Early Stuart or Jacobean, Cromwellian and Late Stuart Period
William and Mary Period
Queen Anne Period
Regency Period 1800 - 1830
Victorian Period 1837 - 1901
Acacia - A dull yellow-coloured hardwood with brownish markings, was occasionally used for antique inlay work towards the end of the 18th century. It is strong and durable.
Alder - A wood sometimes used in making antique chairs of common variety; it grows in England on swampy ground and is of orange yellow colour. The bark is used for dyeing.
Amaranth - see Purple Heart.
Amboyna - A West Indian wood of yellowish-brown colour, mottled with "bird's-eye" figurings, used to veneer whole surfaces such as antique table tops, and also for inlay and marquetry.
Apple - A heavy hardwood, reddish-brown in colour, with straight grain, used as a veneer and inlay for antique furniture.
Ash - A tough white wood largely used for making antique furniture, particularly chairs; it has light-brown markings and closely resembles oak in appearance and texture.
Beech - A wood much used in making articles of antique furniture, chairs being the most favored; also used for other antique articles that are afterwards painted. It is of brownish white colour, hard and solid, and has a speckled grain.
Birch - A wood once much preferred for the construction of antique bedroom furniture; when polished it closely resembles satinwood, but is of a somewhat lighter colour with a fine wave-like grain. It is a hardwood and retains its arris.
Black Bean - A richly marked Australian hardwood of rich golden colour, much used for antique panels and high-class joinery work.
Blackwood - A general title given to numerous hardwoods found in both the East and West Indies. They are all heavy, hard a decorative, and in colour range from dark brown to purplish.
Bog Oak - Oak, which has been preserved in peat, bogs, black in colour.
Box - A very hard, extremely heavy wood of pale bellow colour, with a fine regular texture, used for making flutes, etc., also for wood-engraving, the lines being as sharp as those produced on a metal plate.
Brazil Wood - A hard, heavy wood resembling mahogany, used as an antique inlay.
Calamander - A very hard wood from East India. It is hazel-brown in colour with black streaks, and was much used for making small articles of antique furniture.
Camphorwood - A wood similar to mahogany both in colour and texture, obtained from Borneo and Kenya. Antique linen and blanket chests are made, or lined with it because of its moth-resisting properties.
Canary Wood - A species of mahogany of a light yellow colour, much used for antique veneers and inlay work.
Cedar - A light, soft brown wood with straight grain but little used in antique cabinet work owing to its poor quality; it is, however, sometimes employed for drawers, linings, etc., owning to its possessing a delicate fragrance which also acts as a deterrent to insects' it is little affected by changes in temperature.
Cherry - A hardwood with reddish close grain; used for small antique articles and inlay.
Chestnut - A hard, durable white wood, somewhat resembling oak, but when polished it is not unlike satinwood; it was often used for antique rails and spars of antique chairs.
Circassian Walnut - A beautifully figures walnut used for antique veneers and obtained from Southern Europe.
Coromandel - A variety of calamander wood; much used for making antique furniture, particularly small articles such as antique writing boxes. It is hazel-brown in colour with black streaks, hard and durable and imported from the East Indies.
Cypress - A strong durable timber used in antique joinery; it has a fine, durable grain and is of a yellowish colour with reddish markings.
Deal - A general name given to the wood of fir and pine tress, straight grained, easily worked.
Degame Wood - A hardwood found in the West Indies, used for decorative purposes; it is light yellow in colour.
Ebony - A hard, close-grained wood, heavier than water, of deep black colour with dark green and brown stripes; principally used for antique veneers, but sometimes for antique articles of furniture and antique ornamental items.
Elm - A hard, compact, durable wood of light colour with pronounced grain, largely used for making antique kitchen chairs, etc.
Hare-Wood or Hair-Wood - A green-grey stained veneer of sycamore frequently used by antique cabinetmakers in the late 18th century.
Hickory - A heavy, strong tenacious wood, much used for antique carriage shafts, whip handles, antique gun stocks, etc; it has been very little used for antique furniture, being peculiarly liable to damage by worms, heat and moisture.
Holly - An ivory white, hard, fine-grained wood, with a small spotted grain, largely used for antique veneer work, in which it is some times dyed various colours.
Kauri - a light yellow straight-grained wood from New Zealand, used for bentwood work.
Kingwood - A Brazilian wood much used for antique veneer and antique inlay work; it is similar to rosewood but lighter in colour and more heavily marked in a violet shade; often used for ‘z’ bandings on satinwood veneer.
Laburnum - A hard fine-grained wood considerably used towards the end of the 17th century for antique veneers, antique inlay work, antique knife handles, etc; the colours vary considerably and are sometimes almost dark green with brown markings, and sometimes dark brown.
Larch - A tough, durable, straight-grained wood free from knots.
Lignum Vitae - A very hard, tough, close-grained wood of dark greenish-brown colour, imported from Jamaica; used for antique veneering, particularly in the 17th century, also for making antique pulleys, balls, pestles, etc.
Lime - A light, soft, but tough and durable white wood, free from knots and cross grain, much used by antique carvers.
Mahogany - The quality of mahogany varies considerably, some varieties being hard and others soft, but it is probably the most stable of woods when seasoned. The hard variety, known as "Spanish" mahogany, was generally used for antiques in England from the early 18th century. It was obtained from Jamaica, Cuba and San Domingo. Honduras mahogany is lighter in colour and softer and was much used from the late 18th century.
Maple - A compact, fine-grained white wood much employed for antique inlay and marquetry work. The famous "birds-eye" maple is obtained from the sugar maple tree; its wood is often used for antique panels, antique inlay work and picture frames and when polished is of a rich golden-brown colour, with a satiny appearance somewhat resembling sycamore.
Oak - Famous for its strength and durability. In general use for the making of antique furniture until the late 17th century. Subsequently its use was restricted to the antique carcase portions of fine veneered furniture, although it continues to be generally employed for simpler, antique country furniture.
Olive Wood - Of a greenish yellow colour with black cloudy spots and veins; often used for antique veneering and small antique ornamental articles; some bearing an inscription in Jewish characters, as travel mementoes.
Padouk - An Australian hard wood, resembles rosewood, greyer in colour.
Palisander - See Purple Heart.
Pear - A white, fairly soft, durable wood; the red pine or deal is the wood most universally used in the construction of houses, antique cheap furniture, etc.
Pitch Pine - A variety of wood imported from the United States; it is hard and of yellowish colour with brown streaks; it is not very extensively used in making antique furniture.
Plane - A white close-grained wood often used as a substitute for beech.
Plum- A heavy yellow to reddish brown wood used as inlay.
Pollard Oak and Walnut - The wood of oak and walnut trees that have been polled, cut at the top to give a bushier head. The process alters the grain.
Purple Heart, Amaranth or Palisander- A strong, durable close-grained hardwood obtained from British Guiana. Its colour varies from dark-brown to purplish-violet, with a wavy grain and distinct markings. It is used for antique veneers and other decorative purposes.
Rosewood - A hard-wood imported from India; it somewhat resembles mahogany in general appearance; the colours vary from a light to almost blackish brown, marked with streaks of dark red and black. It was chiefly used for antique veneer and antique inlay work, but during the first half of the 19th century articles were made up entirely from it. When cut it yields an agreeable smell of roses, from which it derives its name.
Sandalwood- A compact, fine-grained wood, remarkable for its fragrance, which is much disliked by insects. The wood is therefore useful in making antique workboxes and similar articles. It is imported from the East Indies, and is of a greenish-yellow colour.
Satin Walnut - The English name for American Gum; a light brown sometimes with black stripe markings, used for inexpensive antique bedroom furniture.
Satinwood – A hard, close-grained, heavy wood of yellow colour varying to a golden hue; some varieties have no markings and are quite plain, others have a distinct rippled figure, and were extensively used for antique furniture making by Adam, Hepplewhite and Sheraton. It is imported from Africa and the West Indies.
Snakewood - A rare, very hard heavy wood of yellow colour, beautifully mottled with deep brown marks, arranged regularly and bearing a slight resemblance to the markings of a snake; its scarcity makes it valuable and it is used only on very fine antique inlay work. It is obtained from Guiana.
Sycamore- A species of maple, hard and even-grained; in its natural state is of a light yellowish colour, possesses a fine "fiddleback" grain, although it is sometimes found without markings. It is often stained to a greenish grey shade, and in this state is used for veneering whole antique suites of furniture, when it is sometimes called greywood.
Teak - A heavy, very hard wood of reddish brown colour extensively used for shipbuilding; it is used for making antique furniture, sinks, etc.
Thuya - A wood occasionally used for antique inlay work, it is of a golden brown colour, figures with small "birds'-eyes" in a halo or circle.
Tulipwood - A hardwood of yellowish colour with reddish stripes; it is usually cut across the grain and used in antique veneers for banding. It loses its lustre on exposure.
Walnut - A fairly hard fine-grained wood of rich brown colour, veined and shaded with darker brown and black. Considerably used in the making of antique furniture, particularly of the Queen Anne period. English walnut is usually distinguishable by its rich golden-brown colour and straight grain, foreign varieties being of a darker colour.
Yew - A very hard, tough, pliable wood of orange red or dark brown colour, formerly much used for making bows and the backs of antique Windsor chairs.
Zebra Wood - Occasionally used for antique inlay and antique veneer work; it has pronounced markings of brown stripes on a light brown ground.