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Smart Ways to Judge Quality in Wooden Furniture

Posted by Melodyhome on January 16, 2015 03:52 PM
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Are you fond of wooden furniture? Most of the furniture has something to do with wood. Selecting high quality with good design wooden furniture can be baffling. Not to mention the various kinds of woods, there are different styles, construction techniques. In fact, you will feel not difficult at all to judge the quality for wood furniture after reading this article.

Why choose wooden furniture?

Though wooden furniture is a little bit expensive compared with the metal or plastic ones, they have many advantages that worth you to invest.

Natural beauty

Why wooden furniture is so popular? The foremost reason for this is because of its natural beauty. Its wooden color makes us think of the nature, which gives us an original and safe environmental protection feeling. Its glamorous grain and texture gift the wooden furniture new meaning.

Long service life

This is the second important reason for choosing wooden furniture. The wooden furniture has a longer service life than others as long as you choose the right wood. Normally, there are two types of wood: soft and hard. Wood becomes more durable with age. Therefore, the hard wood furniture is the best choice for you if you want your furniture to last long. During the usage, it might suffer dents or scratches. But it does not affect the furniture and has ways to repair them. Learn the repair ways, click here.

Comfort and affordable

Compared to other furniture, the wooden furniture offers more support and comfort. From one side, the wooden furniture is not fragile so that you do not need to consider its weight capability. From another side, no harmful chemical elements or formaldehyde in the wooden furniture, it can be used for all ages from the baby to the old. Though it is a little bit expensive, from a long run, it is hard to broken so that you can keep it for years!

How to judge quality in wooden furniture?

In this article, i mainly introduce 3 aspects from the wood type to the quality finish to distinguish the good quality wooden furniture from the inferior ones. I bet you will benefit from it a lot.

How to judge quality in wooden furniture from the wood types?

When we decide to choose wooden furniture, the first step is to choose the type of wood.  The type of wood used is as important as the overall look for the wood furniture. There are so many kinds of types for the wood. Which type should we choose? Then, you should know the characteristics of the most frequently used wood type first.

Some of the popular hardwood

Oak: Oak is durable and has fine bending qualities, which is often used for trimming, framing in kitchens, floors, and cabinets. It normally has two types: the red and the white. Red oak is more common and has a slight pink tint. It is quite porous so that it can be only used for indoors. It is an excellent furniture wood, and probably the lowest cost wood for most projects.
White oak is less porous and less pink, and can be used for both outdoor projects and indoor furniture.

Mahogany: it has reddish brown color, even texture, medium hardness, easy to carve and fine durable and resistance ability, which is often used veneers and carved wood pieces. It is the inexpensive wood that can be stained to make it looks like expensive woods.

Cherry: it has rich color, moderate hardness and good shock and wear resistance, which is extensively used in cabinet making, boat trim and solid furniture handles.

Walnut: it is comparatively expensive and easy to work with as well as has greater strength, stability and good shock resistance. It can be carved as well. Walnut is often used for veneers, paneling and solid furniture 

Teak: it is often used in fine furniture, paneling, doors and window framing and flooring. It is a hard and moister resistance wood, which resists warping and cracking.

Ash: Ash is often used in constructing bentwood chairs, baseball bats as well as handles of tools. Sometimes it is used for residential wood trim or commercial unpainted furniture. It has pleasant contracting color, heavy weight and straight grain with open pores. The obvious characteristics are hard, strong, and heavy with good shock resistance. It is relatively inexpensive.

Types of softwoods
it is easy to work with and has uniform texture, light weight, which is widely used in house construction, paneling and molding

Cedar: it is reddish wood with sweet odor and resistant to decay, easy to work with. Cedar is used in chest making, closet lining and venetian blinds.

Other types of engineered woods
MDF (medium density fibre board):
it is made from the powdered wood bonded with glue and compressed to form the sheets. It is very soft and easy to work with, which is used widely for interior projects such as cupboard and shelving.

To learn more detail information about the wood types here. You may have a check that what type of wood of your wood furniture is made from.

How to judge the quality of the wooden furniture from the construction?

After learning the type of wood that the furniture is made from, the most important part comes. That is, how to judge the quality of the wood furniture from the appearance? In fact, it is easy to recognize. The most important two aspects are: the method of the joining parts of the wood furniture and the sturdiness of the wood furniture.

The method of joining parts of the wood furniture:All the furniture is hard to be finished in one piece of wood. That is to say, almost all the wood furniture has joints. For finished wood products, all the joining is glued together. For quality, all the joints should be tight and closely linked without any glue showing. How to put all the parts together are essentially important to the durability as well as the appearance. Commonly there are 9 methods to put the wood board together.
Tongue and groove joints: it is composed of a lip and groove that extends the length of the two boards.

Rabbeted and butted joints: These kinds of joints are often used in expensive furniture. The rabbeted joint has a groove cut from the edge of one piece with the end of the other piece joined to the cut out space. A butted joint consists of two boards placed at right angles, glued and stapled. To reinforce, sometimes, the screws or bolts and boards are added. 

The mortise and tenon joints: this type of joints is used to join the main frame such as the legs to the seat. And it is very strong. It is made up by a socket and projection (made of two different pieces of wood). The projection fits into the socket making the joint.

The doweled joints: it is often used to join the chair arms and rungs to the furniture. It is stronger than the mortise and tenon joint.It is formed by a wooden pin and a hole. Wooden pin that fits into a hole drilled in the wood. Once glued, the compressed dowel swells inside the joint.

Corner-blocked joints: add strength to wherever rigidity is important. They are placed on the underside of the furniture. It has dadoed corner blocks and glued corner blocks. Dadoed corner blocks mean that the reinforcement wood pieces interlock with the seat frame. For the cheap furniture, they just have corner blocks glued into the furniture frame rather than dadoed.

Bolted joints: it is used to join different pieces of self-locking wood furniture and hidden from sight. It is very durable if not work loose.

Screwed, glued, and stapled joints: they are commonly used in furniture. The stapled joints are the cheapest one. Problems with staples are work loose and rust. And the screwed joints are better than the stapled joints.

Check the sturdiness of the wood furniture

The sturdiness is a very important consideration when choosing wooden furniture, especially for chairs and benches. It is the factor to determine the service life of the furniture. Here are some tricks to get an indication of sturdiness.

1. Every outside rung or post should project all the way through the seat to the under side of the seat so that the rungs or posts get less opportunity to break off.
2. The more the post and spindles have for the furniture, the greater the strength of the furniture, especially for the chairs.
3. The chair legs should have stretcher bars and rungs to make the chair stronger.  Or other types of reinforcements are work as well.
4. Have something on the bottom of the legs to protect the floor.
5. Put pressure on the furniture frame, if there are noises, it may break in a short time.
6. Rock or jostle the furniture. It should not squeak, twist or wobble. Make sure it is level with the floor.

How to judge the quality of the wooden furniture from A quality finish ?

Quality wood furniture has a good finish without doubt. The finish procedures often have three steps: sanding, finishing and finishing. If you neglect any one of the step, it may affect the overall quality of the furniture.

Sanding: it is the first and most important step in the tree. If the first step is not done well, the stain and finish will get bad points no matter how many efforts you put. To check for this, view the finish from different angles with lighting reflecting to the surface. If you found any dark lines, white dots, stains or scars, the furniture may have not been sanded smooth enough.

Staining: a good stain can enhance the natural beauty of wood. To evaluate the quality of staining, check the surface. For the good stain, the stain is evenly applied and dark spots are not seen. This matters not so much to the quality as long as you feel good about the furniture.

Finishing: a high quality finish is satiny smooth and free of rough spots, dust speckles or bubbles. The back and the underside should be taken into evaluation as well so that it can reduce the chances of swelling or shrinking.

Questions for quality check

Before deciding wood furniture, try to ask yourself the following question.
1. Is the wood furniture made from hardwood or not?
2. Are the joints tightly linked?
3. Are the joint using the cheapest joining method among the 9 ones?
4. Does the furniture still feel sturdy when put pressure on it?
5. Is the legs level with the floor?
6. how’s the sanding, stain and finish?

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