A guide to solid wood furniture

Oak furniture

It’s easy to judge the quality of solid wood furniture, you just need to look at the material, construction and finish. These factors will help you determine the quality of the wood, how long it will last and how well the furniture will age. Our Ideal Home Show experts have some handy tips below.


Wood source

The best quality furniture is made out of hard wood. This comes from deciduous trees like oak, maple, walnut, cherry, birch, mahogany and teak – the wood is air-dried and then kiln-dried, which removes all moisture. Today, solid wood furniture is less common because cheaper furniture made from engineered wood is so readily available. However, these man-made alternatives aren’t as hard-wearing, sturdy or long-lasting as natural solid wood furniture. 


The quality of a piece of furniture can be judged by its joinery. Mortise and Tenon and dovetails are the most traditional joinery method and a sign that the furniture has the strongest and most stable joints. Good joints will never be stapled – they’ll have dowels or screws instead, and no glue will be showing outside the joint. Look out for corner blocks inside the furniture – these help enhance strength and stability too. When it comes to any drawers, they should fit well into the furniture unit and slide easily in and out, without falling out when fully open. Doors should close flush against the unit front. You can check the sturdiness of the furniture by gently rocking it, ensure it is level with the floor, it should not wobble and there should be no squeaking. 


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