You you’re looking for new wood furniture, you will find practically countless options at varying prices. But how to identify high-quality wood furniture? The price may not always be your best guide to quality. It is not difficult to judge quality in wood furniture, and you don’t need to be an expert to do so. Have a good look at the material, the construction and the finish of the furniture.
The kind of wood, used for the construction of the furniture is what determines the quality. High-quality wood furniture will last longer. The different kinds of woods used can be classified as hard, soft and engineered. Usually, high-quality wood furniture in made from deciduous trees like oak, maple, mahogany, teak, walnut, cherry and birch. The wood material is first air dried and then kiln dried to remove all the moisture.
Soft wood material comes from coniferous trees like pine, fir, redwood and cedar. You can find pretty good quality wood furniture, made from soft wood, but since they tend to scratch and dent easier, they require more care.
Today, furniture made from solid wood are not as common as they used to be. Modern furniture are mainly constructed from plywood, or engineered wood. You shouldn’t necessarily dismiss this material as second rate. It provides strength and helps prevent splitting or warping. A lot of sturdy, long-lasting and highly attractive furniture pieces are made with high-quality veneers.
The beauty, functionality and durability of furniture depend on the way they’re constructed. The joinery and sturdiness of a furniture piece can tell you a great deal about its quality. Mortise and tenon, and dovetails are two of the oldest ways of putting together furniture. These also make for the strongest and best looking joints. Good joints can also have dowels or screws, but will never be stapled. Any glue used will not show outside the joint.
When you’re looking for high-quality wood furniture, check out if there are corner blocks, which add to the strength and stability of a furniture piece. They will not be visible from the outside, but bolt to both sides of interior corners.
A high-quality desk or chest of drawers may also have dust panels or thin sheets of wood between drawers in the body of the piece. It will make the furniture structurally stronger and keep dust away from clothing or papers.
Back panels that face the wall are normally attached with screws to help ensure lateral stability. Backs and unexposed parts should be sanded smooth and well fitted. This important feature is characteristic to well constructed, high-quality furniture pieces.
When you’re looking for high-quality wood furniture, make sure drawers fit well and have glides to allow you to effortlessly move a drawer in and out of its station. There should also be stops, which prevent a drawer from being pulled out or falling. If you’re looking for office furniture like desks, file cabinets and computer armoires, keep in mind that glides are important to the functionality of the piece. Doors should close neatly and be flush with the cabinet front, and the hardware should be of good quality. To test for sturdiness, rock or jostle the piece. It should not squeak, twist or wobble.
High-quality wood furniture will also have a good finish. The first step in the finishing process is sanding. A high-quality wood furniture piece should be smooth, with no rough patches. Inspect the finish from different angles to check for blotchiness or scratches.
The next step of the finishing process is staining. This should enhance the natural beauty of the wood material and add color and character to the wood. Staining can make one wood type look like another one, or make different woods look similar. High-quality staining is even, with no dark spots. All sides and the ends of the furniture piece should be the same tone.
A high quality finish is smooth, with no rough spots, dust specks or bubbles. If you want to buy high-quality wood furniture, look for depth and richness in the finish, which comes from several light coats of finish with sanding between the coats. The back and the underside of the piece should also have a finish to reduce the chances of swelling or shrinking.