How to Tell if Furniture Is Real Wood
When searching for a new piece of furniture, it’s essential to know the differences between natural and artificial wood. It’s not always easy to spot the difference between real and fake wood furniture. While manufactured wood might have a lower price tag, natural wood holds up better and lasts longer.
So how can you tell if furniture is real wood? The differences between real vs. manufactured wood will come down to the grain, weight, construction, cost and use of ornate details. Learning to spot a piece of furniture made from real wood will help you invest in something that’s long-lasting and suits your home.
Real vs. Fake Wood Types
There are several fake and artificial types of wood for furniture.
The fake wood on furniture is called faux wood and can refer to different types of materials and construction methods:
- Fibreboard: Fibreboard is a manufactured wood made from wood chips, plant fibers, sawdust, softwood flakes and other recycled materials bonded with a synthetic resin and compacted into sheets.
- Laminate: Like fibrewood, laminate furniture consists of artificial materials bonded together to look like wood. Its wood grain appearance comes from the print process. The printed sheets are then attached to a durable core material and given a shiny finish. Even when special care is given to building laminate furniture, it often has an artificial appearance.
- Veneer: The construction of veneer furniture is similar to laminate, though while laminate uses a synthetic material, veneer furniture uses a thin layer of natural hardwood. The hardwood layer typically covers a lower quality wood base like medium-density fibreboard. This lighter core makes veneer soft and thin — and easy to scratch and dent. As a result, veneer sheets are often challenging to sand or restain.
Solid wood furniture is made of only authentic wood pieces, ranging from soft to hardwood varieties:
- Oak: Oak is a type of hardwood that is incredibly strong, heavy and durable. It has varied and openly porous grain patterns and is commonly used for furniture that gets a lot of daily use, like kitchen chairs and tables. You can find these furniture pieces in red, quartersawn white or rustic quartersawn white oak varieties at AmishOutletStore.com.
- Maple: Maple is a sturdy, durable hardwood resistant to splitting and ideal for all types of furniture and woodenware, flooring or millwork. Maple wood is often very distinctive due to its unique natural colors, with streaks of brown, gray, white, tan and cream running through it.
- Pine: Derived from softwood pine trees, pine wood makes a durable and versatile furniture piece. Pine typically comes in creamy white to yellow shades, though it stains wonderfully and can be modified to fit any style. Its distinct grain patterns and dark knots complement a rustic style home.
- Cherry: Cherry is a hardwood known for its circular grains and smooth texture. Its colors range from reddish-brown to blond, and the wood gets darker with age due to sunlight exposure. Due to its durability and warp resistance, cherry is often used for office and bedroom furniture.
How to Tell the Difference Between Engineered Wood vs. Solid Wood Furniture
So how do you know if furniture is real wood? Natural and manufactured wood differ in the following key areas:
A piece’s weight will tell you if the furniture is real wood or not. The solid construction of natural wood makes these pieces sturdier and heavier, so if your furniture is lightweight, it’s likely made from faux wood like laminate, veneer or fibreboard. While you can lift and move fake wood furniture easier, authentic wood pieces are more durable and will stand the test of time.
One of the easiest ways to tell the difference between real vs. manufactured wood furniture is the presence of grain. Real solid wood furniture will always have a distinct grain that varies in pattern across the piece. If the markings lack texture, appear smooth or repeat themselves, the piece is most likely veneer. If it lacks a grain pattern altogether, it’s likely laminate.
Natural wood furniture is constructed with elements and details not found in artificial wood pieces. The easiest way to spot authentic wood pieces is to look at how each component of the piece comes together.
- Drawers: Drawers often use a dovetail method to attach the drawer to the drawer front. This technique and detail are not used for faux wood furniture. Depending on the age of the furniture, the dovetail might be close together or spread apart. If you notice the method in the drawers, you have a natural wood piece.
- Sides and bottom: Another way to tell if the furniture is real wood is by examining the sides or bottom of the piece. You’ll likely find unfinished wood on the bottom of a piece constructed with natural wood. If veneer was used during construction, you’d likely see where the sheets stop at the back of the piece. At the same time, laminate pieces are generally finished on the top and bottom.
- Edges: You’ll also want to examine the edges of the piece. Solid wood furniture won’t have any grain on the edges, while veneer will reveal a horizontal grain pattern.
While it’s certainly worth the added investment for a durable piece, natural wood furniture is more expensive than artificial wood pieces. However, it’s important to remember that natural wood lasts longer and retains its value far longer than any faux wood furniture piece.
Ornate details add value and character to authentic wood pieces. It’s not possible to carve details into artificial wood like veneer or laminate. However, if a piece you’ve inspected has unique, carved details, it’s most certainly made of real, solid wood.
Solid wood construction means no two pieces are exactly alike. With natural wood furniture, each type will have unique features and characteristics that can fit various design styles. Unlike fake wood, you’ll find solid wood furniture with distinct knots, textures and variations from the original wood that goes into the final product.
Shop Solid Wood Amish Furniture at Amish Outlet Store Today!
While artificial wood has its advantages, solid wood is the better investment due to its sturdiness, higher quality and long-lasting features. While decorating your home, you’ll enjoy the lasting beauty and strength of natural solid wood.
At Amish Outlet Store, you can appreciate an array of beautiful natural wood pieces, from oak and pine to rustic cherry and maple. Our skilled crafters handmake each piece using construction techniques passed down through generations. Appreciate high-quality wood pieces that are beautiful, functional and durable.
Shop natural wood furniture today!