When it comes to buying new furniture, we all have many options to choose from. There are certain thing we have to keep in mind before going shopping – what is your style, what are your needs, what is your budget? Once you have the answers to these basic questions then you can decide on where you’d like to go looking for new furniture and what materials you are interested in. Most furniture is constructed from wood and later covered by different types of fabric.
Anyone is capable of identifying a rip, scratch or stain on a piece of furniture or even make judgements on a specific fabric or color without any special prior knowledge. But if you are looking to make an investment into a good quality piece of furniture that will last you ten plus years, then you will want to understand some basics of furniture construction so you can make an informed decision. Since most furniture is created out of wood, that’s the material that we’re going to focus on today. There’s a lot that goes into wood furniture construction, but in this post, we’ll cover the basics and share enough information so that you will feel fully prepared when you begin shopping for furniture.
Several different types of wood can be used in furniture construction for a single item – for example, solid mahogany doesn’t mean that the entire piece is made out of mahogany. For the most part, the mahogany part of the furniture will be the exposed parts, the rest of the item like the frame and parts that are not visible to the eye, could be made out of other types of materials. Wood furniture can be generally described as solid wood, wood veneer and laminate. Solid wood can be broken down into hardwood and softwood – to test the durability of this type of wood you can attempt to create a thin line with your fingernail across the wood. If it makes a visible dent, then you will know that this piece of furniture won’t stand the test of time and is not scratch resistant. Other things to look for in solid wood furniture is knots – all knots are susceptible to cracks and not durable.
Veneers are thin pieces of premium wood attached to thick plywood that are used in very high-quality furniture. Laminate can also be bonded to solid wood and may be engraved to simulate the look of a natural wood grain.
Any furniture construction that is held together by glue, staples or nails is not good quality. Dowels – wooden pegs that fit into opposite holes – are the best option, as are screws. The best joints in furniture construction are called dovetail (interlocking teeth), or mortise-and-tenon (one piece inserted into the hole of another piece).
When buying wood furniture with drawers look for thin sheets of wood in between the drawers – these panels help improve structural strength and also protect the contents within the drawer. Drawers should run smoothly on glides and have stops in place that prevent you from accidentally pulling the drawers all the way out. You will also want to make sure that the furniture doesn’t rock or wobble and that is steady on all legs – really take the time to visually and physically inspect it.
Some wood furniture may be described as having a cherry finish or maple finish, which means that the laminate used in this furniture was made to look like cherry or maple wood and has been stained using those finishes. A well-applied finish adds a beautiful finishing touch to wood furniture and increases durability. A proper finish requires several coats of oil, wax, lacquer or paint. Some furniture may use multiple layers of lacquer or paint to achieve a weathered look, while others may feature a shiny polished finish for a more contemporary design. These finishing techniques coupled with advanced furniture construction and manufacturing creates stunning wood furniture that is aesthetically pleasing as well as durable and sturdy. Good quality wood furniture, if cared for properly and maintained, could last several lifetimes.
There are numerous other things to consider when selecting new furniture for your home, but we hope that the above information about furniture construction is helpful for your next furniture shopping trip. At Nader’s we stock high-quality, durable and beautiful furniture that features all kinds of design, finishes, fabrics and materials. Whether you are looking for a one-of-a-kind accent table, an extremely comfortable sofa or a beautiful bedroom set, we’ve got you covered.