Handcrafted Tables, Wood Species, and Why
There are many wood species to choose from for handcrafted tables, but that does not make them all the best choice. Each wood species has its value for a different purpose. In our case we need wood species that are not only tough, but also achieve other requirements for color, grain, and stability. We pride ourselves in making handcrafted tables that meet these “requirements.” Our top choices for domestic wood species are: Ash, Hickory, Walnut, and Quarter Sawn Red and White Oak. Continue below to find out why we’ve selected these few and their distinct differences!
The Wood Species
Before we begin, it’s important to have a bit of an understanding of how each wood’s hardness is rated. There is a rating platform called the Janka Scale. Here’s how it works:
“The Janka hardness test measure the resistance of a sample of wood to denting and wear. It measures the force required to embed an 11.28 millimeter diameter steel ball halfway into a sample of wood.”
From there the wood species are scaled in how well they resist damage giving woodworkers and consumers an accurate estimate to the wood’s durability. To see how the wood species are rated, take a look at the Janka Scale shown. As a general rule, anything around 1000 and up is tough. Thus, it is a lot less likely to dent or leave impressions from writing. Most flooring is made of Oak which is around a 1200. Pine, for comparison, is around 400.
Ash Handcrafted Tables
Known for its pale color, Ash is the ideal wood for gray tones as the natural color does not come through aggressively. It has a notably large woodgrain which gives it a natural feel. Wondering where Ash rates on the Janka Scale? The placement would be 1320, explaining our choice in using this wood for our handcrafted tables.
Hickory Handcrafted Tables
Rating at 1820 on the Janka Scale, Hickory is known as one of the hardest wood species and thus a great choice for our handcrafted tables. Hickory tends to have a tighter grain with strong color variations. For this reason we often suggest choosing a different wood species from Hickory when a gray stain or less contrast is desired. This wood species has a beautiful natural look to its grain, but this detail comes down to preference.
Walnut Handcrafted Tables
A wood species that speaks for itself and often needs no introduction, Walnut makes an impression. Known for its rich brown color and tight woodgrain, some are enchanted by it and others overwhelmed. One of the harder wood species, Walnut rates at 1010 on the Janka Scale. When it comes to color, Walnut is almost always left its natural color. Those who ask us to stain handcrafted tables made from Walnut may get a funny look. Thus, be prepared.
Quarter Sawn White Oak Handcrafted Tables
Quarter Sawn is a process of cutting wood 80-90 degrees to its growth ring. It creates a tight dash-like grain pattern with no large graining and makes for a very stable board. This style of cut is a lot less likely to crown, curl, or crack. In cases with unstable humidity environments, this cut should be a consideration. Additionally, White Oak exposes what’s refereed to as Ray Flake. It typically runs left to right of the grain, appearing like a small “ribbon.” For color, the undertone of White Oak is a golden hue, which gives any stain color a golden/brown tone. White Oak’s other big attribute is its natural decay and rot resistance, making it great for outdoor use. White Oak rates at 1360 on the Janka Scale.
Quarter Sawn Red Oak Handcrafted Tables
Cut the same as Quarter Sawn White Oak there are just a few minor differences in Quarter Sawn Red Oak. For instance, the level of Ray Flake or “the ribbon effect” are not as strong as a Quarter Sawn White Oak. For individuals who prefer a tight and stable grain, a Quarter Sawn Red Oak is a great alternative. Another variation between the two is the undertone. Red Oak will differ and have a red/peach tone, and because of this, care must be taken to avoid a pink tone in pale stain colors. If you’re looking for an outdoor table, Red Oak is a poor choice as it’s prone to decay and rot. As far as hardness goes, Red Oak rates at 1290 on the Janka Scale.
More on Our Handcrafted Tables
In providing this information, we hope this will help educate and aid in the decision making and design process of our handcrafted tables. We’ve given you our reasons, the rest is up to you.
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