Top wood choice: American cherry

Species tops maple at High Point Market

Heath E. Combs, Lindsey Strader, January 12, 2009

HIGH POINT — American cherry was the most popular choice for wood furniture at this fall's High Point Market, according to a survey by the Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc.

Knowing what happens in the finished goods marketplace helps lumber producers in purchasing tracts of timber for future production, said Tom Inman, president of AHMI, in a press release.

The survey is done annually with volunteer crews visiting showrooms to see what woods are used in the bedroom and dining room, wall unit, entertainment and home office categories. The sampling is then measured against previous markets.

The survey covered 146 companies, ranging from large to small suppliers, Inman said.

In bedroom and dining room, the use of solid woods and veneers was up 7% this year. Just over three-fourths of the bedroom and dining room furniture surveyed at market used an identifiable wood species.

Among the findings:

  • American cherry remained the species of choice with more than 12% of the bedroom and dining room furniture.
  • American maple doubled its share to 9%, moving into a tie for second with rubberwood, whose use also increased.
  • Use of American white oak grew to 7% from 3% a year ago, moving into a tie for fourth with mahogany, which remained flat at 7%.

Most American hardwood species gained in share of use, Inman said. International woods had been on the rise at recent markets but only two species, rubberwood and parawood, were up in 2008.

The survey team could not distinguish the species on about 10% of the wood bedroom and dining room furniture on display because products were painted, printed or covered with overlays or other materials.

That's down from 2007, when 17% of products were painted, printed or covered.

The survey also sorted case goods by style. Traditional styles (American, English, French and Spanish) accounted for 68% of the bedroom and dining room on display, down from 73% in 2007. Contemporary styles (just about everything else) rose to 31% from 26% the previous year.

In the home office, entertainment centers and wall unit categories, cherry was again the dominant species at market and was used on more than 22% of furniture on display, up from 20% in 2007. Red oak was second with 15% and rubberwood was third at 9%.

Maple gained share to 8%, up from 5% in 2007, while white oak ticked upward to 4%.

Contemporary designs made gains in home office, entertainment centers and wall units, rising to 26% from 14% a year earlier. Traditional maintained its dominance in the category at 74%, but that was down from 86% in 2007.

AHMI represents more than 220 hardwood lumber producers and distributors in the Appalachian Mountain region. It has been tracking wood species and style trends at the High Point Market since 1934.

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