How to Determine the Quality of Wood Furniture

November 03, 2017

When it comes time to purchase new furniture for your home, you want to make sure that you are getting the best value for your money. While there are certainly people who want cheap furniture regardless of its quality, others don’t mind spending a little more money as long as they know that it’s money well spent.

However, not everyone is a furniture expert, and it isn’t always easy to tell when a piece of furniture is truly high-quality or when it is cheaply made and masquerading as a higher value.

At Riley’s Real Wood Furniture of Eugene, we want our customers to be satisfied with their purchases, and we are committed to offering furniture which meets our high standards.

Here are a few things you should look out for when shopping for furniture to tell if an item is a cheap knockoff or the real deal.

Check the Joints

Probably the biggest tell of the quality of a piece of wooden furniture is how corners and joints are constructed.

If you notice that corners are being kept together by staples or nails or if you can see wood glue showing, it’s a dead giveaway of shoddy construction.

Dowels and screws are a much better alternative to staples and nails. However, truly great furniture will have either dovetail or mortise and tenon joints.

If you’re unsure how a piece of furniture’s joints is constructed, a salesperson should be able to give you the information you want.

Types of Wood

There are a few important things to understand when it comes to identifying the quality of the wood used for a piece of furniture.

You may have heard about hardwoods and softwoods, but those are misnomers as they don’t strictly describe a wood’s hardness or toughness.

Hardwood means the wood comes from deciduous trees while softwood is used to describe wood from coniferous trees.

Some softwoods are actually tougher and more durable than some hardwoods, and quality furniture can be made out of either hardwoods or softwoods.

To test the durability of a piece of furniture, press your fingernail into the piece and see if it leaves a mark or scratch. If it does, take into consideration that this piece will be more susceptible to scratches.

You also want to look out for knots as they are more likely to crack. Some woods, such as pine, are more likely to have knots and should generally be avoided.

Beware of Engineered Woods

Typically speaking, engineered woods such as plywood, paperboard, MDF, laminates, and particleboard should be avoided.

However, if a piece of furniture does have plywood, make sure that it is at least 8-9 layers thick.

Veneers can also be tricky. Take into consideration that veneers limit the number of times that a piece can be refinished, and you want to make sure that there is quality wood underneath it.

Research the Manufacturer

Before making a purchase, do some research on the manufacturer.

If the piece was manufactured in China, there’s a good chance that it was made cheaply and by cutting corners.

If the manufacturer is American or European, there is a better chance that skilled work and care went into a piece’s construction.

Regardless of the furniture’s country of origin, the manufacturer’s website should give you some clues about the level of quality used in construction. Make sure to check out online reviews of a manufacturer’s products as well.

Cheap Price Often Means Cheap Furniture

While you can certainly get great furniture on a good deal, price is often a good indication of the quality of a piece of furniture.

If the price for a piece of furniture seems too good to be true, it probably is.

At Riley’s Real Wood, we specialize in high-quality wood dining room furniture, living room furniture, bedroom furniture, and office furniture.

Come by our showroom to check out our unbeatable selection. We’ll help you find the perfect wood furniture for your home.