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Furniture Wood Types: Which Reacts Best to Stripping?

Furniture Wood Types: Which Reacts Best to Stripping?

Wood is quite a purposeful material used for the construction of houses, tools, weapons, paper, packaging and furniture. When it comes to using wood as a material for furniture, there are several wood types that are used in the creation process. In fact, the basic division of furniture wood is into solid wood – hardwood and softwood and manufactured wood – plywood and particleboard. 

Solid Wood

Solid wood comes from lumber and there are two solid wood types hardwood and softwood. Hardwood is denser compared to softwood and it comes from deciduous trees which grow slowly. Usually, high-quality wooden furniture is made of hardwood. On the other hand, softwood is less dense, coming mostly from evergreen trees that grow more quickly.

Manufactured Wood

Engineered woods, or manufactured woods contain several wood types and are commonly used as part of furniture making. The two manufactured wood products are called plywood and particleboards. Plywood consists of 5 slices of thin lumber with adhesive, while particleboards or fiberboards are made out of broken down particles into tiny fibers glued together with adhesive. 

So, it can be concluded that hardwoods are the ones that you should look for, if you want to buy quality furniture. Even though the other above-mentioned woods are also used for furniture making, if you want to choose a wood that lasts it should be hardwood. Also, hardwood is amazing if you want to keep it lasting longer and be used by several generations. It can often be repainted as well as stripped to return to its original look.

But, before delving into the types of wood, let’s find out more about the wood furniture making process as well as the stripping process.

Wood Furniture Making Process

Since we have covered the various types of wood and those that are worthy to be chosen as part of your furniture, now a word or two about the wood furniture making process. 

The process of making wood furniture can be divided into: manufactured and hand-made.

With the manufacturing process luxury items can be reciprocated and be a part of plenty of households without much human effort. Within the manufacturing process, some of the actions that are done include usage of engineered wood instead of solid wood.

On the other hand, hand-made furniture making includes the use of human hands in the process of creation, with utmost care, effort and time put into one piece of furniture. Hand-made pieces usually differ from engineered ones in the details and the quality. 

Wood Furniture Stripping Process 

Like there are two different wood furniture making processes, there are also different types of stipping processes. There are caustic and non-caustic stripping and hand-stripping processes in order to remove the paint of your furniture or doors. 

Caustic stripping includes placing the items in a tank of hot caustic soda to remove the paint. Non-caustic stripping is the process of putting a stripping agent on the item and removing the paint off the furniture or doors. These two different types of stripping are recommended for different wood types. So, caustic stripping is recommended for elm and pine wood, while oak, beech and walnut wood should be treated with non-caustic stripping in order not to lose their shine. 

Delicate pieces that are hand-made or have a high value are hand-stripped where the process of stripping is done by hand. 

Types of Wood That Are Best for Stripping

The best types of hardwood that you can invest in and can last longer are the following: 

1. Maple Wood

If you want a heavy wood furniture that has plenty of light coloured hues throughout it, you can explore the plenty of shades that maple wood offers. The small knots that appear on the grain are called bird’s eye because the pattern resembles a bird. The other grain pattern that usually shows at a maple wood are burls, a bunch of curls inside a maple tree. Its characteristics such as shock absorption and resistance to wear and abrasion make it the perfect choice for furniture. 

Due to the adaptive nature of maple wood which is easy to work with both machine and hand tools, it is a leader in the field of furniture making wood. 

Maple is the easiest to strip due to its relatively closed grain. However, it has to be emphasised that the process of stripping has to be applied before sanding the wood. Just sanding the paint will lift the bulk of the finish, however, a significant amount will remain in the grain. 

2. Mahogany Wood

Known for the reddish colour, mahogany wood is an amazing wood for furniture which can be polished and oiled quite well, to a perfect shine. Since it is quite durable, it can be used as a furniture wood that can take heavy load on them. The only drawback of mahogany wood is that it can be difficult to find and for that reason it is becoming more and more expensive. 

The process of stripping mahogany furniture is the following. First, we dust off the piece, getting it ready by removing and brushing away dust or grime build-up. There are plenty of paint stripper tools and agents on the market, but we use a special formula with harsh agents that aren’t recommended for DIY projects. 

3. Oak Wood

Some of the most common oak wood species are grown in Europe, North America and Japan. Due to the strength, heaviness and the high tannin content this wood type is resistant to insects as well as fungal infestations. 

While it is typically used for flooring and kitchen furniture, oak is also excellent for other furniture types, especially because it is inexpensive and as well as durable. 

Even though oak is hardwood and used for furniture creation, when it comes to stripping, it’s best to apply non caustic stripping in order to keep its color. If caustic stripping is applied to oak furniture, it can turn into dull grey, damaging the surface of the wood.

4. Pine Wood

Pine wood is a common softwood which is durable and inexpensive and for those two reasons it is very often used as wood furniture. Due to its knots, pine wood furniture is very likely to be a part of the country and rustic style furniture.

The other characteristic of pine wood is its versatility which makes it a great choice for several types of furniture such as chairs, tables, cupboards, floor, etc. 

Caustic stripping method can be applied to pine wood because it will less likely be damaged from the caustic soda dipping process. However, this includes application of harsh chemicals on the actual paint which will result in health consequences and we don’t advise you to try this at home even though there are plenty of tutorials online. You can irreversibly damage the wood and also harm yourself with some of the harsh paint strippers.

5. Cedar Wood

This softwood is ideal for outdoor furniture due to its weather resistant properties. Also, people use it as a wooden fence. Moreover, the other very common furniture that is made by cedar are wardrobes because of cedar’s aromatic quality which repels insects and stops fungus growth. 

Known for its red hues and the straight line grain make it a perfect furniture wood for a country style home. If you want to have rustic looking furniture that is affordable and doesn’t require much maintenance, using cedar wood is the right choice.

When it comes to stripping, cedar wood works well with both caustic and non caustic stripping. Stripping and refinishing a cedar siding is quite common and it should be done from time to time to revive the wood and make it last longer, looking fresh and new.

6. Cherry Wood

The delicate grain pattern and the satiny smooth texture make cherry wood very attractive and used quite often as wooden furniture. Cherry wood has a light pinkish colour that can vary and become medium reddish brown once it is exposed to sunlight. With age, cherry wood becomes even richer in colour, making some of the most drastic transformations when it comes to changes in wood colour. 

Its hard texture makes it resistant to dents and scratches, perfect for furniture items in a house with pets or kids. 

Overdoing stripping on cherry wood, or when done by a non-professional, can result in losing the colour that makes cherry wood different from the rest. For that purpose, it’s best to let professionals do the job.

In Conclusion

Since there are plenty of wood types that can be used for furniture, you have to pay special attention when buying. This also refers to the process of keeping the wooden furniture looking new longer. Therefore, if you need an external door or outdoor furniture, you should consider cedar wood. On the other hand, mahogany should be your choice if you’d like high shine furniture at home. 

We hope that we have helped you when it comes to wooden furniture choice. If you need more information on the topic, feel free to contact us! 

We hope that we have helped you when it comes to wooden furniture choice. If you need more information on the topic, feel free to contact us


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