James Reed, An interior designer for one of the nation’s top firms with over 20 years of experience.
- Cherry ages the best. It’s easy to work with and stains well with just oil. It has a reddish-brown color to it. It’s known to age beautifully. Cherry naturally goes from pink to a deep, reddish-brown over time. It looks better with every passing year. It has a hardness of two on a five-point scale and is commonly [used] for making furniture. You can find it in sustainably grown forests.
- Maple is another popular wood that ages well. It develops a charming honey-gold patina over time. You can find two varieties of it – hard and soft. Both types are harder than many other types of wood. It’s less disposed to denting and more durable. Both types are stable and have fine, straight grains. You should avoid oil finishes if you want to preserve Maple’s natural color. Also, keep in mind that Maple swells when it’s very humid, and it scratches easily. Use a protective sealant to counteract this [issue].
- Oak comes in red and white. It’s strong and is considerably resistant to moisture, which makes it a wood that ages gracefully. It’s great for making outdoor furniture. Over time, oak takes on a slightly amber tone. It’s very subtle, and most people don’t notice it.
- Western red cedar has a pleasing reddish tone to it. It’s used for outdoor projects such as building decks and furniture. It can handle moisture without rotting. It turns greyish over time, and quite a few people find that pleasant. You should definitely use a stain to preserve it so that it lasts over the years.
- Redwood also ages well. It is resistant to most environment-induced wear & tear, including rot and insect damage. The most weather-resistant part is the heartwood.
Cherry wood, great for indoor furniture
I find that one of the best aging wood surfaces is that of cherry wood. It undergoes a distinct transition of color when exposed to air and UV light. Initially, it tends to have a light pink/golden color, but over time it changes to a darker red-brown tint. You can expect to see the most significant changes in the first half-year of exposure, but it often continues well after that.
In my experience, it is great for indoor furniture. If you want to use cherry wood outside, I recommend applying a proper finish/varnish first.
Natural cherry wood
Natural cherry wood is a smooth-grained hardwood that looks so good as it ages that people actually try to age the wood faster or just make it look older.
Cherry is one of the most popular woods for furniture and surfaces [in the United States]. Finish this exceptional wood with a natural oil like tung oil or boiled linseed to bring out the natural luster that will only deepen and become more beautiful as it gets older.
White oak surfaces
As the [surface] ages and the wood develops little quirks specific to the way it is used, white oak surfaces, in my opinion, look the best. They offer a contemporary look with all benefits of using a natural material in your home.
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