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This secondary wood, as it's known, is most commonly pine or oak. Used during the 18th century and Regency periods, nearly always as a veneer. Brownish-whitish wood used in the solid from the 17th century for the frames of upholstered furniture, because it doesn't split when tacked. Ranges in tone from light to dark brown, much used during the 18th century for French provincial furniture made in the solid. A dark, boldly figured wood, almost black in parts, with pale striations, used mainly as a veneer for refined furniture of the Regency period. Dense, heavy, almost black wood, often used as a contrasting inlay in marquetry veneering. Light brown wood, popular for Windsor chairs and provincial English furniture. Rich golden-brown or red-brown wood, which became popular in England c.1730.

Listed below are examples of the most frequently seen types of woods used for antique furniture. Also popular during the 18th and 19th centuries as a base for painted furniture. Orange-brown wood popular for American Queen Anne and Chippendale furniture. There are several types of mahogany - San Domingan, Cuban, Honduras and Spanish are most common. Deep, rich, chocolate-brown or pale golden-brown coarse-grained wood used predominantly in Britain from Middle Ages to late 17th century.

Also used as a secondary wood on good-quality furniture. Soft, pale, honey-coloured wood used in England and America as a secondary timber for drawer linings, and in the 19th century for inexpensive furniture (which was often painted). Highly figured dark red-brown wood with blackish streaks.

Of all the categories of antiques you can collect, furniture is among the most popular and practical.

Many pieces offer you the alternative of using them either for their original purpose, or of adapting them to modern-day living.

Furniture differs from other types of antique in that you probably don't want to collect it by the type of object - nobody wants a room full of only chests or tables - but you may have an affinity for a particular wood or style of decoration.

If you're a fan of interior design, mid-century modern style, or just furniture in general, then chances are that you're a fan of oak furniture - and you're not alone.

Oak is one of the most popular furniture-making woods, used in creating just about every piece of furniture there is - from beds to bookshelves and back again. It's color palette, grain and texture can easily suit a wide variety of decorating aesthetics and can be found in a number of different styles.

Like other high-quality woods, if cared for properly, a well-made oak piece can last a lifetime.

But to get the most out of your next oak purchase, there are a few things you'll need to know up front.

Whatever your preference, you need to familiarise yourself with the styles, methods of construction and types of material used.

At first furniture was made from solid wood, but as cabinet-making improved, the technique of decorating furniture by applying veneers (thin sheets of wood) developed.

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