What Makes a Quality Piece of Furniture?
If you’re in the market to decorate your home or office with new furniture, you will likely want to pick something that lasts so you’re not left making the same purchase again in a few years. In order to pick something that will last, you need to be able to judge the quality of that furniture. When beginning your search consider such things as: the wood type, the steel thickness (gauge), the construction process used and the overall finish.
Wood furniture can be built using one of three main wood products: solid wood, veneers, and particle board or MDF (medium density fibreboard). Solid wood is exactly that, Solid Wood through and through. Veneers have an inexpensive wood core covered by thin layer(s) of a higher quality wood and lastly particle board is made from a combination of sawdust and glue that have been pressed together.
We at NRG Style only use solid wood, primarily locally sourced hardwoods and often reclaimed lumber for our custom furniture projects.
Also, something to consider; If you are having something built, specifically a live edge top, be sure the wood has been kiln-dried to remove the moisture from within. This can cause issues down the road such as cracking or warping. Be cautious, as it is not uncommon to find some out of the garage builders to use wood that is not fully dried leaving you with potential issues in down the road.
When it comes to build quality, the way a piece is constructed can add to its overall look, it’s functionality and ultimately how long it will last.
The density, joint quality and sturdiness of a piece will tell you a lot about its quality. More dense woods are generally harder and more durable which results in a better resistance to scratches. A quality piece of furniture should be stable and feel solid.
Quality joints also typically have hidden dowels or screws along with glue and sometimes even more complicated shear mechanisms like a bowtie or a finger joint but they’ll never be stapled or nailed and any glue that’s used shouldn’t show. Look at any of these joints up close for general quality which would include: the accuracy of tool work, tightness of seams, and the lack of wood filler or minimal amounts at most. If there is steel work in legs or hardware, look for clean welds and a thickness of steel that’s suitable for the piece.
Finally, quality wood furniture should have a high end finish.
The overall quality of finish comes down to the sanding, staining, and clear coating of the wood surfaces. These are an important part of the process. A quality piece should be smooth with no rough patches when you run your hand over it. Sanding in the opposite direction of the wood grain will produce visible scratches on the surface which will not take the stain evenly in some cases. Inspect the finish from different angles to check for dull spots or scratches. A high-quality piece is also finished on the back and on the underside in order to seal the entire piece.
When looking at any steel, look to see if it has been spray painted or if it has been powder coated. Powder coating is more durable and a much longer process, therefore more expensive. If there has been a short cut taken on the painting of the steel then there is a good chance there can be short cuts elsewhere in the piece.
To judge the quality of a specific piece of furniture All you need to do is really look at the material used, how its put together, and the overall fit and finish. It isn’t difficult, you just need to know what to look for. A quality piece should last you a lifetime with proper use and care. If you have any questions or would like a custom piece built for your family and home, contact us at NRGstyleinc.com today!
04/11/2019 Neil Goodhall, Owner and Craftsman