It is really not that difficult to judge quality in wood furniture, and you don’t need to be an expert to evaluate. All that you need to do is look at the material, construction and finish and take your time. This article is here to explain some terms and how to better assess the quality of your wood furniture.

Your furniture is made of different woods that can be classified as hard, soft, or engineered. The kind of wood that is used is one of the major factors that determine how long your furniture will last, and how it will age. Generally, quality furniture is made out of hard wood which comes from deciduous trees such as oak, maple, mahogany, teak, or walnut. The wood will have been air dried and then kiln dried to remove all the moisture.

Coniferous trees such as pine, fir, redwood and cedar produce what is known as soft wood. It is possible to find good quality furniture in these woods also, but since they are more prone to scratches and dents they require more care and usually don’t age as well.

Today, solid wood furniture is mainly a thing of the past. You can still find it and make it but it is much more common to find furniture that is constructed from plywood, or engineered wood. You shouldn’t necessarily dismiss this material as second rate because it provides strength, and it helps prevent splitting or warping. It can make for sturdy, long lasting and highly attractive furniture when used with high quality veneers.

What To Look For in Wood Furniture?

When it comes to wood furniture, look for corner blocks which add to the strength and stability of a piece. These are not visible from the outside, but bolt to both sides of interior corners.

A good quality desk or chest of drawers may have dust panels or thin sheets of wood between the drawers in the body of a chest or desk. This makes them stronger structurally and keeps dust away from clothing or papers.

The back panels that face the wall are usually attached with screws in order to help ensure lateral stability. The unexposed parts and backs should be sanded down smoothly and to fit well. This is an important feature given that only well constructed furniture usually has these details.

The Drawers should fit well and have smooth glides to allow you to effortlessly move a drawer in and out. Drawers should also have stops to prevent a drawer from being pulled out or falling. Glides in office furniture such as desks, file cabinets and computer desks are important to the functionality of the piece.

Doors should be able to close neatly and the hardware should be of good quality.

Testing for sturdiness by trying to rock or wiggle the piece. It should not squeak, twist or wobble. Also important is to check if it is levelled with the floor.

Quality Wood Furniture Finish

Quality wood furniture should also have a good finish. Sanding, staining, and finishing are all part of the process, which means that neglect at any of the stages can affect the overall quality of a piece.

The first step in the finishing process is sanding, and a good piece will be very smooth so that when a hand runs over it there will be no rough patches. Sanding across the wood grain will also produce unattractive results such as dark lines or scratches across the surface. Wood that is not sanded properly will not take the stain evenly. It is important to inspect the finish from different angles to check for blotchiness or scratches.

Aesthetically, a good stain enhances the natural beauty of wood and even gives color and character to the wood. It can make one wood type look like another one, or with swirls make different woods look similar. High quality staining should be even and without any dark spots.

Finishes can range from high-gloss to matte. A high quality finish is satin smooth and free from any rough spots, dust specks, or even bubbles. Look for depth and richness in the finish, which comes from several light coats of finish with sanding between the coats. A high quality piece is also finished on the back and on the underside as well to reduce the chances of swelling or shrinking.

Here are some signs of poorly finished wood:

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