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Three hardwoods

The three timbers at the heart of the exhibition all grow abundantly in American hardwood forests, making up a total of 40% of the forest volume between them, but are currently underused in the design sector. Each plays a key role in the forest ecosystem, and all contribute significantly to its diversity and sustainability.

In addition to being easily renewable and serving as a natural carbon store, the woods are also strong, tactile, versatile, and aesthetically appealing – but all have their own distinctive traits and features.

American red oak 

Quercus rubra

American red oak is an attractive, open-grained, flexible wood and the most widespread hardwood in America’s forests. A tough, hard-wearing timber with excellent steam bending properties that is easy to finish and stain, making it an ideal choice for furniture and interiors. 

Find out more about red oak here

American maple

Acer saccharum

A close cousin of European maple and sycamore, American maple is a cold-climate species favouring the northern states. A predominantly creamy-white, hard-wearing timber that can be machined and polished to a very smooth finish making it a favourite for sports floors across the world. It is also the primary source of maple syrup.

Find out more about maple here

American cherry 

Prunus serotina

American cherry varies in colour from pink to reddish brown, and will darken on exposure to light. It is easily machined and produces a smooth glassy finish when sanded and polished. This makes it well suited to turning, panelling and veneer applications, and its acoustic properties mean it is ideal for musical instruments and auditoria.

Find out more about cherry here