How Do I Know The Furniture I Am Buying Is Good Quality?
If you’ve made the decision to bring a piece of solid wood furniture into your house, you’re probably already aware that you’ve got to do your research if you want to avoid cheaply-made weak stand-ins.
Cheap, flatpack furniture is a good imitation of wood, but it just doesn’t offer the lifespan and quality you’d get from a genuine wood piece. At Cotswold Living, our furniture is genuine and true to description.
There’s no plywood, no chipboard, and no veneer. So, how do you know that what you’re looking at is genuine wood and not a poor imitation? There are 4 qualities we recommend you look at.
1) Real wood or cheap veneer?
A lot of furniture that looks like wood is actually wood veneer. Veneer lacks the integrity and longevity of real wood. A lot of mass-produced, flatpack furniture is wood veneer. At first glance, veneer looks like real wood, and in many instances feels like real wood, but don’t be fooled. Veneer is simply cheap chipboard, which has been given a thin “wallpaper” covering. Sometimes the wallpaper layer is a thin layer of wood, and sometimes it’s just a vinyl sheet which has been printed with a wood pattern. Giveaway signs include an obvious repetition in the so-called ‘natural’ pattern of the grain and a lack of real texture on contact. Veneer is quite a vulnerable substance, and a spilt drink, hot cup, or slight knock will peel off the almost-decorative layer to reveal the ugly chipboard core underneath.
All wood has a naturally occurring grain in it, which comes from the fibre pattern in the wood as it grows, giving each type of timber its own unique look and feel. A skilled craftsman knows how to work with the grain of the wood, to give a smooth finish to the cut surface. Working against the grain leaves a rough finish that splinters. Wood grain’s naturally-occurring pattern is difficult to replicate in both feel and appearance due to the natural variations in the conditions the tree has encountered – this is one of the first indicators of whether you’re looking at genuine wood or a cheap veneer.
Wood has a natural colour which can’t be easily replicated. There will be subtle variations throughout each piece, and of course, the grain and rings should be visible. Cheap veneer and processed timbers give themselves with their uniformity throughout.
If the furniture you’re looking at is stained or painted, it will be more difficult to work out whether you’re dealing with genuine wood or not. Always be wary if any stain or paint is thick enough that you can’t make out a natural grain or pattern.
You wouldn’t try lifting a fallen tree trunk, because it’s a heavy chunk of timber. The same goes for wood furniture. Flat pack furniture is easy to lift and produce because it’s generally made from chipboard veneer, which lacks the reassuring density of solid wood. Timber is a hard, dense material, and this should be obvious in wood furniture. This is one occasion where not being able to move a piece of furniture is a good thing.
A real piece of solid wood furniture carries expert craftsmanship, unrivalled durability and superior qualities of natural wood. Each piece is completely unique and will bring the natural charm of wood into your home for many years. At Cotswold Living, we offer quality, solid wood furniture at fantastic prices. What more could you want from a piece of furniture?