American hardwood industry, as well as minimal transportation requirements, particularly compared to imported woods.
Read below about the characteristics of the different hardwoods we offer, then:
Even though these are all considered hardwoods, they have a wide range of characteristics based on:
• Hardness — Woods are ranked according to their Janka Hardness Rating.This is a measure of the force required to embed a
0.444-in. steel ball 0.222-in. into the wood. The higher the Janka score, the harder the species.
• Grain — Some woods, such as oak and elm have a porous, highly textured grain that you can actually feel. Others, such as cherry and maple, have a closed, tight grain, giving a smooth look and feel.
• Color — Some woods have a very light or white grain, others are reddish or brown, some a mix.
About swelling, shrinking, and warping
Wood is a living material that will react to swings of temperature and humidity. To help prevent problems, we provide customers with a Furniture Care Guide that includes recommended humidity and temperature ranges. To minimize potential problems, read and follow our guidelines.
Center of the World's Preferred Woods:
Unique grain, varying from straight to a lively or wooly, almost herringbone-like texture. Depending on your choice of stain, gray elm can really pop with drama — for instance, when stained with Michaels Cherry. Without a stain, elm appears bland, so we don’t recommend it.
Janka rating: 830
Sometimes referred to as soft maple. About 25% softer than select hard maple, it takes a stain better than its harder cousin. A frequent choice of people who want a look similar to stained cherry, but without the higher cost.
Janka rating: 950
Particularly beautiful, fine-grained, naturally orange-brown to mahogany. Sap wood (nearer to the bark) is much paler, increasing the wood’s character. Cherry darkens as it ages, as a result of exposure to UV rays (think of the patina as cherry’s suntan). Therefore, for the first few months of a cherry table’s life, we advise customers to avoid leaving anything on top for an extended period, as doing so could result in a light spot. If this happens, however, no worries. Simply remove the item that was blocking the light and the color will soon even out.
Janka rating: 950
Stunningly beautiful, fine-grained, chocolate-brown, and relatively lightweight. The finest of hardwoods for furniture. We rarely choose to stain walnut, as the wood is naturally rich with color. Our most expensive wood.
Janka rating: 1010
Often referred to simply as “oak.” Highly textured, with a wide, open, flowing grain. Run your hand across a finished red oak table and you can feel the grain. Very porous, so takes stain very well.
Janka rating: 1290
Quarter-Sawn White Oak
Naturally beige. Due to its porous nature, takes stain very well. Very dense, so heavy. Grain has outstanding wavy and ray-flake patterns. Resists rotting and warping, so is highly desirable in areas with high humidity. “Quarter-sawn” means the tree’s growth rings are approximately perpendicular to the board's broad face, which is achieved by quartering the log before cutting it into boards. This specialized technique makes it a more expensive wood.
Janka rating: 1360
Also sometimes called “hard maple.” Hard, dense, fine-grained, and light-colored. Highly valued for furniture and cutting boards. Extremely tight grain inhibits absorption of stains, so staining is not recommended. Best with a clear varnish, allowing the pristine beauty of the wood to shine. As it ages, will slowly deepen in color, from very pale to soft gold.
Janka rating: 1450
Variegated color patterns run the gamut from near-white to dark brown. A stunning wood that requires a skilled eye and hand, as its wild changes in grain direction are extremely difficult to work with. A very hard wood.
Janka rating: 1820