CLS Custom Upholsterers & Refinishers

When buying wood furniture for your home, choosing high-quality furniture that will enhance your home’s aesthetics and serve as a long-term investment is important. Quality furniture offers comfort and functionality for many years. However, there are many options today which make the selection process overwhelming. Knowing how to identify good furniture from garbage is crucial as it helps you to spend your money wisely. Keep reading to understand some significant indicators of quality furniture.

1. The Type of Wood Used

First, you need to check the type of wood used to make the furniture. This element plays a massive role in aesthetics and durability. The most common types of wood include the following:

Hardwood: This type of wood comes from slow-growing trees with broad leaves. Hardwoods are more durable and denser than other types of wood, making them suitable for furniture. Examples of hardwoods include oak, maple, cherry, and walnut. These woods are prized for their robustness and grain patterns ranging from subtle and consistent to bold and varied. Hardwood furniture is often considered an investment piece due to its longevity and the natural beauty it brings to any room.

Softwood: This type of wood comes from evergreen trees like pine, fir, and cedar. It is usually light and less expensive than hardwoods. Although not as durable as hardwood, it’s still a popular choice for furniture due to its lighter weight and ease of manipulation in crafting.

Engineered Wood: Also known as manufactured wood, this material is made by binding wood strands, fibers, or veneers with adhesives to form composite materials. Common types of manufactured wood include plywood, veneer, and particle board.

One of the ways to know the type of wood used in furniture is through weight and density. Hardwood is denser and heavier, making furniture robust and sturdy. Softwood is lighter compared to hardwood and has a lower density. When it comes to manufactured wood, weight can vary. For example, MDF is quite heavy due to its density.

Furniture made from manufactured wood can feel heavy but lacks hardwood pieces’ solid, robust feel. As each wood type has its place, it’s best to speak with a professional furniture builder or refinisher, such as CLS Custom Upholsterers & Refinishing, to discuss your intended use and your best options.

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1.    Wood Quality

High-quality furniture typically uses carefully selected wood to minimize severe imperfections such as large knots, voids, and cracks. Skilled furniture makers choose premium lumber for its strength and uniform appearance. This does not mean all knots or imperfections are bad. Tiny knots can add beauty and uniqueness without significantly affecting durability. However, the wood should generally appear clean and well-maintained.

In addition, skilled furniture makers treat these imperfections to ensure they do not affect the furniture’s durability or aesthetic appeal. For instance:

Knots may be filled with clear epoxy or another resin that stabilizes the knot and prevents it from causing cracks or splits in the future.

Voids are often filled with wood putty or similar fillers that help maintain the surface’s integrity and appearance.

Cracks can be stabilized using bowties, also known as butterfly joints, or with fillers that prevent further splitting.

2.    Inspect the Construction Technique

The next way to identify quality furniture is through joint construction. Try to avoid anything held together with nails and staples. The construction techniques used in furniture are key in determining its longevity and overall quality. Types of joints indicating the furniture has been built skillfully include the following:

Dovetail joints: Dovetail joints involve interlocking wedge-shaped tenons and mortises that resemble a dove’s tail, hence the name. These joints are exceptionally strong and resistant to being pulled apart. This type of joinery is most commonly used in drawer construction.

Mortise and Tenon Joints: They consist of a tenon (an end of wood shaped to fit) and a mortise (a cut-out hole) into which the tenon fits. The mortise and tenon joint is often used in making tables, chairs, and other types of furniture where a strong, interlocking connection is needed.

Dowel Joints: These joints use small wooden pins (dowels) fitted into corresponding holes in both pieces of wood.

Box joints: These joints are made by cutting a set of complementary rectangular cuts in two pieces of wood, which are then glued together.

Butt Joints: Although not as strong as other joints, butt joints are still commonly used in furniture construction. This most straightforward form of joinery involves joining two pieces of wood by simply “butting” them together. The stability of a butt joint will often rely on mechanical fasteners such as nails, screws, or dowels, alongside adhesives.

3.    Type of Finish

An excellent finish enhances the beauty of wooden furniture and protects it from damage and aging. High-quality furniture is usually carefully finished to ensure a smooth, clean look without rough spots. Look for a consistent, clear finish that does not obscure the wood’s natural grain. Avoid pieces with a cloudy, bubbly, or cracked finish, as these are signs of poor application that might not provide much protection to the underlying wood.

That said, remember that even high-quality furniture can show signs of wear over time. However, one of the significant advantages of quality wood furniture is its potential for refinishing. Refinishing involves stripping the old finish, sanding the wood to remove scratches or imperfections, and applying a new finish. As long as you work with qualified artisans like those from CLS Custom Upholsterers & Refinishing, you can breathe new life into a piece, making it look brand new.

As you can imagine, when you’re looking for lasting, high-quality furniture, sometimes your next piece is the one you already have. Don’t forget to consider refinishing that tried and true piece of furniture.

4.    Check for Symmetry and Proportion

Quality furniture shows attention to detail in its symmetry and proportion. Drawers, doors, and other elements should align perfectly without gaps. In addition, the legs should be evenly spaced. The design should feel balanced and proportionate, enhancing functionality and aesthetic appeal. Uneven spacing, misalignment, or disproportion are indicators of haste in the manufacturing process and likely shortcuts in other areas like materials or internal construction.

These are some of the ways you can identify quality furniture before spending your money. You can also rely on CLS Custom Upholsterers & Refinishing to provide high-quality furniture, whether a custom build or refinishing what you have. Our skilled artisans use quality materials to give you durable furniture.

Want to learn more? Contact CLS Custom Upholsterers & Refinishing today!

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