All wood is not equal

All wood is not equal

Solid, real wood

Dapwood hand crafts eco friendly furniture only from solid, premium Midwestern and Appalachian hardwoods that are sustainably managed and in plentiful supply. There is no substitute for solid wood.

Since the solid wood is made in nature, there will be beautiful variations that enhance the uniqueness of the piece. Variations you may see include: figuring, quilting, ray flecks, minerals inclusions, color variation, small knots, etc. These variations are your assurance that you are only getting the highest quality solid wood. 

Real Wood Texture

Since Dapwood hardwood is made in nature, there will be beautiful wood texture and color variations.

Every piece of wood that goes into every piece of furniture Dapwood makes is unique. They source lumber in various lengths with random widths.

Their craftsmen inspect each piece of lumber and decide how to make pieces flat, straight, true, and free of cracks, and determine what side would present better and which side can be put to the inside of the furniture and not seen.

For headboard glue-ups, every piece is hand selected to find exceptional specimens.

Understanding that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they have worked a lot of wood over the years and have developed a good eye. More often than not, they gravitate to interesting wood texture instead of the boring. 

This lumber evaluation process extends to each individual support slat. Every single piece is evaluated and worked in this manner.

Internal Dapwood studies have determined that with all the straight lining, defecting, ripping, crosscutting, etc, that they have a fall-off rate of 40%.

In other words, out of a single piece of lumber, only 60% of the lumber is usable to theml This is a huge percentage of “waste” for a precious material so that is why they work hard with other craftsmen and community organizations to utilize this fall-off.

Wood-like vs. Wood

On a rare occasion Dapwood hears back that a piece of furniture is not completely homogeneous in color or wood texture. 


They appreciate all comments, and have a counter-view.

Because of massive marketing budgets of international corporations, we understand that most people are more exposed to furniture made in a far off landby the container load. These products are highly automated to squeeze out every penny of cost. Wood texture and color are often photographs or engineered products to be “wood-like”. They are manufactured to be stamped out and look exactly alike.

At Dapwood they take a much different approach. Instead of making everything monotone, the beauty and diversity of the natural product are showcased, highlighted and celebrated.

Wood Character

Wood Grain

Wood texture you may see in Dapwood Furniture include: figuring, quilting, ray flecks, mineral inclusions, color variation, small knots, sapwood, heartwood, insect bores, shotgun holes and on and on. This wood texture enhance the uniqueness of your furniture and is your assurance that you are only getting the highest quality solid hardwood.

Managed Hardwood Forests

Dapwood uses only the finest American hardwoods from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) managed forests. FSC is an internationally recognized program that signifies responsible forestry. Our hardwood lumber supplier’s 50,000+ acres of timberland are all FSC certified. By utilizing wood from FSC forests, we encourage sustainable practices that lead to long-term environmental stability.

To further prove the point that sustainable forestry is possible-

Forest area in the United States stands at 751 million acres, or about one-third of the Nation’s land area. Forest area was about one billion acres at the time of European settlement in 1630. Of the total forest land loss of nearly 300 million acres, most occurred in the East between 1850 and 1900, as broadleaf forests were cleared for agriculture. For the last 100 years, the total forest area has been relatively stable, while the U.S. population has nearly tripled.U.S. Forest Service's Draft National Report on Sustainable Forests – 2010

Managed U.S. forests are truly sustainable and we want to support this effort.

Dapwood’s Hardwoods

Dapwood uses the following hardwoods in our products and usually let the natural color, grain and texture of the wood come to life with natural finishes.


(Juglans nigra)
Black Walnut closeup
Common Names: American walnut or Eastern black walnut
Characteristics: The sapwood of black walnut is nearly white, while the heartwood is light brown to dark, chocolate brown, often with a purplish cast and darker streaks. The wood is heavy, hard, and stiff and has high shock resistance.


(Prunus serotina)
Black Cherry closeup
Common Names: Wild black cherry, mountain black cherry and rum cherry
Characteristics: The heartwood is brownish with a greenish tinge, darkening upon exposure to a deep reddish brown with a golden luster. The wood has a mild, aromatic scent, but no characteristic taste. It is of medium density, firm, and strong, with a fine, uniform texture.

Hard Maple

(Acer saccharum)
Hard Maple closeup
Common Names: Sugar maple or rock maple
Characteristics: Sapwood is commonly white with a slight reddish-brown tinge. Hard maple has a fine, uniform texture, is resistant to abrasion and has no characteristic odor or taste. It is heavy, strong, stiff, hard, and resistant to shock.

Red Oak

(Quercus rubra)
Red Oak closeup
Common Names: American red oak, black oak, buck oak, eastern red oak
Characteristics: Heartwood is reddish brown in color and has a course texture. Oak is heavy, straight-grained, hard, tough, very stiff, and strong.


Wood Finish Options

Hand applying natural linseed oil finish to solid walnut
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of wood finish options on the market today. They are typically grouped together as paints, varnishes, shellacs, oils, lacquers, and polyurethanes and can often be latex or oil based. To further the options (or confusion), they often have different sheens such as flat, matte, gloss, and eggshell. While the product options are long, so is the ingredient list and they are usually filled with toxic industrial chemicals.

A Different Wood Finish Option

Dapwood Furniture chooses to use only pure, plant-based products whose recipes have been passed down for centuries. Not only are they beautiful on solid wood but are time tested and eco friendly.

  • Linseed Oil – Our most popular finish made from the seeds of the flax plant
  • Stains – Eight vibrant colors for oak made from plant oils
  • Teak Oil  –  Not at all made with Teak but rather from the Tung Nut
  • Dapwood’s standard wood finish is a polymerized linseed oil. Linseed oil is a natural product that is pressed from the dried seeds of the flax plant (Linum usitatissimum) and is commonly called flaxseed or linseed oil. The flax plant has been cultivated for thousands of years for its fiber (linen), seed and oil. Linseed oil is one of the oldest commercial oils and has been used for centuries as a drying oil in painting and varnishing. Recently the potential health benefits from omega-3 fatty acids and lignins in flaxseed have added to the plant’s popularity.

    Raw linseed oil can be used as a wood finish but it can take weeks for it to fully cure. It is for this reason that we use a polymerized linseed oil which is somewhat more viscous than raw linseed oil (making it more difficult to spread and apply) but dries considerably more quickly. The polymerization of the oil is accomplished by applying heat to the oil in the absence of oxygen. Be aware that this process produces a final product that is not the same as the “boiled linseed oil” that you might find on the shelves of home improvement and hardware stores. As counter-intuitive as it seems, boiled linseed oil has not been “boiled” or heated at all but instead has had petroleum-based solvents and metal driers added to it so that it supposedly behaves as if it was “boiled”. The most commonly used heavy metal dryer in “boiled linseed oil” is cobalt that is considered toxic. Additionally, a finish generically referred to as “Danish Oil” is produced by large paint manufacturers and contains some linseed oil but the majority of the components may be carcinogenic, petroleum-based ingredients such as Naptha, Mineral Spirits, and Dipropylene Glycol Monomethyl Ether.

    Linseed Oil and Flax Seeds

    Dapwood's linseed oil finish is 100% pure polymerized linseed oil that contains NO petroleum distillates, NO volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and NO heavy metal driers. The heating methods used to polymerize our linseed oil finish have been adapted from 18th to early 20th century varnish-making techniques while also using current technology and quality control measures to ensure a consistent and natural product. We have taken the approach that a simple, natural finish is safer for us to work with, as well as, provide customers with non-toxic furniture.

    Linseed oil finish does not form a “shell” on the surface of the wood like varnishes or paints. Instead the oil soaks into the pores of the wood, leaving a satin surface that emphasizes the grain and natural beauty of the wood. The linseed oil continues to harden over time and enhances the wood’s resistance to denting and scratching. If damage does occur, the wood can be easily repaired by sanding and reapplying linseed oil. Reapplication of linseed oil over time will improve the richness of the wood finish and provide additional protection for the future.

    Be assured that our linseed oil finish is safe for children, pets, parents and the environment.


    What is a Wood Stain?

    A wood stain is composed of a colorant suspended (typically pigments) or dissolved (typically dyes) in a solvent (e.g. alcohol, water, petrochemicals). Stains do not penetrate deeply into the pores of wood.

    So what kind of stain does Dapwood use?

    Well, to be technically correct, Dapwood does not use a stain but a hard wax oil. We are using the term “stain” because everyone knows what you are talking about when you say “stain”. We would get a lot of blank stares if we say “hard wax oil”.

    We selected this European hard oil product because it does not contain petrochemicals so it is VOC-free. It does not stink like big box store stains which require respirators to apply. The hard wax oil is plant oil based and, like our linseed oil and teak oil, is applied to the wood, allowed to soak in and then wiped to remove excess oil. It does not cover the wood texture like paint but rather collects more in the grain and brings out the patterns and beauty.

    Dapwood colors- Onyx, Snow, Sterling, Sky, Sun, Forest, Fire and Berry

    On which hardwood(s) do you offer colors?

    Dapwood offers our plant-based stains on oak. We only offer the colors on oak because it honestly doesn’t look that good on our other premium hardwoods. Plus those other hardwoods have wonderful natural color and grain that easily stands on their own.

    Teak Oil

    Tung Tree

    Teak oil is made from the nuts of the Tung tree (Vernicia fordii) which is native to the southern part of China, Mayanmar (Burma), and northern Vietnam. Like Linseed Oil, the teak oil is a golden amber color. When applied to hardwoods it does not change the color but rather brings out the natural color and wood texture.

    If more color is desired, Dapwood Furniture also offers stains.

    Back to blog

    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.