Hardwood furniture begins with a tree that grows for many years before being harvested. It is then transported to a sawmill, cut into lumber and air dried for approximately 3 months. It is then kiln dried for another 2 to 4 weeks depending on the species and the moisture content of the wood at the time it was put into the kiln. After the kiln drying process, the surface is planed, and the wood is sorted and graded, and made into edge-glued panels for table tops and other furniture.
Due to naturally occuring elements, many variations in hardwoods can exist. This may include different shades of color, especially in Oak, Hickory or Elm. All species of hardwoods can have tiny knots, pits, mineral streaks and/or mineral deposits. Cherry is the most common to have these many variations. A rustic grade of lumber means that the wood chosen for the furniture will have larger knots, mineral streaks, and mineral deposits, but will show much more of the natural characterisics of the wood. Examples are Rustic Cherry or Rustic Quarter-Sawn White Oak.
American hardwood trees usually produce a nut or a fruit, so therefore are naturally reproducing. They have broad leaves which they lose every fall, and are generally dormant during the winter months. Each year, a growth ring forms and provides the grain pattern we see in our furniture. A shorter summer growing season causes a tighter grain pattern, a longer season a wider pattern. As a result, trees that grow in warmer climates tend to be more open in grain than hardwood trees from colder climates. Hardwoods are a renewable resource and as a result of excellent management by the United States Forest Industry, our timber lands have nearly tripled in the past 50 years. American hardwood forests are growing twice as fast as they are being cut. Together, all the hardwood species represent 40 percent of the trees in the United States.
Why Hardwood Furniture?
Durable, Natural Resource
In North America, one of our most abundant and most beautiful natural resources are our hardwood trees. In various areas of the United States, the climate provides the perfect environment to grow these natural beauties. In our region, most of the hardwood trees harvested for furniture production include: Black Walnut, Soft Maple, Hard Maple, Cherry, Elm, Hickory, and Red Oak. All hardwood trees compared to that of softwoods, are slower growing. This, combined with the perfect growing conditions, creates a more dense, more resistant and durable natural resource. In addition to durability, all hardwoods have a unique grain and character, similar to a fingerprint. This uniqueness gives each handcrafted piece of furniture an identity unlike any other.
North American hardwoods are one of the most abundant and sustainable natural resources on earth. These renewable resources replenish themselves automatically through seed germination before the tree is harvested. With single selection harvesting, larger more mature trees, are removed one at a time instead of an entire forest all being harvested at once. With this method the areas harvested are better managed, which contributes to the sustainability. Today, North American hardwood forests are growing and producing over twice as fast as they are being harvested. Due to their high sustainability, hardwood trees are also very cost effective and are a great alternative to other materials.
Reduction in Carbon Footprint
Trees take in carbon and emit oxygen into the forests. Carbon is used by the tree for growing, and sustaining life. As trees and other natural resources decay and begin to break down, they naturally emit carbon into the environment. Trees that are harvested before they are able to decay, are therefore not emitting this carbon and are not contributing to additional carbon output.
When it comes to job creation, hardwoods help our American bottom line. According to the National Hardwood Lumber Association, the hardwood industry employs over 2 million people annually, and contributes nearly $350 billion to our economy each year. By purchasing hardwood furniture, you are getting a beautiful, sustainable and environmental friendly product, all while helping to create more jobs here in the United States.
A New Family Heirloom
For centuries, most furniture was built to last. Some of us have even been lucky enough to have received one of these heirlooms that at one time, sat in our great grandmothers’ dining room. In recent years, with the changing culture and many of our country’s purchases coming from overseas, the availability of these high quality products that could withstand the test of time, have seemed few and far between. American hardwood furniture is the answer to finding that new family heirloom. The strength and resilience of the American hardwood species used to create these beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces, is available right here where you live and breathe. It’s your turn to have something of value and something to pass down.
*Source: National Hardwood Lumber Association