Skip to content

Choosing your wood type

21 December 2017

At Tom Raffield we work with three main types of wood for our products - ash, oak and walnut - each with their own individual character and quality. Read our guide to choosing the best finish to complement your home.

Urchin Cluster
Urchin in Walnut, Small Urchin in Oak, Large Urchin in Ash.

Diverse, durable, and with an enduring beauty; wood is the perfect natural material for our product range. We use three types of sustainably sourced timber for our lighting - ash, oak and walnut - and solid oak or ash for our furniture. You can request a wood sample if you'd like to compare and contrast the suitability of each finish for your home.

Our design and workshop teams have learnt through trial and error which woods respond well to the ecologically sound process of steam bending and temperate hardwoods lend themselves naturally to steam bending. Sycamore, beech, cherry, hazel and birch have all been used in the past but ultimately ash, oak and walnut are the trio of woods around which our lighting and furniture is based.

Because of the steam bent nature of many of our furniture and lighting pieces it is important that they are stored or used in dry environments (if kept in storage, climate controlled storage is essential) to ensure their longevity. For more tips on looking after your Tom Raffield product and prolonging its life for future generations, please read our product care guide.

Beyond that it's really a matter of how the different woods effect the light and how they work within your individual space.


Ash is our palest wood and when cut thinly light emanates through the grain producing an intense glow. It has a slightly narrower grain compared to oak but like oak will darken gradually over time.


Oak is our mid-colour wood and when illuminated produces a striking contrast between the inner golden glow and darker wood outside. Used in quality furniture production it fits into many other rooms and decoration schemes. Over time sunlight will cause oak to darken and mellow. Both oak and ash are readily available in the UK and grow in the woodland around us. Most of our ash and oak is native and sourced in the UK and Cornwall, with some coming from Europe.


Walnut is our darkest wood. When illuminated it turns a rich golden colour, contrasting with the silhouetted dark exterior and producing stunning warmth and shadows. 

Posted: 21.12.17
Updated: 22.01.18

Items added to basket