Tips To Identify Different Types Of Wood In Antique Furniture

Antique furniture is the term used to describe any piece of furniture that is designated as collectable and is old. In general, this means furniture pieces that are at least 100 years old. This type of furniture is collectable, which means it will have a high value as it is in demand.

Of course, old wood furniture is unlikely to be in perfect condition. In many cases, it’s not advisable to repair it as this will ruin the authenticity.

But, if repairs are absolutely necessary, you’re going to need to know what type of wood was used to create it.

It should be noted that this type of repair is best left to the professionals in furniture restoration Sydney, it’s simply too easy to ruin the finish and destroy the value and collectability of the piece.

In short, you need to know your woods;

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Oak is one of the most common woods in antique furniture so a good place to start. It’s a very strong wood and furniture made from it can last for hundreds of years.

Oak tends to have groups of large pores and groups of small pores, they are separate but all in the end grain of the wood. It’s generally most visible around joins on the furniture.
Antique oak will yellow.

If your furniture is a genuine antique made of oak it will have adopted a yellow hue.
Should you have a broken piece of antique furniture you can run your hand across the exposed wood. If it’s oak it will feel very smooth.



This hardwood is tropical, often described as exotic, and very popular in antique pieces. It’s a distinctive red-brown colour which helps you know what your furniture is made of. However, there are other shades of mahogany, including grey, brown, and even peach.

Take a closer look at the grain and all mahogany wood has a pale pink background with dark lines in it. That tells you it’s mahogany.


Antique Furniture

Cherry is perhaps the most expensive of the hardwoods and a popular choice for wealthy aristocrats of yesteryear.

The grain of this wood is smooth and although the wood has a pink tinge, this is only when it is young.

In antique furniture this tinge will have darkened, starting to become red.
Cherry wood also has pitch pockets.

This is effectively black flecks caused by minerals, they will be dotted throughout the wood randomly.


Antique Furniture

Pine is a softwood but was commonly used to make furniture in the past and today. It’s easy to identify as it is a softwood, more likely to have experienced damage over the years.
The growth rings on pine darken as it ages.

That means antique pine furniture has very visible dark knots and rings, contrasting against a paler background.

It may be softer but, if properly prepared, it looks fantastic and is the perfect solution for rustic furniture.

All you have to do is look and feel the wood, you’ll soon know if you are looking at a genuine piece of antique furniture.

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