Of the 32 species of trees native to the UK, three of the most recognisable and widely known are Ash, Oak and Beech. These three species are slower growing, deciduous and broad-leaved which distinguishes them from softwood trees such as pines. Hardwood is very well suited to furniture as it’s tougher than softwood, however, generally more expensive.
Beech wood is quite easy to identify – the wood is typically a pale cream colour, occasionally having a pink or brown hue. Preparing the wood with steam will often give it a more golden tone. Flatsawn surfaces tend to be very plain, while quarter-sawn surfaces exhibit a silvery fleck pattern.
Oak, on the other hand, has many different species, often introduced. Therefore, there are many colour variations seen in oak timber. To add confusion, not only dependent on the variety of oak, the growing conditions will also influence the appearance of the wood. The English Oak – also known as the European Oak – is common to most of Europe, Asia Minor and North Africa. The heartwood is a light to medium brown – often with an olive cast – though there can be a lot of variation in colour. Nearly white to light brown sapwood is not always sharply demarcated from the heartwood. Quarter-sawn sections display prominent ray fleck patterns.
Ash is a light to medium brown colour, though darker streaks can also be seen, which is sometimes sold as Olive Ash. Sapwood can be very wide and tends to be a beige or light brown, not always clearly or sharply demarcated from heartwood.
Wood used in the production of furniture can be made from simple planks of wood or, more often, made from panels or sheets. A good example of a wooden panel producer is the Ducerf Groupe, based in France, who produce the Panoplot panel, which is made of solid full stave lamellas glued together on the side and in the width. See examples here: https://en.ducerf.com/products/solid-wood-panels-panoplot