Quality Wood Furniture

Quality Wood


3000 NE Andresen Rd, Vancouver WA, 98661

Open Tuesday - Saturday 10am-6pm

How to tell if wood furniture is quality or not.

When you’re shopping for furniture, it’s essential to assess the quality of a piece. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of poorly-built furniture out there, and it’s not always obvious, at first glance, whether it’s worthy of your investment.

How do you know what to avoid, and what to look for? Learning a little about the way furniture is made is a great way to make your shopping decisions easier.

There are some key points to consider, no matter what type of furniture you’re looking for. Once you’ve identified the style that you’re looking for, you can then assess individual items, such as:

  • The type of wood that is used

  • Details such as the type of joinery used

  • If materials like staples or glue are used

Follow along with our tips, and you’ll be ready and prepared for your next furniture-buying outing!

How can you tell if it’s real wood or a veneer?

"What is underneath the wood veneer is often where the problem originates. Pressboard (sawdust and glue) does not provide much strength."

Let’s review what veneer is. In its best uses, veneer is made of a thin layer of high quality, real wood. This is applied to a solid wood base. This provides an all-wood, solid piece of furniture that has a matching grain and sometimes a more affordable price point.

At its worst, veneer is wood laminate. This is a layer of plastic or paper that has been printed with a reproduction of wood grain and glued on top of cheaper materials, such as particle board.

How do you tell the difference? Let’s start with real wood veneers. Since they are made of actual wood, they’ll look natural. Here’s the way to look for it - it may require a little bending over.

  • On immediately visible surfaces, you might notice that the grain of the wood isn’t consistent. This indicates that there are veneer pieces used in bands.

  • On the bottom and back of the piece, you may notice that the wood doesn’t match the rest of the piece

  • The wood grain doesn’t go all the way through the piece of furniture in the same direction.

Spotting wood laminate is often easier. You can open drawers to see if there if it has been applied to particle board or low-grade lumber. Examined up close, you’re likely to spot that the pattern of the “wood grain” is repeated over and over.

It also won’t have the texture and feel of real wood grain when you run your hand over it. Overall, the piece will be more lightweight and probably have some other “Red Flag” issues that we’ll discuss below.

How can you check the build quality?

Good furniture has features that are easy to spot when you know where to look. It’s okay to open up drawers, sit on chairs, and look at the actual construction of your wood furniture when you’re shopping.

"Quality is what separates us from the competition. Our history in custom building high-quality real wood furniture makes us very picky when choosing furniture to carry."

When you’re looking over the piece, watch for these signs that it’s been made well:

  • Sturdy legs that are made of solid wood and that are not glued or nailed on.

  • The joined pieces of wood are held together by joints (joinery), and not put together with just staples or screws. Don’t be afraid to ask the salesperson about the type of joint that is used.

  • Drawers that slide easily, and gliding pieces (such as those on office furniture) that work smoothly.

  • The piece should feel solid - no wobbles or creaks if you sit down.

  • The finish is smooth and even, with no bubbles - rub your hand over it. Even the inside of drawers should be smoothly sanded.

  • The parts of the furniture that don’t show should also look solid and finished. Look for details like corner supports and well-fitted back panels.

  • Last but not least, solid wood furniture should feel substantial and heavy.

What are some red flags to indicate that it’s cheap?

Poor craftsmanship will make your furniture investment a short-lived disappointment. There are many tell-tale signs of a poorly made piece that you can train yourself to look out for.

"Often times you can tell if a piece of furniture is poorly made just by the way it looks and feels."

While you’re looking over your prospective furniture choice, be alert to some of these indicators of shortcuts in the manufacturing process:

  • Lots of glue and staples: Check to see if corners and other spots where pieces meet are held together with visible glue and staples.

  • Uneven frame: The piece should sit level with the floor, and not wobble or move if you sit or press on it.

  • Use of cheap wood alternatives like particle board covered with faux wood laminate.

  • Streaky, bubbly, dull, or uneven finishes.

  • Soft wood that can scratch or dent easily

  • Knots or cracks in the wood, or splinters

Wood furniture should be not just attractive, but also durable and low-maintenance. There’s a reason that good wood furniture becomes antique and lasts for decades - it’s an amazing material.

Making just the right choice of a new piece for your home should assure you that your furniture will be of high quality and give you years of enjoyment. Following along with our tips for smart shopping should make your next furniture shopping experience both better-informed and enjoyable!