Story Starters

How to Identify Quality, Solid Wood Furniture

Real American Hardwood furniture provides enduring value and natural beauty that can be treasured for generations. But because there are many imitation products on the market, it’s easy to be persuaded into buying furniture that may cost less, but won’t last a lifetime. Before you buy, examine the construction of the furniture piece and follow these tips to ensure you’re getting the most value for your money.

  • Examine how the pieces of wood are joined together. Dovetail joints, for example, are generally a good sign of quality construction.
  • Look at the gluing. Solid hardwood furniture consists of many pieces of wood glued together edge-to-edge or end-to-end with continuous glue lines. Put your finger on a glue line and trace it across the top surface, over the edge and to the underside. If the line disappears, chances are it’s not solid hardwood.
  • For chairs, turn them upside down and check to see that the joints are snug and free of excess glue and filler and that the joints are reinforced by nails or secured with screws. The arm-and-leg or back-and-leg components should also be crafted from a single piece of wood.
  • Finally, be aware that terms can be deceiving. For instance, a coffee table may look like cherry and may say “cherry finish,” but that does not necessarily mean it’s real cherry hardwood. The term “cherry finish” may simply refer to the color.

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