Furniture made from wood has a distinctively charming vibe that’s hard to replicate. Each type of wood species exudes a different kind of feel, which you can fully utilise to amp up the interior design of your home as you see fit. However, with the processes of staining, sanding, and refinishing, a lot of furniture pieces can be customised in most colours and finishes, which may make it tricky to figure out the type of wood originally used in your furniture, whether you have a table you suspect is jarrah or marri, or something else.
How can I tell what wood my furniture is?
It’s important to note that because of its charismatic qualities, technological advancements have made it possible for homeowners to compromise and use man-made composite wood. This type of wood can range from manufactured particle boards painted to look like wood, to one that has a thin, veneered layer of wood on top. To differentiate from composite wood and solid wood, an easy way to distinguish your furniture is to look at the end grain where the wood is cut. Look for growth rings that are evidence that your furniture is made from solid wood.
The easiest way to identify the type of wood used is to then sand down an area, especially if you know that the wood has been stained a different colour from its base tones. Exposing its raw surface makes it easier to diagnose what wood species your furniture could be, as over time wood tends to darken, and natural aging can change the appearance as a result.
Examine the grain of your wood where it is raw or sanded down. This gives you an idea of whether or not it is a softwood or hardwood, as softwoods usually have smooth surfaces with no indentations. Hardwoods are characteristically open pored in general, and have slight grooves from the grain. Check for distinctive characteristics, such as curly grains, knotted grains, dark gum veins.
Look at the hardness of the wood itself, and its weight. While moisture plays a role in the weight and can contribute to a larger number, it can be a good way to compare to other types of wood and single out specific wood species that could match your furniture. If the wood is heavy, it will also most likely be dense, too. And if you cannot appropriately weigh your furniture piece, use your fingernail on an edge of the wood and see if you can make a dent in the surface. Softwoods will be easy to dent, while hardwoods won’t.
If that’s not enough to help you narrow down your search, and if you’re wondering if your jarrah table, or another type of wood, sometimes even just the type of furniture you have can help you come to a conclusion. Some types of wood are used more frequently for specific uses than others, because of that wood’s natural characteristics that make it ideal for those purposes.