We’re often asked here: what’s the best wood that can last the wear and tear of my family? This is a loaded question really. It depends on a lot of different factors. How rough is your family with your furniture? How often do you use the table (every night, other night, etc)? Are you only there to eat your meals or do you use it for family gatherings too? There are a lot of factors that play into which wood is the best wood for your kitchen set.
We offer six different woods to start: Red Oak, Brown Maple, Cherry, Quartersawn White Oak, Hard Maple, and Hickory. We’ll go over which woods you should consider for your kitchen and which ones you shouldn’t consider. Each wood varies and depending on how you and your family treat for furniture will ultimately decide exactly how long your piece will last you.
Woods You Shouldn’t Consider for Your Kitchen Set
Now, don’t get us wrong. Everything we offer is a solid American hardwood. They vary a lot of different ways though. Some are far stronger than others making them better for certain pieces. There are two woods we do not recommend kitchen sets or office desks. Those two woods are Brown Maple and Cherry.
The reason being why we don’t recommend Brown Maple and Cherry for kitchen sets, or office desks, is because they’re the two softest hardwoods we offer. They’re soft enough to the point where if someone writes hard enough on the surface, they can write into the wood itself. Due to how much abuse kitchen sets typically see these woods are strong enough to take the daily wear and tear.
Typically the only way we recommend either of these two woods for a kitchen set is if the person looking to order the kitchen fully understands that the wood is of a softer nature and not the greatest for a kitchen set. Another way is if there won’t be any younger children and from a day to day basis it will only be two people typically using the set. One major issue people run into when choosing these woods for a kitchen set is a majority of the people who sought after this look are looking to replace their existing set. The ones looking to replace their existing set typically have a Oak kitchen set they’ve had for years. The issue with replacing that old Oak kitchen set is you’re actually downgrading the strength of that kitchen set. While you’re getting more update look, the trade off isn’t typically worth it.
Darker stains tend to show more hairline scratches. This goes across the board with any of the woods we offer. The best metaphor on what we’re talking about is imagine a car. Darker cars always show more scratches than lighter cars. If you think about it scientifically too, what happens is all of the light gets sucked into the darker stain which makes the top seem more reflective than it actually is. Since kitchen sets see more abuse than dining sets you will see more hairline scratches. The silver lining though is these scratches are in the top coat and can be refinished which will eliminate any hairline scratches.
Woods You Should Consider for Your Kitchen Set
The remaining four woods are the ones we recommend for kitchen sets: Red Oak, Quartersawn White Oak, Hard Maple, and Hickory.
The best wood for the most bang for your buck is Red Oak. Red Oak is a stride and true wood for a kitchen. Red Oak is right in the middle of durability amongst all the woods we offer. Due to it’s large grain it also hides distressing better. The main issue with Red Oak is the misconception of the wood. Too many people assume Red Oak only comes in a golden honey color. Red Oak, along with all of the woods we offer, can come in many different stains ranging from blonde to black. You can modernize the wood by going with a darker stain but hairline scratches will show more as mentioned before.
Quartersawn White Oak
Quartersawn White Oak is great as a “piece of mind” type of wood. Since everything we work with is a solid American hardwood you’re prone to things like humidity changes. Since the White Oak we use is quartersawned, it helps take any humidity changes better than other woods. White Oak is just barely stronger than Red Oak so you’re not gaining anything in strength when changing woods. What you will gain though is a unique look.
The two strongest woods we offer are Hard Maple and Hickory. These are the sort of woods we recommend when you have either a super rowdy family and you’re worried about the longevity of furniture. Hard Maple is the strongest smooth wood we offer. When it comes to Hard Maple, especially on a kitchen set, there are a couple things you will be mindful of though.
The first thing is the stain you pick out. Darker stains tend to show more hairline scratches. This is more apparent on Hard Maple since there is no grain to help distract your eye of any scratches.
Hickory is the toughest hardwood we offer. Hickory is perfect for any kitchen set where you want to not worry about dings or dents for the better. Now the major thing to realize with Hickory and any other hardwood we offer is that it is still wood. It is not indestructible and that dings and dents are inventible. Using the car metaphor from earlier if you were to bang a car door into another car door you’re almost guaranteed a dent. Hickory though is the best wood where dings and dents are less often to happen.
The biggest thing with Hickory, and Hard Maple, is humidity problems. Hickory and Hard Maple move the most due to humidity changes so you need pay more attention to it with these woods. Humidity issues don’t take over night to occur. They typically take weeks to months to occur. As long as you are on top of it for the better part these sort of issues usually never happen.
There are many different things that you need to consider when choosing the right wood for you next kitchen set. When designing your kitchen set, you may want to consider a stronger wood depending on how it’s going to be used. Have any questions on your next set? Leave us a comment below!