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Furniture shopping often comes down to picking the best design. This happens when you aren’t well prepared and can’t differentiate good wood furniture from something not worth your money. That’s why it’s crucial to educate yourself and not commit the mistakes a less experienced shopper would make. Luckily, knowing how to recognize different types of wood for furniture is a skill, and it’s easy to learn. We’re here to help and teach you about high-quality wood and how you can spot it next time you go furniture shopping. So, keep reading and learn how to recognize durable wood, notice the red flags, check the build quality, and more.
What to Keep In Mind
Before we get into the details of picking furniture, you must know what to look for when you’re out there. To judge whether or not the object in front of you is high-quality wood furniture, you must check:
- Which type of wood was used in the production
- If staples or glue were used
- The attention to detail
These are some of the critical points that you should keep an eye on next you go shopping for good wood furniture.
Durable Wood Starts With a Good Source
As you probably know, furniture isn’t made only from high-quality wood. Instead, wood is separated into three classes: hard, soft, and engineered. Each of the classes has certain benefits, but the longevity of your furniture will depend on which one you choose. If you want only the best for your house, then hardwood will be the choice for you. Hardwood is produced from deciduous trees, most often oak, mahogany, cherry, walnut, maple, and birch. It’s essential to remove all the moisture to produce durable wood. So, to ensure top quality, the wood gets air-dried and kiln-dried. On the other hand, softwood is produced from coniferous trees. Most often, that is pine, redwood, and fir. Finding suitable wood furniture made from these types of trees is achievable, but is it worth it? Softwood furniture is prone to dents and scratches and requires more upkeep than hardwood products. Even though manufacturers still use different types of wood for furniture, it’s safe to say solid wood isn’t something you’ll find in the store that often. Solid wood furniture is objects made from engineered wood. Usually, this is enough for people to dismiss the material and consider it lower-grade. However, there are good sides to this type of furniture, primarily when used with veneers.
What Are Veneers and How to Recognize Them
Firstly, let’s explain what veneer is. Like with natural wood, there are different levels of quality to veneers. In its most premium versions, veneers are made from all wood materials. A thinner slice of high-quality wood is placed to a base of solid wood material. This way, you get an utterly wooden product that matches the design of hardwood but at a lower price point. However, with some production modifications, veneers can be way less premium than the one mentioned above. On the other side of the quality scale are veneers that only visually appear as wood. They are produced by taking a thin layer of paper or plastic that looks like wood and placing it on cheap materials. It’s crucial to differentiate these two types of veneers, and here’s how to do it.
- Real wood veneers will sometimes look more natural even at first glance
- Check for the consistency of the wood grain. Sometimes, veneer inconsistencies will be noticeable
- Look at the bottom and the back of the piece. Check if the wood matches the rest of the object
- Check the direction of the wood grain. It should be consistent.
The weight of the pieces will often give out its material. Non-hardwood furniture will usually be a bit lighter than what you would expect. Also, the texture of veneers will often feel differently than the natural wood.
How to Check the Build Quality of Furniture
Many people are too shy to check the quality of the furniture they’re buying. They’re uncomfortable opening the drawers, sitting on the chairs, and looking for imperfections. However, if you wish to have high-quality pieces in your home, you’re going to have to inspect them a bit.
So, the next time you’re in the store looking at furniture, make sure to check for these:
The piece feels solid
Make sure nothing wobbles or creaks before you sit on it.
Drawers with no issues
Every drawer should slide easily, with no obstructions. It should feel smooth to operate with but sturdy enough to last a long time.
A smooth finish
If you are paying the big bucks, this is something you should double-check. Everything should be even, with no bubbles, discolorations, and any other shortcomings.
Make sure the legs aren’t glued or nailed into the table.
Check the back
Check the entire piece before you buy it. Lower-grade furniture may have poorly finished backsides or areas that aren’t that visible at first glance.
It should feel heavy
If possible, pick up the piece see how it feels. Hardwood furniture should feel substantial.
High-Quality Furniture Should Have a Perfect Finish
There are three steps in the finishing touches of making furniture. Sanding, staining, and finishing are all crucial in producing high-quality pieces. The first step is the sanding. Of course, you want to be able to run your hand over the wood and have it feel smooth and natural. That’s what proper sanding will give you – a piece with no rough patches. However, sanding the wood the wrong way will do more harm than good. If you do it across the grain, you may cause scratches or dark lines on the surface. And, if you do a poor job with the sanding, the steps that follow won’t look that good either. Poor staining is easier to notice than any other detail. You’ll see dark spots and uneven tones throughout the wood, and the whole piece will feel unsettling. The finish is the cherry on top. Whether you’re going for glossy or matte, doing a proper job with this step will determine the overall look of your piece. Ensure there are no bubbles, rough spots, and dust if you’re looking for a good finish.
Furniture Red Flags
Certain signs will let you know you should stay away from a piece as soon as you notice them. Check out what they are:
- Softwood that’s easily scratchable
- Visible glue and staples
- Uneven finishes
- Cracks in the wood
High-quality wood shouldn’t only look good. It should be sturdy, reliable, and long-lasting. Since carpenters use different types of wood for furniture nowadays, it isn’t that easy to differentiate the good from the bad. With some of our advice in mind, choosing the pieces for your home will come a bit simpler.
Find the Best Furniture
If you need more advice or inspiration for finding new furniture, visit our website and check out our designs. Or reach out to our team and see if their ideas can help you with remodeling.
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