This is a handsome timber, which, after having been out of the fashion for many years, is once more considerably used, especially for drawing-room furniture. The colour is a dark red or brown, with strong markings of a much deeper tint, frequently almost black. Like mahogany, the colour deepens considerably by exposure. The chief peculiarity of this wood is its remarkable fragrance, though of late years much has been imported which has little or no smell. This 'bastard' rosewood is greatly used on cheap furniture, and is more frequently met with than the other, which is comparatively costly. So far as mere appearance is concerned, there is not much difference between the various kinds.
Birch, especially American, is a good wood, though not much used, and then chiefly for bedroom furniture. It is much more beautiful than ash, but at the moment is not so fashionable. It will, however, no doubt come in again. It is light in colour, close grained, and often very finely figured. Except in colour, it has a strong resemblance to mahogany, i.e., in the general style of the figuring, and may easily be stained to an excellent imitation of that wood.
Beech is somewhat similar in colour, but not much used except for chairs. It has a close, fine grain, with small figure, and as it can easily be ebonised or stained to imitate mahogany or rosewood, it is sometimes useful.
Satinwood is decidedly a fancy wood, and was at one time much more extensively used than at present. It is of a pale yellow colour, and often very beautifully figured. In fact, it is perhaps the most beautiful and delicate wood which is used. The markings are lustrous, and not unlike those of good Spanish mahogany. Needless to say, the best of it is cut into veneers, in which form it is generally used, and is frequently of considerable value. It is hard and close grained, and consequently susceptible of a very high degree of finish. A pleasant fragrance emanates from it, distinctly perceptible, though not so strong as that of rosewood. It is seldom used except for costly furniture, unless on small fancy articles.