What Woods Make Up Inexpensive Asian Furniture?

What Woods Make Up Inexpensive Asian Furniture?

I see a lot of furniture, especially tables and chairs, made from wood that has the appearance of oak. The furniture is usually stamped “made in Malaysia” or “made in Thailand.” I don’t think it is bamboo. So the question is: what wood (or woods) are predominantly used in relatively inexpensive furniture that comes from the Pacific Rim? – Chuck Paukert 

Chris Marshall: It’s an interesting question, Chuck, but one I really can’t answer with certainty. A lumber supplier I used to buy from who also was in the veneer business once told me that the best logs on the market often are sold to China. Those become premium veneer that’s then sold, to some extent, back to the U.S. market. How’s that for one of the ironies of our times? So, while I don’t imagine that much inexpensive Asian furniture is made of U.S. lumber, it probably isn’t out of the question. Maybe what you are seeing actually IS oak!

I will venture a guess that bargain furniture started out as some of the least expensive woods that could be purchased for the purpose. Besides volume sales, how else would the manufacturers make money if not by using the most economical materials possible, right? And those woods probably vary among many species and origins, depending on commodity and demand.

Perhaps other readers who are more “in the know” about mass-marketed Asian furniture can share some wood species options that often make the “short list” for these products. I’d find that interesting, right along with you.

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