How to recognize quality Woodworking by: Glenn Mast
It would appear that much of today's furniture is built from pressed boards and plastic wood-like veneers. Anyone who knows anything about woodworking knows that it isn't all great! This is due in large part to an economic system that has left households unable to afford to give top dollar for furniture.
Also majority of the furniture that is being imported from out of the country, price has become a much higher priority for a lot of retailers, then the quality of the piece. If you don't think you can afford quality furniture, think again. It is totally conceivable to get quality made wood furniture at a good price.
But there is bad woodworking, and there is quality woodworking. While the difference between the two is pretty obvious to some people, there are plenty of people who just aren't able to tell the difference between the two: Here are some things to keep in mind the next time that you evaluate a piece of quality woodworking: Learning to recognize what causes a piece of wood furniture to be quality versus substandard is the first step to upgrading your home furnishings.
Wood furniture can function in any room of your house. Due to the numerous types of wood furniture in the marketplace nowadays, knowing how to recognize quality in wood furniture can feel complex: First and foremost, and perhaps most obviously, you need to make sure that the woodwork is sturdy. If it's a chair, make sure you sit down on it and shift your weight around and you want to make sure that it holds and doesn't wobble around. You want to take hold of the arms and attempt to move them to make sure that they aren't going to shift as you move, and you want to make sure that the back is firmly attached and doesn't bow out where it isn't supposed to.
Now, a lot of these things that you're checking hold true for any other piece of quality woodworking that you are evaluating. Obviously a large chest isn't going to have legs to test, but you want to make sure that all seams are closed and don't pry apart with pressure or shifting, and you want to make sure the whole thing is fastened properly together and doesn't have any obvious areas where the different pieces of wood are separating.
The ways that the pieces of wood are joined together are also an indication of how high quality the piece is. There are a few things that you always want to look out for when evaluating woodwork joining.
- Screws are almost always far superior to staples, as staples have a tendency to work loose pretty easily and quickly.
- In general furniture with rabbeted and butted joints are often indications that the furniture is cheaply constructed. A rabbeted joint is one in which a small groove is cut in the end of the top piece of wood to sit on the lower wood, and is usually glued or stapled together. A butted joint doesn't even cut a groove out and simply places two boards placed at right angles and glued or stapled together.
- High quality furniture tends to have screws that are sunk into the wood and that have little wooden plugs covering them to hide the screw. This is usually the case when screws are visible, but even high quality woodwork sometimes lets screws show on the underside.
- Also the Drawers and corners tend to have Dovetail joinery! Dovetail joints consist of wedge-shaped openings, the dovetails, holding matching pins cut in the joining piece. In this joint, the dovetail goes completely through both pieces of wood. The pins in handmade dovetails are usually narrower than the spaces between the pins.
When it comes to good quality wood furniture, whether traditional or modern, you will want the wood to be durable and the pieces well made. Furniture that is made of a hardwood is the wise direction to start your search. Hardwood furniture is made from birch, cherry, maple, mahogany, oak, teak and walnut. These woods are known to be durable and come in many styles that can fit perfectly into any home's interior and most family budgets.
Soft woods like cedar wood, fir, true pine and redwood do not provide the durability of the hardwoods noted above.
When it comes to functionality, pleasing looks and the robustness of furniture construction should be one of your considerations. However, although it may not be all that fun, checking the joints and strength of a furniture's construction is far more important than appearance. Well made wood furniture is never glued or stapled anywhere that is can be seen by the human eye. Look at the corner blocks for stability. This is vital in solid furniture and most important in furniture that will be used everyday such as beds, couches and tables and chairs.
Always take a look at the rear boards on your wood furniture too. The backer pieces should always be connected by screws for added durability and strength. All concealed areas, including interiors should be sanded at the very least. Articles of furniture that have drawers, such as desks and dressers, should have dust boards between the drawers! Not only does this add to the sturdiness of the furniture piece but it will confine dust as well.
A final important feature to consider is the finish of the wood. Quality made wood furniture will always be sanded before any stains are applied to give a smooth finished look and touch. In addition, the grain of the wood will be more attractive when stained if it has been properly sanded.
Wood furniture should be an attractive addition to any room in your household, not an eyesore waiting to happen. By performing some research and inspection of your potential furniture pieces, you'll be able to find the perfect furniture pieces to complement your houses interior decoration and your household budget.
Author Resource: Glenn Mast is a successful business owner of a couple websites that offer Amish Handcrafted Products. His sites offer products and information about Amish Made Products & decor for your home, lawn or garden.