American Black Cherry
Cherry is one of the prized tree species in America. A reddish-brown wood cherry is bright and light when freshly cut then darkens and developes a rich patina as it ages. You may notice mineral streaks as thin, dark lines and lighter, cream-colored wood in areas of new growth. Furniture made with cherry is highly valued and often passed down throught the generations. The current market supply of cherry is good with substainable levels projected well into the future. I am currently using a stash of cherry from my wife's grandparents farm harvested some 75 years ago.
Quarter Sawn White Oak
White oak is one of the most important woods in America. In fact, one reason Great Briton established the colonies in North America was to harvest and import white oak for building her navy. Today we use white for high-end furniture, cabinets and trim particularly when sawn perpendicular to the growth rings to reveal the spectacular medullary rays or 'specks'. Unlike the lower-cost red oak, white oak is one of the most commercially available rot-resistant woods in North America. It makes great outdoor furniture, structures, tools, and implements, rivaling teak in durability at a fraction of the cost. We have a good supply of white oak from well-managed forest.
The rich brown hues rippling between open pore growth rings with the occasional streak of purple, red or orange makes black walnut the prized hardwood species of North American. The dark browns can be contrasted with lighter tones of brown and sometimes breaking completely to the contrasting cream color of young wood. Walnut furniture is cherished by all who own a piece and very rarely is it ever thrown out. Even after the service life has been reached an old piece of walnut furniture can be recycled, reworked and reclaimed to be used in a new, beautiful and useful item. Good furniture grade walnut is becoming harder to find. Often the really good walnut trees are harvested for veneer and the lesser trees milled into solid stock. I am always on the lookout for a hidden stash of walnut (sans bugs!).
Maple is a beautiful light colored wood, almost white, with slightly darker lines of late wood grain. Sometimes maple exhibits tiny flecks of grain producing a marbling effect. Widely used furniture and cabinetry, maple takes paint and stain well and the fine grain is subtle and non-obtrusive. There are dozens of maple species in North America, two prominent species being sugar and silver maples. Sugar maples give us maple syrup and are considered hard maple commercially while silver maple, a fine shade tree, is considered a soft maple.
Tiger Stripe Maple
The absolutely gorgeous undulating grain pattern found in tiger stripe maple is actually an oddity, a defect in the wood grain found most often in the soft maples. This characteristic is referred to as 'figured grain' and takes the form of tiger stripes, bird's eyes, flame, or quilted or curly. The twisting, bending, curving patterns catch and reflect light creating depth and excitement in the grain. This can be enhanced and amplified by applying certain oils and finish.