Which Wood Should You Choose?

When it comes to having beautiful bespoke joinery installed in your home, there are several factors you should consider. Firstly, what pieces of joinery does your house require: are you in need of new window frames, doors or both? As a leading bespoke door supplier in Manchester, Darcy Joinery can create beautiful timber doors to match your windows. Secondly, you have to consider the design of your home improvements. And thirdly, when it comes to wooden joinery you need to decide which type of wood to use.

We tend to use seven different types of hardwood, sourced from responsibly managed forests, and we ensure the utmost quality of our wood. Each wood type differs in colour and can be used for a variety of different purposes due to their unique characteristics. To help you decide, we have compiled some helpful facts about each wood type.

American White Oak
Oak is the most popular wood used for joinery and woodcraft, as it is very durable. The closed cellular structure of the wood is water and rot-resistant, so is perfect for a front door, as it can resist harsh conditions and years of wear and tear. Our American White Oak is sourced from the Appalachian Mountains in North America and shaped to specification at our factory. Typical uses of oak include construction, shipbuilding, cooperage, agricultural implements and the interior finishing of houses.

American Black Walnut
American Black Walnut, known officially as Julglas Nigra, is sourced from states in the USA and parts of Canada. Walnut is strong, hard and durable, without being excessively heavy. It has excellent woodworking qualities, and takes finishes well. Typically, it is used to make cabinets; however, it can also be used to create gunstocks, furniture, flooring, paddles and coffins. American Walnut ranges in colour from a lighter toffee brown to chocolate, and generally has a straight grain.

European Oak
European Oak is also commonly used in construction, as it is a hard, dense wood that has good flexibility and can sustain weight. European Oak can vary in colour from creamy tan to dark coffee colours. It tends to have a straight grain, although early wood and late wood rings are visible. When sawn across the grain, this wood produces attractive silver lines. Historical uses of oak include church pulpits, kitchen cabinets, flooring, coffins, boats and barrels for beer.

Dark Red Meranti
Common names for Meranti include Dark Red Meranti, Lauan and Philippine Mahogany; because it is sourced from far East Asia. As its name suggests, it is usually red in colour, although it can also come in shades of maroon, purple and brown. It has a course texture with medium pores and streaks of lighter resin can also be seen. There are a few varying types of Meranti, including Luan and Shorea, which vary in density and hardness. This wood is typically easy to work with, although interlocking grain makes planning difficult. This wood is often used for plywood, interior furniture, veneer, and boatbuilding. We use Meranti for external woodwork due to its water resistance.

Our Iroko is sourced from tropical Africa and machined to specification at our factory. The heartwood is a distinct yellow colour, but on exposure to light it quickly becomes golden-brown. Iroko is commonly used as an inexpensive alternative to Teak, as Teak is a protected wood with strict exporting rules. The grain is usually interlocked, which can cause bowing when sawn, however this can be easily rectified by sanding down. Iroko is a valuable wood for boat-building, flooring and exterior joinery. We often use this wood for window frames and external doors.

Sapele is a reddish-brown wood that is similar to Mahogany. A remarkable feature of sapele is that the grain is interlocked and changes direction in frequent, irregular intervals – this isn’t convenient when sawing but can be corrected by sanding. Before WWI, the principal demand for this wood came from Germany; where it was used for decorative cabinet work. Sapele is much harder than African or American Mahogany, and in resistance to indentation, bending strength, stiffness, and resistance to shock loads it is practically equal with English Oak. We normally use Sapele as our default hardwood to create high quality external joinery products.

Scandinavian Redwood/ Pine
Scandinavian Pine (also known as Redwood) is imported from Sweden, Finland and Russia. The grades vary for different uses. The colour is typically yellowy brown with different sized knots; these vary according to the part of the tree from which boards are converted. Pine is a softwood, and is therefore malleable and very easy to work with. It is easily treated and oiled to a beautiful finish. Pine isn’t very durable unless pressure treated, so we restrict its uses to indoor joinery such as internal doors and staircases.

We hope this guide is helpful to understanding the different types of wood used by Darcy Joinery to create our beautiful bespoke pieces of joinery. Each wood has a distinctive colour and grain, so you can choose them based on aesthetic effects to fit with the style of your home, or pick them based on their practical aspects.