January 21st, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
If you’re shopping for high quality wood furniture, you’re seeking craftsmanship that will be beautiful, remarkable and make your investment last a lifetime, right? It isn’t necessarily hard to find quality craftsmanship, but you’ll have to veer off the beaten big box path and steer over to the local furniture makers in your neighborhood.
Now before you get nervous about price, know that with high quality wood furniture (and most other things, I suppose), you truly do get what you pay for. A good craftsman will save you money in the long run because quality wood furniture lasts a lifetime. It’s something you can hand down to your children and grandchildren.
As you’re shopping for this investment, here are a few things to look for:
Top quality hardwoods that are grown in America and suitable for high end furniture include black cherry wood, black walnut wood, oak, maple, ash and birch. These wood species have high densities and tight, non-resinous grains. Plus they sand well and polish to a silky smooth and supple finish.
Furniture that’s hand made in America gets an immediate gold star for integrity, just for the fact that the wood is legally and sustainably harvested (this is often not the case with imported furniture). You can also feel good that USA made furniture is creating American jobs and sustainable economies. Another benefit: no worries about toxic finishes and glues (common in imported furniture) that might offgas in your home or be ingested by small children.
Drawers and Doors provide perhaps the quickest and easiest quality check on craftsmanship. Make sure they are well fitted and adjusted properly. Drawers and doors should close easily and be flush with the cabinet front. The hardware should be substantial and adjustable in case of jostling during shipping and moving processes be sure to have your delivery crew make any necessary adjustments before they leave your home).
When you run your hand over a piece of high quality wood furniture, it should be as soft and smooth as a person’s skin. Fine wood furniture is sanded many times and eventually with a very fine grit sandpaper. The finish is typically a traditional hand-rubbed oil finish or a lacquer.
I can’t imaging getting a lifetime guarantee in a big box store but most local craftsmen are happy to give a lifetime guarantee on their handmade wood furniture.
For more tips and advice on spying good craftsmanship in high quality wood furniture, visit the Hardwood Furniture section of our blog.