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Woods, Finishes and Paints

Wood Types

Wood Types

Some of the greatest materials for building wood furniture are recycled and repurposed pieces, and I will always look to use those first.

Secondly, I strive to find locally sourced materials.

It may not always work out and I will never sacrifice on building quality, but I take pride in giving new life to wood and making sustainable choices.

These are the woods I most commonly work. If you were looking to use a particular species of wood I most likely can find it so please let me know.


Ash is a light colored, smooth-grained hardwood that grows throughout the east coast and parts of Canada. With its typical straight grain and beige-to-light-brown hue, ash wood is a very attractive option for fine furniture. It’s one of the most durable varieties and has an extensive history in American furniture making. It is durable, lightweight, aesthetically pleasing, and absorbs wood stains well. Its characteristics as a lightweight and shock-resistant wood have made it a favorite for baseball bats, tool handles, and restaurant furniture. Today ash is making a splash in home furnishings, particularly in the mid-century modern style.


Fraxinus, the scientific name for ash, is a member of the olive tree family. There are dozens of varieties of ash trees native throughout North America. White ash and green ash are the most prevalent. Both grow abundantly in Vermont, as does black ash.

Characteristics of Ash Wood


Maple wood is incredibly strong, looks great, and stains nicely. Woodworkers and furniture aficionados gravitate towards maple for its light, creamy color, smooth grain pattern, and impressive durability.

Although there are dozens of species of maple trees around the globe, the species most common among American woodworkers is Hard Maple (aka Sugar Maple or Rock Maple).

Sugar maple trees grow abundantly in Vermont and throughout the Northern US and Canada and are also the source of maple sap, the sole ingredient in pure maple syrup.


Natural cherry wood is perhaps the most prized furniture hardwood in America. Easily our most popular seller, cherry is a smooth-grained, reddish-brown hardwood that comes from the American Black Cherry fruit tree.

Cherry is renowned among woodworkers and furniture aficionados for its color and aging process. It starts out a light pink and darkens over time to a rich reddish hue with a lustrous patina.

Characteristics of Maple Wood

Characteristics of Cherry Wood


Black walnut wood is dark, hard, dense and tight-grained. It's prized by woodworkers for its strength, grain and color. It polishes to a very smooth finish, and the color ranges from creamy white in the sapwood to a dark chocolate in the heartwood.

Over the years, natural walnut wood develops a lustrous patina. As the only dark-brown domestic wood species, it has a large following of devoted woodworkers and fine furniture aficionados. Walnut is also found in upscale cabinets, natural wood flooring, kitchen accessories, gunstocks, and more.

Although there are many varieties of walnut trees, just a handful are native to North America. Of them, the Eastern Black Walnut, also called the American Black Walnut or American Walnut, is the one typically used for woodworking.

Characteristics of Walnut Wood

Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed Wood
I want you to enjoy the warmth and beauty that comes with using reclaimed wood and other natural products in your home.  Before using the product, here are few items that you should be aware of.
Variation and Defects

Reclaimed barn wood is a natural product and may contain certain aged characteristics including but not limited to: color variation, nail holes, mortise holes, insect holes, livestock cribbing (chewing), staining, tapering, wane (not squared) etc.  Due to the technology of the time, reclaimed wood dimensions are not as exact as in modern day milled lumber. The dimensions can vary.  Appearances of reclaimed wood can also vary from board to board even if it is from the same lot.  If a customer was shown a sample, that sample was used to demonstrate the general type and quality of the products.  These samples do not represent that the products would necessarily conform to the sample.  “Decorative” reclaimed wood products have not been certified as structurally sound by a certified grader. 

Wood Species

Pete Morris Furniture cannot guarantee the species of any of the wood we offer for sale.  I can give you my “best guess”, but this by no means guarantees the species of a particular piece of wood.

Warping and Cupping

Reclaimed wood can be susceptible to curling upward from the middle (cupping) or curling up from the ends (warping).  Cupping is extremely hard and expensive to fix, which is why many are left with the high cost of replacing the wood all together.

Insects and Other Objects

Reclaimed wood comes from hay and livestock barns that were built many years ago and over that period of time, they have been exposed to a variety of things therefore the possibility of insects, decay, or fungus can exist.  The reclaimed wood also comes from buildings that have been disassembled.  Therefore, there exists the possibility of nails and other objects in the wood, both metallic and non-metallic.  Pete Morris Furniture sanitizes, disinfects, sands and safety checks each piece of barnwood that comes into the shop. I do not guarantee or warranty against any insect habitation, decay, fungus or object that could remain in the barnwood. 

Painted Reclaimed Wood
Image by Jan Antonin Kolar

Red barns were typically painted with ferrous oxide and linseed oil. Paint used on houses prior to 1978 was known to be lead-based.  It is unknown whether or not past barn owners used lead based house paint on the barn wood.  I recommend that you exercise caution if using painted reclaimed wood in a common area especially with children. 

Regularly Used Stains

Dark Walnut
Weathered Oak
Early American
True Black


To see all available stains, check out the Minwax palette here
Any color can be ordered for an additional fee.

Regularly Used Paints


Old White
Duck Egg Blue
Athenian Black
Emperor's Silk
Check out the wide array of other colors available from Annie Sloan that can be ordered for an additional fee.

Lead Time

Custom pieces take an average of 4-6 weeks to design and build, with expected variance based on the size of the project, material availability, and my current volume. As the name suggests, Pete Morris Furniture is a one-man show, and I put meticulous detail into every cut, sand and stain with my own two hands. Like a fine wine, a great table takes time!


Delivery of furniture pieces is complimentary for any addresses within 20 miles of my shop in Rowley, MA. Deliveries beyond that radius will be priced based on distance.


I stand behind everything I make! If you are not fully satisfied with one of my products at the time that you receive it, you may return it to me for a replacement or refund within 30 days of your order date.

  • To be eligible for a return, your item must be unused and in its original packaging.

  • Return shipping costs are not covered.

  • If an item is damaged, please shoot me an email with photos so I can take care of you right away.


In order for you to receive your refund back to your original payment method, I must receive your items within 30 days of your order date. Once I receive your item(s), please allow 3-5 working days for me to process your refund. All refunds will be credited back to your initial form of payment.

I only accept returns for products purchased directly from

Production & Delivery
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