Chestnut Characteristics for Furniture

Chestnut Characteristics for Furniture

The characteristics and uses of chestnut for furniture making and home wood decor.

¶ Next in rank to oak for use in large rooms comes chestnut, which is equally attractive in fiber and markings, has a color quality that is even better, and is plentiful, easily obtained and very reasonable as to cost. While it lacks something of the stateliness and durability of oak, chestnut is even more friendly because of the mellowness and richness of its color, which under very simple treatment takes on a luminous quality that seems to fill the whole room with a soft glow like that of the misty color that is radiated from trees in autumn. Chestnut takes even more kindly than oak to the fuming process, because it contains a greater percentage of tannin and the texture of the wood itself is softer and more open. But unless a deep tone of brown is desired, fuming may be dispensed with, because the wood is so much richer in the elements from which color can be produced that a delightful effect may be obtained merely by applying a light stain of nut brown or soft gray, under which the natural color of the wood appears as an undertone.

¶ The staining is very easy to do, but care should be taken to have only a very little color in each coat because the wood takes the stain so readily that a mere trifle of superfluous color will give a thick muddy effect that destroys the clear luminous quality which is the chief charm. In the case of our Craftsman houses, we find it easier to fume chestnut woodwork than to stain it, and this process is the more to be recommended because chestnut takes the fumes of ammonia very quickly and easily. Also because of this, the ammonia should next be brushed directly on the wood, which is so porous that the moisture is sure to raise the grain to such an extent that the amount of sanding required to smooth it down again destroys the natural surface. One great advantage of chestnut, aside from its charm of color, texture and markings, is that it is very easy to work, stays in place readily and is so easy to dry that the chances of getting thoroughly dry lumber are much greater than they would be if oak were used.

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