Thursday, October 28, 2010

Oh my, is that a piece of wood, or are you just happy to see me?... Both!

So let's just run down some of the materials that we utilize in the world of design, specifically the woods...  This by far doesn't dig very deep into all the amazing and exotic species out there, but these are a good handful of most designer's favorite building material...

Paulownia and Paulownia wallcovering by Innovations

Probably not a wood that most people are familiar with yet, but Paulownia has been around for a while, as one of the fastest growing trees.  This is probably going to be the new thing to replace Bamboo.  It's not an extremely interesting wood in terms of it's graining, but if people are looking for sustainable.  This is it!...

Wenge and Wenge wide plank flooring

Wenge, I know everyone's heard the word, but not many people actually know what Wenge actually is, as it's a rarer wood, so it became very popular a few years back as a generic term for a finish because of the wood's natural deep color, almost like a freshly roasted coffee bean.  When the opportunity and the budget allows for it though, the real thing is spectacular!

Walnut and a detail of a gorgeous Black Walnut sideboard

One of my favorite species is Walnut.  It's just got a stunning graining pattern and completely versatile in terms of its usage as furniture, flooring, accents.  It's good a wonderful brown coloring that is neither too orange or red, so it tend to not fight any color palette.

Teak and the St. Bart's Lounge chair from Holly Hunt

Another one of my favorite woods is Teak.  This has a wonderful rich orange color, but still somehow remains a neutral in the room.  It's definitely got more of a tropical feel when used inside, but it's one of the most popular materials for outdoor furniture because of its density, and the wonderful grey patina unfinished teak gets over time...

Rosewood and a client's magnificent 100 year old Rosewood Steinway

Rosewood is just one of those species that is so spectacular when used in the right application.  It's got very dramatic cathedrals and very distinct coloration, which is the reason why this 100-year old Steinway Concert Grand Piano one of my clients owns is just breath taking...

Rift Cut White Oak and a wonderfully simple White Oak door

White Oak is a staple material that almost every builder and designer uses in their repertoire...  It's versatile like Walnut as flooring, furniture and many other items.  I've shown it in a rift cut, which we've started using much more as it creates an interesting linear pattern that lends itself well to more contemporary styles.

Maple and a simple Maple closet interior

Maple is probably one of the most commonly used building materials, as it's fairly consistent in look and color, the material itself is reasonably priced, and it's a hard, easy to work with species.  This is the reason so many times with utilitarian type furniture, ie. bookcases, shelving, etc., Maple is the choice.  It's also frequently used on the interior of cabinet pieces, so the cost of the cabinet is kept down by only using the more exotic or expensive veneer on the exterior of the piece.

Mahogany and a beautiful Chippendale Mahogany Secretary
One of the more well known types of wood is Mahogany as it was so prevalent in woodworking hundreds of years ago...  The grain is pretty tight, and gives a slightly reddish undertone to it, giving it a richness which is typical in fine antiques, like the secretary shown above.

Birch and an IKEA bookcase in Birch
Birch is along the lines of maple in terms of it's usage.  It's a wood that I rarely actually ever specify, but it's a good durable, useful material when it comes to building innocuous pieces of furniture...

Bamboo straight grain and Strand Bamboo Plank Flooring

The new sustainable wood, Bamboo, which isn't even a wood... Bamboo is actually a very fast growing grass which is very dense, and competes in hardness right up there with oak.  Bamboo is actually harvested, and cut in strips which are then fused together to form planks, giving it its linear pattern.  Another manufacturing process for Bamboo is shown above in the Strand Flooring which maintains the fibers of the Bamboo plant, then again fused together to form a very strong and stable material perfect for high traffic floors. It's uses go far beyond building in that it can also be spun into fabric for towels and clothing.

Ash and a contemporary White Ash Bench
Ash, a beautiful wood when showcased on the right piece of furniture is used also for sporting equipment, such as baseball bats.  It's a hard wood with wonderful long grains and a tan characteristics.

Macassar Ebony and a modern Macassar Ebony take on a secretary

Ebony is a spectacular piece of Mother Nature's work, shown in it's strong black and brown graining, which when cut on angles and placed in different directions can form stunning patterns on table tops and panels.

Koa and Taylor Swift's famous Koa guitar
Koa is a wood near and dear to my heart as it is very representative of Hawaii and its culture.  It's a very rare wood, as it takes so long for the tree to mature to harvest any significant size pieces out of it.  Frequently nowadays you see it in smaller items such as bowls, frames, and instruments, such as the one Taylor Swift in known for sporting around...

No comments:

Post a Comment