Fully customizable, Hardwood Turned Leg Dining Tables, Solid Wood Dining Tables, Custom Dining Tables
As a professional Los Angeles interior designer with more than ten years of experience, I’ve done many presentations at trade shows, however, the one I found most rewarding was this past February. I was invited by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce to present on the topic: “Furniture Purchasing 101, The Difference Between Poor and High Quality Furniture.” I’d like to share some bullet points with you from my presentation so you can make the most educated decisions for your home furniture and decor purchases (turned leg dining tables, for example)! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not recommending that everything in our homes be heirloom quality. However, if I can provide some insight that helps my listeners and readers become a little bit more educated about spot the difference between poor quality furniture and high quality furniture then I’ll have achieved my aim today.
1. High quality wood furniture will be constructed out of either solid hardwood or a plywood that has at least 8 layers.
2. Good quality pieces will have very few knots even on areas that are not exposed. Knots are susceptible to cracking. For this reason woods such as pine are less desirable.
3. Poor quality furniture is often constructed from thin plywood, fiberboard, particle board, and press board (MDF).
4. A telling indicator of quality when examining wood furniture is the joinery. How are the joints assembled and constructed? High quality furniture will have joints that are screwed, or doweled. The very best joints are dovetailed, mortise-and tenon. Re-enforcing blocks attached in the underside corners of tables, for example, is a great sign that the furniture came from a reputable manufacturer or carpenter.
Indications of poor quality furniture would be joints that are nailed, stapled, or will have visible glue.
5. Good quality furniture frames will sit even level with the floor. Bad quality furniture will wobble, twist, or creak.
6. Wood on a good quality furniture piece should be reasonably scratch resistant, if it dents easily the furniture will not stand up to much use. To test this you can try drawing a line on an unexposed area with your fingernail to see if it leaves a visible dent.
7. When it comes to veneers, if you’re being strict about top quality, you should walk away! However, if the construction under the veneer is either solid wood or a good plywood with at least 8 layers then it might qualify as passable if you don’t mind repurchasing furniture every 5-10 years. Veneers are limited to the number of times they can be refinished and are simply a top layer consisting of a pretty yet fake finish made to look like real wood.
8. Now, when it comes to wood furniture such as a chest of drawers or a desk, very good quality pieces will have thin sheets of wood (often known as dust panels) between drawers. These panels not only act to protect contents, but they also improve upon the structures strength.
9. Good quality pieces will have drawers that open and close easily on metal glide rails and have stops to prevent them from being pulled out too far. The very best drawers will have bottoms that float in a groove and will not be affixed to the sides. This allows for expansion and contraction due to changes in humidity. It also provides extra strength.
Wood on wood sliding drawers are usually an indication of poor quality
10. It can be more difficult to tell quality upholstered furniture, because its frame is often concealed by fabric. But here is what you can do, when you go to a retail location the sales person should be able to tell you all the information about the product right away. If they can not easily provide this information, or they hesitate do not buy from them, move on to another location. The sales person should have good product knowledge. They should be able to provide some sort of a spec sheet. Personally, if any client asks the quality of any of my furnishings I am able to tell them immediately about the construction.
11. Be careful with brand names. There is a trend right now in the furniture industry for poor quality products with similar names to copy cat high end names. So watch out for this.
12. Upholstered furniture should have a seat foam density rating of at least 1.8 pounds or higher. If the chair or sofa has removable seat cushions, unzip them and take a look inside. The foam block should be wrapped in fiber. Very high end ones will probably have a protective inner cover. Removable back cushions could be made of foam, but will probably be loose fill. Loose fill cushions should have multiple internal compartments. These internal compartments stop the fill from settling.
13. Eight way hand tied coil springs indicate very high quality, but are rarely found now a days. Coil, cone, sinuous, and grid springs can all work well. The best thing to do is to sit in various spots to see whether you sink or tip. In cases where the seat cushions are removable press down on the deck underneath. There should be even spacing and resistance to pressure. Any spring system that is more than a few inches apart indicates a poorly constructed piece.
14. Very high end manufactures will self deck their upholstered furniture. Self decking occurs when the same fabric is used through out. For example the same fabric used on the top of the seat cushion will be on underneath the part of the chair where the cushion sits. If the pieces are not self decked the fabric used under the cushion should be of the same color family as the furniture piece.Â Leather typically will not be self decked to prevent the seat cushions from moving around.
To illustrate one of my points above (#4) I’ve included a picture from my gorgeous Turned Leg Dining Table from Hawkins Woodshop. If your dining table, dressers, or most rectangular shaped furniture pieces don’t have corner braces or corner blocks then walk away! Corner blocks add integrity and structural reinforcement to furniture pieces. If you don’t see these on the underside of your tables or furniture then it’s a sign they were not manufactured using best practices.
In conclusion, if you’re in the market for top quality furniture I hope my bullet point list above provides you with some confidence on what to look for. Through my experience presenting in trade shows I’ve become acquainted with Colby Hawkins of HawkinsWoodshop.com. I’m impressed with his joinery techniques, use of solid American hardwood, and his backstory of being a music teacher. I encourage you to skim through Hawkins Woodshop’s promo below about their custom furniture services; specifically for their Turned Leg Dining Table. I love mine they built for me and I often refer my own design clients to Hawkins. Their furniture is made to order and they offer free revisions during the build process to ensure it’s exactly as you need.
– F. Blakeney
🇺🇸 Local tradesmen and women handcraft your solid wood furniture to order using American grown alder. Hawkins Woodshop furniture is made to last – crafted with hand selected, sustainably sourced timber and fitted by hand using professional joinery.
Features – Turned Leg Dining Tables:
✅ Solid hardwood, NO plywood, NO MDF, NO veneers; this furniture will last generations
✅ Professionally hand cut, hand fitted, and hand stained by an American professional
✅ Fully customizable
✅ Unique to your home and family; each furniture piece is a one-off, piece of art
✅ Kid safe, pet safe, food safe
How Much Does it Cost?
👨👩👧👦 Learn about our family here: https://hawkinswoodshop.com/pages/about-us
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