Woods & Finishes

Solid wood is what makes our products so special. We use sustainable locally harvested wood from Michigan for our handmade Amish furniture & custom cabinetry. All wood is premium quality and kiln dried. For kitchen cabinets and some pieces of furniture (at customer request), we also utilize high quality American veneered plywood to keep costs down.

We prefer to use a natural Tung oil finish and also to not to stain our pieces so that the natural beauty of the wood remains andover time, a rich, warm patina can develop. Most of our furniture and kitchens are finished with this strong lustrous oil finish consisting of 4 coats (sanded between coats) followed by a coat of beeswax. We use an oil because it actually penetrates the wood and is very water resistant. However, it does take a few months for the oil to fully cure. While oil is not as water resistant as Polyurethane, it also will never discolor, scratch, peel or chip. And an oil finish will never have to be stripped. You can refreshen any piece by just applying a little oil with a cloth rag.

We offer Polyurethane and Hand Painting as an option, however, if you do feel strongly that this is what you need. Polyurethane is a finish that coats the outside of the wood and provides protection from water. For kitchen cabinets, we recommend several coats of polyurethane gel on top of the danish oil sealer. We will stain or paint (including milk paint) furniture upon request.

For chemically sensitive people, we also offer custom oil finishes such as Tried and True.

Here are some of the species that we offer:

  • Ash – Widely known as White Ash, the heartwood of this wood has a grey-brown color while the sapwood tends to be a creamy color. Weighs 3.2 pounds per board foot and is very durable. Generally straight grained and even textured. Relatively light weight if compared to its strength – very strong and is used for a variety of sporting products, baseball bats and hockey sticks. 
  • Red Oak (quarter sawn or plain sawn) – Salmon pink color, and weighs 3 pounds per board foot.Medium open-pored texture with straight grain. Very hard, heavy and strong. Easy to work, turns, carves, and bends well. Finishing qualities are excellent. Used for interior trim, cabinets and furniture.
  • White Oak (quarter sawn or plain sawn) –May also be referred to as Chestnut Oak. Color is pale-yellow brown. This closed pore wood makes it relatively heavy, the grain is straight and it is a hard and tough timber. Working properties are fair with the slower growth northern trees easier to work. Weighs 4.2 pounds per board foot. Stains and polishes to a good finish. Used for furniture and cabinets and makes excellent paneling and flooring.
  • Walnut – Heartwood variegated dark chocolate brown, sapwood nearly white. Nice smooth grain and good character & grain. Weighs 3.75 pounds per board foot. Moderately dense and hard with excellent machining properties and finishing qualities, considered the most valuable furniture and cabinet timber in the U.S. Walnut is principally used in fine furniture, fixtures, cabinets, gun stocks, and trim.
  • Butternut – Other common names are White Walnut and Oilnut. Heartwood is light brown or fawn, sapwood is lighter. The lumber weighs 2.65 pounds per board. The texture is rather coarse and the grain straight to irregular, carrying a strong resemblance to Walnut, though it is softer and lighter in color. Butternut is easy to work, machines, turns and sands well. 
  • Regular Maple – Sapwood is light in color while the heartwood is pale brown. Hard, close grained, strong and easy to work. Similar to Hard Maple but is not so lustrous and is softer and lighter weighing 3.2 pounds board foot. Good for trim, furniture and a less expensive Birch substitute. 
  • Hard Maple (white) – Color ranges from a premium white sapwood to a brown heartwood. Also known as Rock Maple or Sugar Maple and can be tapped to extrude the sap for syrup. Weighs 4 pounds per board foot. Moderately difficult to work with as it tends to dull machinery rather quickly. Takes stain, glue and polish satisfactorily. A favorite for flooring and butcher blocks.
  • Poplar – Common name is Tulip Tree. Heartwood is a pale olive brown to yellow brown and sapwood off white. Weighs 3.2 pounds per board foot, texture is fairly fine and uniform, close and straight grained. Relatively soft with low density, glues easily, holds its place well, does not split readily, yet soft enough to be a favorite for working with hand tools. Used for trim and pieces requiring paint and enamel finishes.  Also used for Amish Buggies.
  • Pine – Eastern White (Domestic). This light colored wood resembles straw in appearance. Soft straight grained and even textured wood weighing 2.2 pounds per board foot. Works very easily with hand and machine tools. Glues well and takes stain, paint very well. 
  • Hickory – Also called Shagbark and Pignut. Heartwood is light reddish brown and the sapwood white. Hickory weighs 4.4 pounds per board foot, rough and kiln dried. Medium coarse texture and straight grain, very hard, elastic and strong. Machines, burns, and steam bends well. Used for vehicle and implement parts, cabinets, flooring and is famous for smoking meats.
  • Birch – Also called Yellow Birch, the color ranges from a light yellow sapwood to a reddish brown heartwood. Has a medium weight density with a straight and close grain. This wood weighs 3.6 pounds per board foot and is easily worked with a moderate dulling effect. 
  • Mahagony – A straight-grained, reddish-brown timber of three tropical hardwood species of the genus Swietenia. The three species are Honduran, West Indian, and Swietenia humbles from the Pacific Central America.   Mahagony is prized for its beauty, durability, and is often used for paneling, furniture and musical instruments. 


BRANCH HILL JOINERY