Pros & Cons of Each Type of Woods

Choosing a piece of custom furniture is something that you can make the right decision. Wood has been good material for furniture for as long as humans have been crafting tools and homes. It can be sculpted, and while it may not be the toughest substance on the planet, it can work well for making beautiful furniture.

Some of the woodworkers are mindful of the characteristics of which they work and choose carefully. An exotic wood may be attractive, but working it may not be worthy of the cost. Having hardwood or softwood isn't necessarily the answer if it lacks the structural qualities and appearance.  

Wood species vary widely, and none is suitable for every purpose. Here are the pros and cons of different kinds of woods.


Pines are softwood; commercially they may be designated as soft or hard pines. Soft pines have relatively mild timber, needless in bundles of five (less commonly, one to four), stalked cones with scales lacking prickles and little resin.

Pros: Expensive wood used for furniture making. The pine is used for rustic looking pieces, and it is a great way to reuse a natural resource. And it is great for kids' furniture because it paints well. (The same is true for birch and poplar.) Pine develops a beautiful, rustic patina from age and use, and it resists shrinking and swelling.

Cons: A soft wood, scratches and dents are reflected too real possibility. Pine can have knots that go through if the furniture has a painted finish.


Maple is a white creamy hardwood that sometimes has a reddish tinge. One of the toughest wood species, maple is often chosen for heavy-use items, like dressers and kitchen cabinets.

Pros: Affordable and durable. It can take a lot of beating but still look great for many years to come. It takes dark stains well, maple is used to mimic more expensive woods. It takes a lot of dark stains, maple is often stained to simulate a pricy wood, like cherry or mahogany (which is a famous pick itself because of deforestation in the regions where it's harvested).

Cons: It has the ability to replicate pricier woods, it puts maple trees at risk from deforestation. Maple does not have much grain variation, so some people think it is not a very interesting wood.


Walnut is a straight-grained hardwood that conforms from chocolate brown (when it's from the center of the tree) to yellow (from the outer portion of the tree). A top pick for headboards, ornate antique-style dining tables, and mantels, walnut is typically clear-coated or oiled to bring out its colour.

Pros: A stable and robust wood that allows for intricate and complex carvings. The colour and shading are beautiful. It is almost a pity to put the stain on it at all. More often than not we just use a clear coat finish. It's a solid and stable wood that can take intricate carving. The colour can be beautiful.

Cons: People don't like the variation of light to dark that's found on a single board. It's also one of the most expensive woods. Some may not like the change from darkness to light that's sometimes seen on a single full board. It's also one of the most precious woods.


Oak is a hardwood that has the tendency to be very grainy. There are two varieties of oak, red oak, which ranges from light brown to pinkish red with a swirling, water-like pattern, and white oak, which has a tiger-stripe grain with yellow rays and flecks. Oak is mostly used in pieces made in the Arts and Crafts or Mission style.

Pros: Solid and dense. When it is on a quarter sawn, it has a very linear grain pattern that is highly desirable for modern furniture. It is very sturdy and often cut in a way that makes it resistant to warping. Because of its visible wavy grain, it has a distinctive look. A bright finish nicely highlights the grain.

Cons: Oak seems to look old fashioned. The maintenance procedures for oak items is relatively easy; you need to be consistent in care. Avoid placing the furniture on a heated floor as heat spoils the wood. Direct sunlight is not good for oak. It will cause colour streaks or darkening of the furniture. It doesn't hold up well to constant exposure with moisture. You need to wipe all spills from oak as soon as they occur. Leaving them unattended, you will notice your furniture lose its beauty. It is essential to maintain humidity at moderate levels to prevent your piece of oak from spoiling. It is a good idea to keep a few houseplants to help balance the humidity levels.


Cherry is a hardwood that traditional woodworkers and carpenter used for many years because of its quality. It offers a moderately hard texture, extreme strength and good shocks resistance. It stained and finishes to a smooth finish. Cabinetmakers and carpenters in the colonial times frequently used cherry. The wood became commonly used for firewood for traditional furniture. It is mostly used for carved chairs but also shows up for clean-lined Shaker-style tables and cabinets.

Pros: Its finishes darken with age, it brings out different grains and patterns. Ultraviolet (UV) light speeds the darkening process. The darkening of the finish can be a pro or a con in using cherry wood, depending on the personal tastes. Cherry has a lot of good finishes. It is a close-grained, smooth wood with beautiful variations of the finish ranging from natural to nearly black. Can be easily shaped and polishes well. With being unstained, it can preserve its rich and beautiful colour.

Cons: It reacts to sunlight, which will change the colour in unpredictable ways. Has a significant variation which will affect the look of a set of cabinets. One of the most expensive cabinet material. Not as resilient like oak or hickory. If you use cherry wood cabinets for a kitchen remodel, expect to pay more 25% for maple or oak.