How To Buy Wooden Furniture That Lasts

Do you know what makes for a strong, long-lasting piece of wooden furniture? Pieces of furniture like beds, couches, dining tables etc., are usually things that you will not replace in a hurry and are expensive to boot. If you are in the market for new furniture, opt for a mix of looks and durability, so that your furniture gives you years of use without falling apart. Well constructed furniture, with attention to detailing and quality can give you years of service.

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Is this table actually made of wood?

So how do you tell if a piece of furniture will last or fall apart? The composition of a piece tells the tale of its quality, here's what you should look for.

Composition

When picking a piece of wooden furniture, the first check that you should actually make is, is it actually solid wood? You'll be surprised! What looks like solid wood can be just a thin sheet of veneer pasted on to low quality particle or fiber board. Most furniture will have an information and care sheet attached, this is a goldmine of information about the construction of the piece in question, and if there isn't one that in itself tells you a lot. Never take the word of an over eager salesman, do your own checking and finding. 

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Details of knots in wooden floor boards

Even when a piece is solid wood, some woods are more desirable than others, and visible knots in the wood are susceptible to cracks so they should be avoided. Ply board is a more reasonable alternative to solid wood but choose ply-board furniture where the ply has at least 9 layers to max out on durability.

Workmanship

The way that a piece of furniture is constructed will play a large role in how long it will last! Good craftsmanship can ensure that ply furniture outlasts a piece that may be built with solid wood but is constructed poorly. Joints in your furniture determine its quality. Any piece of furniture that is held together with large nails, stapling or glue is shoddy to look at as well as shoddily constructed.

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Detail of dovetailing on a drawer joint

Signs to look for that hint of well constructed pieces with attention to good workmanship are details like dove-tailing on drawers and joints, no visible glue or large nails, thickness of the ply or wood used etc. A well built piece of furniture will come together out of quality elements, screws will be used versus nails, and due attention will be paid to the process of building it, rather than just knocking an average piece together quickly.

Physical Check

Lastly, check for visual elements, other than scratches and stains, for instance, all legs of any piece of furniture should rest firmly on the ground. An easy way to check if a piece is sitting well on the floor is to try and rock it by pressing one corner of the piece of furniture firmly. If it rocks, it means that it is constructed poorly and does not rest firmly on the floor, and will wobble and warp later. Also the piece should not squeak, or make a noise if you sit on it or press a corner, as this means that the joints are going to give out eventually.

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Firmly press one corner of a table to see if it rocks

Armed with this information, make an informed choice when buying your next piece of wooden furniture!

Ranjita Bhandari

The Author

Home Concierge


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