If you’re confused by what is solid wood and what isn’t, we’re not surprised. The meaning has been stretched so many ways, some would have you believe any furniture that isn’t hollow is solid wood.
Hardwood lumber boasts an incredible strength-to-weight ratio and requires no amendments or additives. In its pure and natural form, sometimes bound by a little bit of simple white glue to make table tops and legs, skilled hands transform hardwood lumber into a finished product beyond compare.
Joinery is one of the things that makes solid hardwood furniture incomparable. In the old days, woodworkers were called joiners for their skill at joining wood together using miters, dovetails and other techniques that withstood wood’s natural expansion and contraction. Craft and workmanship produced joints that lasted decades, or even generations.
Wood species is what makes solid hardwood furniture interesting; each species offers characteristics and graining that is unique and allows for artistic expression. Walnut is a darling of ours in our interior design projects—in particular, black walnut. It’s remarkable in its fabulous graining and coloration. The tone is cool, but not overly so.
By contrast, consider furniture that is made from “engineered” wood. More than likely it’s built with a wood veneer—a thin (as little as 1/16”-thick) slice of wood grain glued to the surface of some kind of core material. The core could be cheaper wood, a laminate like plywood, or even sawdust and other waste product, bound together with an adhesive to create panels called MDF (medium density fiberboard).
Engineered furniture can be quite functional and inexpensive, but understand its limitations. Sanding out nicks or dings will reveal the sub-material, so refinishing is not an option. Once the material is compromised, it is nearly impossible to repair. Not so with solid wood furniture. Damaged joints, scratches, dings, dents and even deep cracks and breaks can almost always be repaired and refinished in an updated finish, for a lifetime.
It’s true that solid wood furniture generally costs more than veneered products. The wise consumer, however, calculates cost over the lifetime of a product and in that regard, solid wood furniture may be the most cost-effective purchase you can make for your home. What other household items provide beauty and function for decades and, with minimal care, can be passed along for the next generation to cherish? Only solid wood furniture offers that kind of value.
Whether you’re considering new construction, remodeling or a home makeover, we at Designs of the Interior, have hundreds of vendors to choose from, and can create an interior design for you with goods that are 100% manufactured in the USA if that is your wish. We are proud of our supreme quality, cleanliness and complete control over our luxurious products, and we’re able to do anything for you, as always. Give us a call today at 805-418-1890 and ask us how we can help you in your home.