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  • Chelsea J Marshall

Finish Options - Wood species & stains for your handcrafted furniture

The great United States of America is a land blessed with abundant resources. Our Amish builders appreciate this, perhaps better than the rest of us. They use the best American hardwoods to create our beautiful furniture. To make the best decision for your home, it’s important to understand the differences between each species. Remember, because our pieces are built to order, you can pick any wood and stain on any furniture you choose.

Red Oak

Red oak is one of the most popular hardwoods for timber production in North America. It is known for its open grain, with a traditional, coarse-textured look, it offers durability and strength to stand up to years of day-to-day living.”

Refined Country - red oak in a light stain

With the ability to be stained from light to dark to anywhere in the middle, oak is most distinguishable by its grain pattern. It is rougher and has more texture than our other wood species offerings. It is what’s known as an open-grain species, meaning that the pores, exposed by cutting logs into boards, are large enough to see with the naked eye. Although not significantly stronger or more durable than our other offerings, red oak is more forgiving, as scratches in the finish will blend more readily with the grain pattern.

Classic Mission - a red stain on oak

When stained a light color, oak has a very traditional country look. It pairs well with pieces shaped with turnings or carvings, as the pattern of the grain plays in interesting ways on curved pieces. Darker, red-toned stains are typical for mission and art-and-crafts style pieces. Although less common, a medium-brown toned stain looks great on Queen Anne & Victorian styles, with a more relaxed & casual feel than cherry.

Casual Elegence - red oak in a light stain in Queen Anne style

For a more transitional look, oak can be stained with Onyx, which will cover most color variation and only show a little texture. Our newest stain, Antique Slate, can really modernize the look of oak, and is great for a two-tone finish with Onyx.

Classic Meets Contemporary - two-toned red oak


Cherry is a smooth, even grained hardwood known for its warm, rich color. Cherry may have some mineral streaks, pitch pockets, or sapwood. It will mellow and darken with age.

Graceful & Classic - Traditional Queen Anne in cherry

Cherry, another popular selection, is much smoother and more regular in color and grain pattern than oak. We offer both a top-grade cherry and what is known as a rustic cherry. Rustic cherry pieces will include knots, pits, and other markings, all of which are part of the natural beauty of the wood, and do not affect the structure.

Timeless Details - a light cherry finish

Cherry is typically thought of as being used for traditional or formal furniture, like Queen Anne styles, often stained a dark or red finish. However, when stained in a lighter color, cherry is a beautiful option for transitional and Shaker styles. When a light cherry is selected on a country-style piece, the look becomes less Americana and more farmhouse, an effect that is especially pronounced when the rustic cherry is selected.

Transitional Farmhouse - Rustic cherry with a light stain

Brown Maple

Cut from the same tree that produces the delicious syrup for weekend pancake breakfasts, brown maple has become increasingly popular for furniture. Mostly distributed from eastern North America, brown maple is a smooth grained hardwood with distinctive patterns from board to board.

Transitional & Timeless - A light finish lets the grain pattern shine

Unlike red oak, our brown maple has a smooth, closed-grain texture. Unlike cherry, brown maple has variation from board to board. Some pieces are swirled, some are lined, and some are zigzagged. When finished in a light stain, streaks of grey show through. Brown maple is often preferred over hard maple due to its ability to accept stains.

Balanced - A medium stain disguises, but doesn't hide, the irregularities of the grain

This smooth but irregular finish makes the brown maple an ideal selection for transitional or contemporary furniture. It is also popular on mission-style furniture, especially when finished in a mission red stain. When stained a dark red color, it is often mistaken for cherry.

Incognito - Maple stained to resemble cherry

Quartersawn White Oak

Quartersawn describes a way of cutting oak logs into quarters to create distinctive grain patterns, including figure flakes, fine lines, pin stripes, leafy grains and watery figures. This cut is traditionally used on mission-style furniture and antiques.

Solid & Sturdy - A quartersawn cabinet in a classic mission style

When oak is cut in a quartersawn method, the grain is cut through on a diagonal. Not only does this produce a slightly stronger product, it creates a striking grain pattern, almost geometric when compared to a straight-cut oak. The open grains run somewhat parallel, with irregularly-shaped silver streaks running through. The pattern is a feature, it is a showstopper, and it is a focal point. Just like with cherry, we offer a top-grade version, as well as a rustic version, which will feature knots, pits, and other markings.

Stylized Mission - A mix of classic & contemporary

Quartersawn white oak is a staple on mission and craftsmen style pieces. The unique patterns create a striking balance against the stark, solid designs. Quartersawn white oak was also very commonly used in old churches, especially on the pews & pulpits. On some styles, the grain patterns will add a modern feel; on other styles, it will add a farmhouse flair.

Mission meets Farmhouse - A quartersawn bedroom

Any Piece - Any Wood - Any Stain

Visit our showroom in The Mall at The Pittsburgh Mills to see our full selection.

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