Posted by Joe on 10/21/2011
Finding real solid wood
furniture is becoming a tough task, isnít it?
My wife and I were doing some shopping for lamps for our home last week.
A table of an interesting design caught my eye in one of the shops in Halifax.
I always pay attention to interesting designs for custom furniture ideas. The
table looked very solid and chunky plus the description tag clearly said it was
made of solid hardwoods. I got curious and examined the table. At a closer look
it turned out to beÖ simple MDF (which is paper glued together) covered with
veneers. So the guys in that store didnít really know what they were selling.
So, how to differentiate between particle board/MDF furniture and real
solid wood furniture? What if you are looking for something durable and real?
The typical question ĎIs it
real/solid wood?í I often hear in our KVADRO showroom or in online
inquiries prompted me to share with you what I know about solid wood cabinetry.
It often takes a trained eye to identify the material which this or that
piece is made of. But knowing the tips below will make it easier for you to
recognize real solid wood furniture.
1. ?The first
thing you can do is to ask a retailer directly whether the furniture you are
interested in is solid wood or not. This one can be tricky though as many salespeople
simply donít know for sure. Remember the story above?
2. WEIGHT? There is a
belief that solid wood furniture is generally heavier than particle board or
MDF furniture. Yes and no. First of all there are a lot of types of wood which
are light in weight such as pine or cherry. Besides, the more glue there is in
an MDF or particle board piece the heavier it is. So such furniture can be
3. As for used or
antique furniture, pay attention to worn parts. A deep scratch or a gap might
reveal either peeling veneer or solid wood piece.
4. Look at the
underside of the piece. Does it look like the same wood to you as on top? If
not, then most probably it is veneered. In solid wood pieces the wood will look
the same in both visible and hidden parts (or almost the same as the better
part of a board is usually turned out).
5. Check the end grain to show
at the end of the boards and count the number of boards that are glued together
to make the top. Put your finger on a glue joint and trace it along the
top of the surface, over the edge, and to the underside. If the line disappears
itís probably an imitation. Solid hardwood joints on the other hand can be
traced across the top, the side, and the underside.
6. Look at the
edge of the piece of wood. On real solid wood board the grain should continue
either from the top to the end, or from the side to the end.
There are a lot of benefits of owning a real solid wood piece. It gives
you the confidence that most probably you wonít have to replace your furniture
for many years. And even if you decide to sell it the presence of solid wood in
your items will give them a great selling power. Enjoy peace of mind with your
solid wood furniture. :)
I hope the
information above was helpful. Keep in mind that all KVADRO furniture is bench
grade well built and handcrafted solid wood product.
Enjoy your quality furniture,
Thanks Joe Will definately remember these tips for the future.
Very sound advice, Joe! In my country it is even easier to identify something fake.The edges on MDF or particle board furniture sometimes swell from moisture in the store already!!
Yes, in some cases veneers are glued unto wood, which then has to be plywood, which are more stable than veneers on particle board or MDF. Veneers are never put on solid wood, as it will eventually rip to pieces - solid wood always keeps moving from moisture changes. Veneers on plywoods don't necessarily make your furniture pieces 'bad', providing quality products are being used, with proper building techniques. However, if used on tops and fronts, the veneer will easily get dam
In some instances (inc. older pieces), isn't veneer applied onto true wood? Does this make it an inferior piece or not? How do I tell that this is the case? Thanks for this information.