Categories of Wood for Handicraft Furniture in India: Hardwood and Softwood Specialization

Wood – the most popular type of material used in the furniture industry. Any type of Wood can be used for making furniture and other articles. But each of its types has its unique characteristics designs, warmth, comfort, finish type, shapes and that’s why different woods are chosen for making different furniture as per their characteristics.

India has a big wood market. Wooden products and raw wood both have a huge demand for both export and import areas. It is used in furniture industries, handicraft sectors, art sector, paper industries, and many others but is mostly needed for handicraft industries.

Wood has approx. 54% share in India handicraft product market. Indian handicraft industries share is about 43% of the country’s economy from other businesses. If you see the commercial outlook of Indian handicraft Industries you will wonder those products whether it is furniture, gift articles, paintings, home decors, sculptures, pets products, kids items all have a profitable share in the global handicraft business.

Wooden products are generally categorized into two types:


Hardwood and Softwood Specialization:

Hardwood came from evergreen and deciduous forests that are broadleaf trees.

Evergreen Forest: In evergreen forest trees there is no particular season to drop their leaves so they remain a green full year and produce seeds. They grow in a tropical climate. These trees are generally found in areas whereas rainfall is maximum (about more than 200cm) like West Bengal, Meghalaya in India. ‘Sunderban’ forest is known as Evergreen forests situated in West Bengal.

They came from those trees that are dense and can survive years so the products from these can also survive long years. They are extremely dark in color finish and expensive but extremely popular in furniture industries.

Wood types available from these are ebony, mahogany rubber, rosewood, etc.

Deciduous forest: Hardwood Forest

Deciduous forests are those in which trees drop their leaves season-wise. They are found in temperate climates. They have flat leaves that require more water. These are grown in areas where rainfall is less than 200cm like Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, etc. India. These Forests are called Monsoon Forest. ‘Anaimalai Hills’, Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu India is a popular tropical deciduous forest in India.

Common types got from them are oak, maple, bamboo, sal, teak, Sheesham, sandalwood, etc. They survive years. These trees have a large lifecycle. Hence, the items are also long-lasting.

Coniferous Forest: Softwood Forest

Softwood came from conifer trees that have needle shapes and are found in high-altitude areas which remain surrounded by snow all over the years. These trees are mainly grown in the cold area and adapt to that climate. These trees do not produce seeds and these are fast-growing trees.

Conifer trees generally grow in the northern hemisphere. They are adapted to survive in cold weather and acidic soil. Conifer trees do not produce flowers on trees they are needle-like. They are coniferous as cone bearers. The wood of conifer trees is not dense so they are light in color and finish. They are soft and products made by these cannot survive long years.

Conifer types  are pine, cedar, larch, spruce, fir, etc. which are popular for gift articles.

Categories of HandiCraft Wood:

Examples of HandiCraft Wood Categories:


Hardwoods are Mahogany, walnut, oak, ash, teak, maple, cherry, etc.


Ash furniture has an excellent bending capacity. It is used for making backrest chairs. It is hardwood and light brown in color and straight grain texture.


Oak is a very famous wooden type. it is heavy and tough. It is of two type’s white oak which has grey or brown shades and red oak which is reddish in color.


Mahagony is expensive hardwood and a long survival wood. It is of deep red-brown color and has tree grain texture. It is used for making veneers wood type.


Maple wood is heavier and durable. It is a long-lasting wood type and also moisture resistant. It is pale brown in color and has curls and twists in a texture of the wood grain.


It is hardwood and very heavy in weight and robust wood. It is chocolate brown in color and has a straight grain texture and is used for making home decor products.


Teak is the most popular wood type found in India. It is heavy strong robust in nature. It has a color range from yellow to dark brown and the texture is straight grain lines. Most of the Indian furniture is made of teak wood. It is heavily exported outside India.


Softwoods are pine, spruce, cedar, fir, larch, etc.


It is a very popular wood in the Indian furniture market because it is the cheapest than the easily available lightweight and has a pale light brown finish type. This wood can easily blend and be combined with other wood. It is majorly used to make home furnishing and decor items.


Birchwood is categorized as softwood. But they are strong and heavy just like hardwood. It is reddish-brown in color. It is used for making a bend and turned part of the furniture to give support to the main furniture item also used for making frames.


Cedar is Softwood. It is light in weight and has a light red-brown in color. It is popular for making wooden drawers, chests, boxes, storage, and closets.


Spruce is a robust and durable wood and hence needs a good finish and polish. It is a low resistance to decay. It is light in weight, used for making parts and pieces of ships, aircraft, cranes, and big ladders.

Rosewood- Sheesham:

Rosewood is mainly called Sheesham in India and is mainly popular in the furniture industry. This is generally grown in the tropical deciduous forest yet softwood. It is dark and reddish-brown in color. It has a closed-grain texture and is very hard to cut and so makes furniture hard and long-lasting. Rosewood is also used in making musical instruments like pianos, guitars. It is also used in paper industries for making papers sheets.

Manufactured woods:

Manufactured woods are fibreboard, chipboard, plywood having different densities. Following are the types of manufactured woods which are also called supporting woods. These are LDF, MDF, HDF, chipboard, plywood, and fiberboard.


Fibreboard is cheap and inexpensive wood that is made from a combination of hard and softwoods and then mixed with chips, resins, heat to make it dense wood which is used as supported wood in many home decor items.

Types of Fibreboard:

  • LDF – Low-Density fibreboard
  • MDF – Medium Density Fibreboard
  • HDF – High-Density fibreboard

Fibreboard cannot be used outside because they are absorbed in water and get stale. HDF is popular in the construction industry. It is robust and not easily cracks or splits. It is made of explode fibers of wood which is highly compressed.

HDF- High-Density fibreboard:

High-density fibreboard is engineered wood. It is extracted from chips and waste materials and grains. It is best used in supporting items and also used in flooring. Its density is 800/m3-1040kg/m3.

MDF – Medium Density Fibreboard:

MDF is supported by wood but it is strong and known for its durability and strength. It is highly used in the furniture and handicraft industries. Many wooden products like Almira, wardrobes, beds, have MDF used in it. It has a glossy and classy finish and wood grain texture generally used for wooden flooring. This has also engineered product having a density between 500-600 kg/m3.

It is generally used for making cabinets, wooden wall panels, shelves, storage units, doors also used in acoustic loudspeakers.


Particleboard is made from small waste particle-like wood grain, which is left after cutting wood also called chips. These waste materials of wood are then combined and pasted and made a great hard and dense wood used for making stylish furniture.


Ply‘ is a very known term for people. It is a very popular and robust manufactured wood generally used for making small and regular products like a table, chair, bed, doors, and chest of drawers. It is built from layers of veneers that are bonded to create a flat smooth wooden sheet.


The veneer is a thin layer of wood that is directly cut from the tree. It is not solid wood yet it is strong and dense and expensive and this has a lustrous finish type. It is mixed with MDF, LDF, and HDF to make great manufactured woods.

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  • Nice article