How To Select The Perfect Wood Species For Your Custom Solid Wood Furniture

Starting the search for new furniture can seem daunting and overwhelming. There are many factors involved while furniture shopping such as the price point, quality, and style. More often than not, these factors are also the biggest motivators when finalizing and making the purchase. Many times people think that creating a custom piece is more expensive than buying from a big box store and that is definitely not the case. Unruh Furniture has a price point for every budget and a wide range of design styles, that will truly last a lifetime with a guaranteed quality.

At Unruh Furniture we handcraft furniture and make customizing easy. Whether you are creating a dining table, coffee table or bedroom furniture your opinion matters. The furniture we create is made entirely out of solid hardwood and is handmade based on your unique customizations such as color, wood species, and dimensions. Selecting the wood species can sometimes be one of the hardest decisions throughout the process. Unruh Furniture gives you a choice between six different hardwoods; Alder, Cherry, Maple, Hickory, White Oak, and Walnut. All of these wood species have both visual and physical characteristics unique to their species. Understanding the quality and characteristics of the different wood types can make your choice easier. If you would like to learn more about these wood species check out - The Guide to American Hardwood Species.


To get started here at Unruh Alder wood is our standard wood species meaning there is no price increase when using. We specifically use Knotty Alder, which has an informal appearance with various small knots that are visible throughout the wood, resulting in a rustic look. With a medium density level, Alder is somewhat of a softer hardwood with low shock resistance. Naturally this wood is a blonde honey like color however once stained the color consistency is deep and rich and takes stain and paint very nicely.

solid wood media console

Check out this Tennessee Credenza created in Alder and stained Deep Mocha.


Cherry wood is known most for its color and durability. Due to the Cherry oil inside the wood you will notice a red undertone in the wood. Over time the wood can richen and darken and appear more red, this is due to the aging process and light exposure. This beautiful darkening occurs even after the wood has been stained. Cherry has medium shock resistance, strength and density. The graining pattern has a fine uniform straight grain appearance.

round dining table set

Check out the Fairfax Table built out of Cherry and stained Classic Fir.


Maple is another wood species that well known for its durability qualities. It has high strength and density. Maple has great resistance to abrasion making it a great species to use for heavily used items, such as coffee tables. Visually maple has a sleek and smooth graining with minimal knots.Maple also takes stain colors very beautifully resulting in consistent color.

wooden queen platform bedframe

Here is the Lake House Platform Bed in Maple stained Deep Mocha.


Hickory wood is very strong and is a great option for furniture that has heavy usage. Hickory has very high density, high shock resistance, and heavy in weight. The graining pattern in Hickory is very compact and raised with visible large knots. Due to the higher density level, the wood is not able to soak in the stain as much as other wood types thus resulting in slightly lighter stain colors.

wooden office desk

The Blair Desk pictured was created in Hickory and stained Faded Ebony.

White Oak

White Oak is also highly durable and has great resistance qualities. White Oak is very similar to Hickory but has a few differences. One difference is the way wood takes stain colors, with White Oak there is less consistently and each board will stain differently. This inconsistency with the stain color it is barely noticable. White Oak also has a compact raised graining pattern and texture like Hickory however has limited visible knots.

custom wooden hutch

Check out the Belmont Hutch in natural White Oak with a clear coat stain.


The type of Walnut we use here at Unruh Furniture is Black Walnut. Naturally, black walnut has light and dark pieces and is a caramel colored wood. The graining pattern has a mixture of wavy and straight movement throughout the grain that gives a more decorative and artistic appearance. In Walnut we offer a live edge option that can be done on table tops, coffee tables, and other furniture items. However, keep in mind Walnut is the only wood species we offer the live edge option in.

live edge contemporary dining table

Here is the Coleson Table in Walnut with a live edge top stained Weathered Oak.

Handcrafted in the USA

All of our wood is naturally sourced throughout the United States at Liberty Hardwoods located in Kansas City. We hand pick each board for every project ensuring the perfect look for each piece. Each furniture piece goes through a vigorous sanding process after it has been assembled. Then it is stained by hand, using a cloth and topped with three coats of an eco-friendly water based polyurethane finish. Resulting is a durable top coat that will not discolor over time. We stand behind every piece and guarantee the quality for a lifetime in our unmatched warranty.

How To Get Started

At both our Dallas and Kansas City locations we have large scale samples of all the color and wood species options for you to easily visualize. Schedule an appointment at our Dallas Showroom now, to start creating the perfect furniture piece for your space!

By Kaitlin Kusch

Kaitlin is a Kansas City native with a passion for design and a love for people. She has an uncanny ability to know the best furniture solution for a unique space. And did we mention she loves animals too?

Contact Unruh Furniture’s team today to customize the way you live.

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