Over the past 5 years, as furniture manufactures we’ve seen a huge increase in the popularity of American hardwood timbers. Timbers such as American Walnut or American Oak is extremely popular amongst homeowners, building and design professionals such as architects and interior designers. Recent import delays caused by Covid19 has bought about large backlogs of shipping containers waiting to be freighted to Australia. Within Australia the price of American timbers has increased 35%. It’s a matter of supply and demand so unfortunately, as furniture makers, we must pass the increase onto our customers. Despite the cost American hardwoods remain extremely popular within Australia.
Both American Walnut and American Oak timbers are hard woods. Whilst working with hardwoods can be difficult due to weight and thickness, they are extremely stable to work with. Meaning it doesn’t move and twist and warp as much as other timbers. Hardwood trees tend to be slower growing and possess structural traits that make the process of building furniture much easier. Anatomically the timber’s cells are uniform. Another notable difference is that hardwood is taken from Angiosperm trees unlike Soft wood that is taken from Gymnosperm trees. Gymnosperms produce seeds as part of their reproductive cycle, are evergreen and tend to grow long and straight. They are also usually less dense than other trees, although this is not always the case. Angiosperm trees are deciduous and grow much slower than gymnosperms and have water-carrying vessels that look like pores. Because of the way they grow, they tend to have denser wood fibers than what you’d often find with softwoods.
Aesthetically both timers have even colour. They tend to have less colour striation, gum vein and parasite damage. The grain is quite uniform and dispersed evenly. The rich light and dark browns integrate beautifully with many interior decors. We’ve seen a huge increase in demand for these timbers over the last 5 years. Murray River Red Gum was hugely popular in the early 2000’s however the us of American timbers has greatly increased within domestic and commercial design. Having said that, we must remember that in Australia we have a huge variety of magnificent native timbers which are sourced ethically, often from reclaimed logs. More about that in another Blog.