Local or Tropical Wood: Which Is the Better Alternative?

Solid wood furniture is long-lasting, making it a long-term purchase. They represent durability and are always the ultimate furniture symbol for the wealthy middle class. They also look beautiful and are, above all, natural. Wood lives. And that alone creates an atmosphere. Solid wood furniture has a positive influence on the room climate and the feeling of wellbeing in your own home.

Bedroom and living room are the most common uses. Wall units and wardrobes made of solid wood are sturdy, durable, and look good. And they are made of different materials. The main distinguishing feature is local wood, the most famous representative of the good old oak. Or whether it is more exotic tropical woods. These usually have a finer grain.

How Do Native and Tropical Woods Differ?

The most apparent difference between the types of solid wood is, of course, as the name suggests, in their origin. Domestic types of wood grow in our regions. Tropical wood comes from tropical and subtropical areas. Sounds banal, but it affects the quality and structure of the wood. Because the climate of the growth zones influences the growth of the trees.

The warm, humid climate in which tropical woods grow and the narrow tree stand ensure that the trees grow tall quickly and, particularly in the low trunk area, hardly any branches form. So the wood of the tree is grained more evenly. The structure is not interrupted by knotty eyes and is more appealing to many buyers, especially from an aesthetic perspective. The color nuances are also more emphasized under these climatic conditions.

Domestic types of wood, on the other hand, are confronted with the four seasons. On the one hand, this ensures that the growth spurts vary depending on the cold, humidity, and warmth. The result can be seen in the structure and grain of the wood. On the other hand, the trees do not grow as densely as in the tropical forest. This means that local woods develop more knots and produce better in width, not (only) in height.

Which Type of Wood Is More Robust?

Local wood is structurally more robust. This results from the stockier width in which the many native trees develop. However, the uniform climate in the tropics is a not insignificant factor that makes the woods there noticeably resistant. This is especially true for insect and fungal infestations. Because in the warm, humid climate, tropical woods defend themselves against the tiny parasites.

Domestic types of wood are sometimes softer than most tropical woods. But especially the famous German oak and the sweet chestnut can easily keep up with the tropical wood types in terms of durability and resistance. Especially when local wood has been processed accordingly, for example, with acetic acid, it is in no way inferior to the opposition and longevity of tropical wood.

Which Type of Wood Is Cheaper?

As absurd as it seems: tropical wood is usually actually cheaper than domestic wood. Paired with a beautiful color scheme, more acceptable, even grain, the price is not infrequently the decisive purchase argument.

Which Type of Wood Is More Sustainable?

The problem with teak, acacia, or mahogany furniture is that its origin cannot always be fully proven. While wood production in the USA is designed and controlled sustainably through reforestation and environmentally friendly management. According to studies, around a fifth of all tropical wood imports come into USA trade illegally. Even certificates do not guarantee sustainability.

With the purchase of solid wood furniture made from tropical wood, you risk indirectly supporting the illegal deforestation of protected areas. It has long been known what effects this logging has on flora and fauna. To counteract these machinations, one can switch to local types of wood. With furniture made of stone pine and spruce, you also have a completely natural room fragrance included.

These Are the Arguments for And Against the Types of Wood

The CO2 emissions and the largely uncontrolled extraction of tropical wood clearly speak in favor of domestic wood.

Aesthetically, buying wooden furniture is a matter of taste anyway, whereby tropical wood often wins the race with its delicate structure and more intense color nuances.

The price also speaks in favor of buying solid furniture made of tropical wood, especially if you want to purchase robust quality for a somewhat smaller budget.

Domestic wood is not to be confused with regional wood. Native only means that the wood could also grow in the USA due to the climatic conditions.

The processing options, robustness, and durability are the same for solid wood from subtropical and domestic cultivation. Even with domestic wood species, overexploitation or illegal imports cannot be completely ruled out. A few verified certificates, such as the FSC seal for tropical woods, provide some security. Also, a good sign: the seller can describe the supply chain without any gaps and knows the origin.

And so, the choice between tropical wood and local varieties is only a question of visual preference.

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