Many of our customers have the common misconception that softwoods are weaker than hardwoods. While they are classified as a “softwood” the term is not correlated to the strength of the wood. Softwoods come from coniferous trees like cedar, fir, and pine that tend to have a cone shape top. Since coniferous trees go fast and straight, they are generally less expensive than hardwoods that grow curvy and slow. Hardwoods have more character than the softwoods, with their exquisite grain patterns, beautiful colors, and textures. However the more exotic the hardwood, the higher the price.
Softwoods offered by Marvin:
This is the standard species of wood Marvin offers as it is very easy to work with, and are the most common species of wood in the US. There are several different varieties of Pine, including Sugar, White, Yellow, and Pondarosa. It’s commonly used in furniture and windows because it is easy to shape, and takes stain very well.
Side note: The Marvin factory has “wood sensors” that actually detect the best place to cut a piece of wood. If a piece of wood has a minor defect, such as a crack, knot, or dent, it is rejected and recycled into wood chips which they use to fuel the plant and keep it heated in the winter. In the summer months, they donate the wood chips to local farmers to use as bedding for their farm animals.
Douglas Fir (Vertical Grain and Mixed Grain):
Douglas Fir does not take stain as well as pine, so it’s best to go this route if you plan to paint the finished product or keep it bare, with a clear coat finish. Fir is most commonly used as a building material versus furniture items and has a reddish brown tint to it. Douglas Fir is a very strong wood, ranking at a 4 on a scale of 1 to 5 for hardness. Marvin offers both Vertical Grain and Mixed Grain Douglas Fir, so choosing between the two just depends on which grain pattern you prefer.
Hardwoods offered by Marvin:
Cherry is the most popular hardwood as it has many desirable qualities; it takes stain well, ages exquisitely, is easy to work with, and has a beautiful outer reddish-brown color. As a result, it can get pricy due to its high demand. Cherry has a hardness of a 2 on the same scale of 1 to 5. While going with this species can be pricey, Cherry is still less expensive than the other two hardwoods, Mahogany and White Oak.
Mahogany has three different species: Honduran being the most widespread, followed by West Indian, and the less common Swietenia humilis. The largest exporter of Mahogany is Peru as it is a timber of a tropical hardwood and flourishes best in coastal areas with rich organic soil. It is brown to deep red in color, and has a straight grain. It accepts stain well and looks best with a wood oil finish.
Oak is resistant to moisture, so it’s the most popular wood used in outdoor furniture and flooring. Oak is available in two varieties- red and white. Marvin offers white oak but it is not common to find a piece that is authentically white, it is typically a light gray. The white oak tree can grow up to 100 feet and live as long as 200-300 years! It stains well, and holds a beautiful ray-like grain pattern.
If the above woods still don’t seem like species you would be interest in installing into your home, Marvin will find you the wood species you want, and build a custom window to satisfy your wood desires! Stop by one of our showrooms today to see the differences in wood species and chat with one of our friendly staff members about the best wood option for your project.