Many customers ask us about the trees that make our American made solid wood furniture. Here are the 4 types we currently use and their back-story.
Ash (Fraxinus spp.)
Norse mythology refers to Ash as “the mighty tree that supports the heavens” and “below earth its root went down to hell.” Ash belongs to the olive family, although its only fruit is a dart-like winged seed. Ash is a popular species for food containers because the wood has no taste. Admiral Richard Byrd wore snowshoes made from Ash during his polar expeditions. Early windmills were made from this species. Its main uses are furniture, flooring, doors, moulding, hockey sticks, billiard cues, and more. It grows throughout the Eastern U.S. and ranges in height from 80 to 120 feet. Nearly all furniture at Manchester Wood is made with Ash, except our Adirondack collection and Solid Cherry collection. The Solid Cherry collection which has items found throughout a variety of categories has product names with ‘Cherry‘ in them.
Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
Known as “Mother of the Forest” for its nutrient-rich humus, Beech has a long, illustrious past. The Aryan Tribes of Asia, the earliest known people to use a written language, carved their messages into the soft, smooth pliable bark of the Beech tree. The writings, cut out of the bark were called “boc,” which eventually became “book.” Its main uses are doors, flooring, toys, turnings, and furniture. It grows throughout the Eastern U.S. with an average height of 120 feet. Occasionally our Retro collection is made with Beech.
Cherry (Prunus serotina)
Like all fruit trees, Cherry belongs to the rose family. American Colonists used the Cherry tree for its fruit, medicinal proprities and home furnishings. They mixed Cherry juice with rum to create Cherry Bounce, a bitter but highly favored cordial. The bark was used in the production of drugs to treat bronchitis, and Cherry stalks were used to make tonics. Its main uses are fine furniture and cabinet making. It grows throughout Midwestern and Eastern U.S. Check out our Solid Cherry collection, made entirely with Cherry hardwood.
Soft Maple (Acer rubrum, Acer saacharinum)
In most respects Soft Maple is very similar to Hard Maple. Generally the sapwood is greyish white, sometimes with darker colored pith flecks. The wood is usually straight-grained. Its main uses are furniture, paneling and millwork. It grows throughout the Eastern U.S. and to a lesser extent the West Coast. Check out our Adirondack collection made with Soft Maple.
This information comes courtesy of American Hardwoods: Treasured for Generations.