Some Great Wood Definitions by Vanguard Furniture

Vanguard Furniture, one of our finest manufacturers of wood and upholstered furniture, has some great documentation on the types of woods used in their diverse collections. Click here for more information on Vanguard Furniture's collection on our website. We are introducing Vanguard Furniture collection-by-collection, starting with the popular Michael Weiss Collection. Featuring styles under the Modernism and Classics collections, furniture by Juilliard-trained designer Michael Weiss is a study in the seamless blending of contrasts. Clean, sleek lines and classic geometric forms are presented in refreshing and dramatic modern designs. Click here to view Michael Weiss on our website. We also feature complimentary upholstery collections made by Vanguard that will blend with Michael Weiss or Annie Selke, another great collection recently introduced by Vanguard Furniture (Thom Felicia is the most recent, from last market)

Here are some great definitions on wood types used by Vanguard:

Alder Solids:
Hard, strong wood that can be stained to imitate walnut
and mahogany. Also has a maple-like figure. Is cherry-like
in appearance.
Very hard wood that takes finishes well. It has a distinctive,
open grain with occasional brown streaks. Usually creamy
white to light brown, sometimes used as an oak substitute.
Birch Solids:
One of the strongest American woods, it is heavy, fairly stiff
and hard, and rather tough. The grain is fine and close and
it takes fine finishes well.
A hard and sturdy wood with a reddish-brown tone and tight,
straight grain. Cherry resists warping and checking and is
easily worked. It is used in 18th century American and
French styles, both as a solid and veneer.
Extremely tough and strong wood, yet has a flexible
characteristic that enables the wood to be worked in
manufacturing. It will take a finish well. The color ranges
from pale yellow to yellowish brown.
A very dense hardwood that is durable and takes finishes well,
but can be difficult to work with. It has a dark grain
that ranges from dark brown to dark black.
Mahogany Solids :
Grade for grade, mahogany is superior to any other cabinet
wood in freedom from defect. It is relatively hard, works
well, highly lustrous, durable, and carves and finishes well.
It ranges in color from salmon to dark red.
Hard and strong wood, resistant to shock, takes finishes well.
Fine, closed grain, bird’s eye grain possible as well. Creamy
white to off white, sometimes with reddish or greenish
brown tints.
Oak Solids:
Very strong, hard and durable wood that holds screws and
nails well. Its color ranges from pale grayish-brown to ochre
with a coarse grain structure featuring vertical rays or lines.
Pine Solids:
A soft wood with a fine, uniform texture and straight grain.
Creamy white, pale yellow or light brown heartwood that
yellows with age.
Often used as an accent veneer, it comes in various shades
of dark brown with conspicuous dark streaks. It takes a fine
finish and has a slight milky rose aroma.
Rubberwood Solids:
Moderately heavy wood that is uniform in structure. Results
in a mostly straight grain with clear, attractive patterns. The
color ranges from pale cream to yellowish brown.
Known for its pale gold color, and rippled and mottled
pattern — the “bee’s wing” pattern. Used primarily as
a veneer.
Walnut Solids:
Walnut has remarkable fidelity and is well-suited to carving.
It has a pleasing grain and a characteristic wavy pattern.
Three main varieties are used:
• African Walnut: Bronze, yellow-brown wood with
irregular dark lines.
• Asian Walnut: Softer, coarser and paler in color than
the American variety
• American Walnut: a dark, hard wood varying from
a purplish black to a rich red brown
White Oak:
A strong, hard-wearing wood with a pronounced texture and
grain patterns. Sound knots and pin knots are common,
adding character and enhancing grain movement. It is used
in a broad range of styles, both as a solid and veneer.

Specialty Materials:
Abacus Rope
Derived from the fiber of the leaf-stem of a plant native to
the Philippines. It is closely related to and resembles the
common, cultivated, banana plant and is sometimes called
“Manilla hemp”. When new and untreated it is deep goldenbrown
in color. The rope is flexible, durable, strong, and
stands up well to wear and weather.
Technically not a wood species-- it is classified as a grass
that is much denser, and therefore stronger than hardwoods.
It also grows much faster than hardwoods, making it an easily
replenishable resource. The thin outside green layer is highdensity
silicon that yields hardness equivalent to hardwoods
and a smooth surface of wax like material. The thicker inside
yellow layer is loose and fragile.
Coco Twig
Short, knobby sticks taken from the coconut plant which are
then laminated to plywood substrates and sanded down to
smooth surface.
Coconut Bark
Bark taken from coconuts and cut into square tiles, then
laminated onto plywood substrates.
Palm Wood
Timber taken from coconut palm trees that are felled once
their fruit-bearing age is passed. The outer layer is very dense
and hard, and the wood does not have age lines, knots or
other imperfections. Non-porous and impervious to woodboring
insects. Color ranges from golden to near ebony, with
dark brown flecks.
Onion Skin
Dried onion skin that is laminated to plywood substrates.
Fibers from tropical palm trees that have good strength
and stretch.
A vine-like plant that grows abundantly in a long slender stem
with a uniform diameter along its length. It is not hollow or
brittle like bamboo, and becomes quite pliable when heated,
but retains the shape when it cools. It does not take color, but
can be varnished or lacquered.
Water Hyacinth:
An aquatic plant which lives and reproduces rapidly while
floating freely on the surface of fresh waters. Native to
tropical South America, but has since proliferated extensively
throughout the world, especially in South East Asia. The
stalks, when dried completely, can be woven into ropes
for added strength.
The term Wicker is used to describe the weaving of
materials such as Cane, Sea Grass, Willow, Bamboo or
other natural products.

Veneer Characteristics:
Technically, a veneer is simply a thin surface layer glued to a core, such as Formica. However, in quality furniture construction, and featured on many antiques, decorative wood veneers are used to create inlaid patterns. Exotic and expensive woods, such as rosewood and satinwood are incorporated to add grain interest. Veneered construction adds value to the case piece by enhancing both the aesthetic appeal and the dimensional stability. Veneering also provides for the freedom of design for curved areas such as bombay fronts or doors which require extra strength and stability.