Various types of wood are used to build furniture, making it difficult to distinguish between them. You can figure out the type of wood by seeing its features. To assist you, we have created a guide on how to identify wood types in furniture. Each wood delivers its inherent beauty and distinct physical features that determine its usefulness for various applications.

We will discuss the categorization, qualities, and various sorts of wood here. Learning about different types of wood will help you appreciate a particular piece of furniture.  If you understand wood types, you can determine the quality and robustness of the furniture you require for your home.

Go through the article:

How to Identify Wood Types In Furniture: Step by step

Step 1: Check the Wood Grain:

You may find smooth grain patterns in softwoods but porous patterns in hardwoods. Examine the grain and whether it has a wooden surface.

Thus, you will learn how to determine the wood type in furniture. The wood grain will determine whether the wood is resilient or not.

Let’s see some wood grain directions-


  Wood Grain Direction


Mixture of grains
Oak Quartersawn grains


Ash Straight and wavy grains




Straight grains
Walnut Straight grains


Pine Straight grains


Birch Loose grains


Poplar Straight grains




Straight grains


Douglas Fir Straight and slightly wavy grains



Step 2: Wood Color:

Examine the color of the wood before using it in your furniture. Some woods are black, whereas others are light ombre.

Color may change over time. However, check the following table to identify the wood in furniture according to color-



  Wood Types


Wood Color
Oak light brown or red
Maple light reddish-brown
Cherry reddish-brown
Walnut the chocolate brown, green, or purple hue
Cedar reddish, slightly purple
Ash light to medium brown
Poplar multi-colored
Birch light and creamy color or medium brown
Pine yellowish
Douglas Fir light-brown with yellow or red


Step 3: Growth Rings:

Growth rings can help you to identify the wood in your furniture. You may notice them on the end of the wood.


Wood Growth Rings
Oak light to medium brown growth rings
Walnut pale yellow color and dark brown rings
Cedar Pinkis, reddish or pale yellow growth rings ring
Douglas Fir dark yellow growth rings
Cherry dark brown growth rings
Maple medium brown growth rings
Pine dark brown growth rings
Birch dark brown growth rings
Ash light brown or beige growth rings
Poplar dark brown growth rings


Step 4: Patterns:

  • Oak-unusual pattern
  • Pine – dark brown knots
  • Maple- a unique pattern
  • Cherry-wavy sapwood pattern
  • Walnut wavy and circular sapwood
  • Cedar- dark brown stripes
  • Birch-horizontal strips
  • Ash- wide spacing of sapwood
  • Poplar- straight uniform patterns
  • Douglas Fir- shows a wide range of patterns


How to Identify Cedar in Furniture?

If you see reddish wood with a straight grain, it can be cedarwood.  Examine the wood for an appealing woody fragrance to get an indication.

You can use it in furniture due to its weather durability feature. Also, cedar offers moth-repelling characteristics.

How to identify Redwood?

Check for reddish-brown color and curved, detailed grain patterns in redwood. It is a more beautiful red color than cedar.

People love to use it because of its weather resistance quality. Additionally, redwood does not have a woodsy, fragrant smell.

How to Identify Douglas fir?

If you want to buy affordable softwood furniture, pick Douglas fir. It has hints of red or yellow between its growth rings. The grain pattern is usually very subtle. Hence, you can apply it to lacquered furniture.

How to Identify Oak in Furniture?

Examine the grain to determine whether it is permeable. You will get a darker growth ring in the oak wood. If the wood is oak, you will feel the unique grain pattern. Woodworkers use both red oak and white oak in cupboards and kitchen items.

How to Identify Pine in Furniture?

You can distinguish Pine by its color and growth rings. The knot of the Pinewood makes it ideal for furniture.

How to identify Maple in Furniture?

To identify maple wood, search for unusual grain patterns. Its light creamy color will become a yellowish hue with time. Maple is perfect for dining room tables and chairs.

How to Identify Walnuts in Furniture?

It is hard to determine walnut by their grain pattern because it is variable. Woodworkers adore the patterned walnut woods. You will notice this when attempting to distinguish walnuts from other woods.

Black walnut is the popular form of walnut used in furniture. A young walnut tree will have pale yellow growth rings. As walnut is so pricey, it is applicable for high-end luxury furniture.

How to Identify  Mahogany in  Furniture?

You can distinguish Mahogany by its pinkish or reddish-brown tint. Check for grain characteristics, color, and texture too.

How to Identify Ash in  Furniture?

Ash is extremely light brown. Growth rings of this wood are usually brown and mix nicely with the underlying grain.

How to Identify Engineered Wood?

Examine the wood grain pattern on the wood. Test to see whether it lacks a texture and appears to be false synthetic wood. This furniture is engineered MDF, OSB, or particleboard made.

To identify veneers, look for recurring wood grain patterns.  Repeating patterns indicate that it is engineered wood. They have imprinted wood-colored plastic made with a fake wood grain appearance.

How to Identify Spruce in Furniture?

Spruce comes with a highly consistent, straight grain. Its sturdiness makes it ideal for support beams and rafters. It has a silky feel with minimal pores.

How to Identify Hemlock in Furniture?

Hemlock is tough and durable. It features a straight grain and a nearly uniform color difference. Hemlock has a very consistent hue. On the other hand, Most light-colored woods have a smoother texture.

How To Identify Cherry in Furniture?

Black specks of the cherry wood distinguish it from the other woods. Several identical cherry planks of wood are homogeneous with no black spots.


Which Type of Wood is Best for My Furniture?


It is a distinction among the most desired furniture woods. Mahogany’s grain is distinct and beautiful. It is a very pricey wood.

The color depends on its maturity.

  1. PINE

This softwood is used to make regal furniture. The wood has a fine grain. Furthermore, it is the most used wood for unpolished furniture.

  1. CEDAR

Woodworkers use Cedar in closets and chests. It has a distinct scent and is also effective in repelling pests.


It is a moderately sensitive hardwood that is useful in low-cost furniture. Poplar has a fine texture. You can deal with it using hand tools.


You will need this wood in polishes.


This hardwood is commonly used in the manufacture of small furniture. It is also a favorite wood for butcher squares since it is resistant to splitting. Working with hand tools is simple.


It is considered one of the most valuable furniture woods. You can utilize it to make polishes. You may face difficulties in working using hand tools.

  1. ASH

The incredible bowing abilities of the Ashwood make it ideal for bentwood and twisted furniture parts.

  1. MAPLE

Butcher blocks are the most common uses for it. Its grain is usually straight, although it can also have wavy or curling patterns. Working with maple using hand tools is neglectable.

  1. OAK

We prefer it for its high quality and appealing grain. As a result, you can extensively use it for modern furniture.

  1. PECAN

Pecan lacquers are highly robust. Many offices utilize it for making furniture. As a result, working with hand tools on the wood is difficult.


You can make outdoor furniture with it. Working this wood with hand tools is challenging.


People admire Satinwood for its beautiful hardwood finishes. It has a distinctive and attractive uneven pattern.

  1. GUM

You will find it in some low-cost furniture.


Hickory is well-known for its high quality, toughness, and longevity.

  1. LAUAN

Woodworkers apply this wood to the less expensive furniture list. It has a ribbon-like grain pattern similar to mahogany wood.


Cherry is regarded as one of the most valuable hardwoods in furniture. It comes with an attractive, unique grain. So, it does not require filler. Working with a Cherry is costly.

  1. Elm

Elm has exceptional twisting properties. Woodworkers use it to make bentwood.

  1. Birch

Birch is a bright yellowish hardwood. You can use it in many aspects of furniture construction.


Bottom Line:

You can elegantly mix Wood furniture with any interior design. They are appealing as well. If you can identify the best wood in furniture, it will pass down for a long time.

If you are eager to know how to identify woods in furniture, you should keep in mind the constraints and challenges you may face.

This guide will assist you in identifying any wood types you come across.  Check our article on how to identify wood in furniture to ascertain the type of wood.

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