Monthly Archives: September 2016

How to Identify Quality Wood Types For Furniture

Wooden furniture is made from many types of wood. However, good furniture has some standardized characteristics that include durability and beauty as its primary qualities. And these qualities are instilled in the furniture by the use of good types of wood. So, the foremost rule for identifying quality wooden furniture is to assess the wood type used for making it. How this can be done? Here are some pointers to consider when looking for quality wooden furniture.

Hardwood v/s Softwood- Basic Types of Wood for Furniture

Wooden furniture is made from both types of wood- hardwood as well as softwood. Hardness of the wood makes a durable wooden furniture. However, if you go by literal meaning of both the terms, you can be disappointed because not all hardwoods are hard, and not all softwoods are soft. Hardwoods come from flowering trees such as maple, cherry, oak, ash, walnut, and mahogany where as softwoods come from conifers like pine, spruce, redwood, and cedar. Hardwoods are more strong and stable type as compared to softwoods but there are exceptions too (gum is one of its example). So, we come to a conclusion that although wooden furniture made from hardwoods are more durable, the furniture made from softwood are also not that bad, especially if you want decorative carved furniture.

Wood Grain & Color- Check for Quality Here!

The grains of any type of wood are determined on the basis of annual growth rings on a tree. There are many types of woods that have subdued and others that have clearly defined grains. These grains can again be of any type- straight grains, stripes, swirls, waves or curls, ripples, eyes, or with mottled effects. Colors of woods too range from white and pale yellow to red, purple, and blackish brown. You should check grain and color of the wood to identify the wood quality.

Hardwoods generally have a more fine textured grain as compared to softwoods. The wood types that have distinctive patterns are considered more valuable than woods with subdued or indistinct patterns, If you see that a wooden furniture piece has weak looking grained wood then it might have been stained to give them some character.

Tips for Checking Wooden Furniture for Quality

There are two possibilities where you might get a wooden furniture with compromised quality. One, you may get wooden furniture made from veneers & inlays and second, you might bring furniture made with two or more types of wood. Veneer is made with a thin layer of good type of wood glued to a base of less expensive wood or plywood. When more types of wood are used, the quality wood type is used for more visible portions like table top or body of chair and cheap wood is used for lesser visible portions like table and chair legs.

  • To check whether your wooden furniture has veneer, look at the edge of the wood surface- a thin layer glued over a base wood will be seen there.
  • Compare the unfinished surface (like under the table top or chair seat) with the finished wooden surface. If there is some difference, it might be veneer.
  • Similarly, look for signs of staining at the legs of furniture pieces to make out whether it has been made from different combination of woods. Staining and finishing of cheap woods are essential if they have to be matched with quality wood types!

Faux Wood Blinds Vs Real Wood Blinds – Which Makes You Happier?

First, the common knowledge about faux wood blinds vs. real wood blinds tends to go in one of two directions, with either the demanding environment argument or the value vs. authenticity tradeoff argument. Here’s how the two different arguments go, followed by a distinctly less analytical perspective.

Faux vs. Real – The demanding environment

If the blinds are going into a demanding environment, the theory goes that humidity, rough handling, or conditions that would require more frequent cleaning (like a kitchen) are damaging to real wood and better suited to a durable, synthetic material like vinyl or a composite of wood and other plastics, the most common materials for faux wood blinds. Real wood absorbs moisture, expanding and then contracting again when humidity drops. This, and strong direct sunlight through non-UV blocking windows can cause warping, splitting and other wear that all wood and natural materials are subject to. Also, stains are absorbed in the more porous material, requiring more frequent cleaning, which is less effective on porous material and also hard on wood. In short, the argument is that same as the argument for vinyl seats in a car that carries toddlers; it’ll hold up better.

Faux vs. Real – The value vs. authenticity tradeoff

The tradeoff argument implies that real wood is better, but that faux wood is a more functional, appealing to your left-brain rationality and ‘practical’ side that likes to find a smart compromise. This is the rational voice in your ear that tries to keep peace between the luxury-seeking you and the penny-pinching you. If you were buying a watch, this is the referee between the voice that wants the luxury and status of a fine Swiss watch and the one pointing out that a cheap digital watch keeps time just fine. At this point, a watch that is more luxurious than a Timex and less costly than a fine Swiss watch looks mighty smart. The tradeoff argument places faux wood blinds squarely there: less expensive than real wood, more durable, and much more luxurious than plain vinyl blinds.

Faux vs. Real – The Gut argument

I’d argue that the the blinds that will serve you best are the ones you are instantly drawn to. When you started reading this article, you were probably looking to either justify your fine Swiss watch (real wood blinds) or confirm the value of the cheap digital watch (faux wood blinds), hoping for data to back up your decision! Data like the faux wood looks really really real, or real material is warm, luxurious and unmistakably natural. Either way, you probably had one of the two options already in mind and you were looking for backup. Yes? Well – unless you are putting up blinds in the kitchen or just flat out cannot afford the real stuff, even through a low-cost online store, the faux wood vs. real wood blinds dilemma is probably not really a dilemma. You should get the ones you know you want.

If you still want data….wood blinds are pretty darn durable. Unless your environment is truly rough, they’ll probably do just fine and they will be… real. No matter how good faux gets, it’s not the same as real wood in terms of feel and up-close appearance. However, faux wood blinds are really good in their own right and more luxurious than plain vinyl. So, if you just gotta have wood, get wood. If you don’t gotta, and you’d prefer to save a few bucks, get faux. Either way, if you buy them from a good retailer, you’ll have new blinds that work well and fit well and you’ll end up happy. Enjoy.