There are so many manufacturers and names in furniture these days, it may be difficult to separate the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Amish Handmade furniture often displays the highest standards in materials and construction.  Here are a few things to look for when examining wooden chairs, tables, cabinets, and benches.

Let’s begin with the wood.  Wood can either be solid or veneer.  Furniture with veneer layers a thin sheet of wood on top of plywood or partial board.  The type of wood also affects the value and longevity of your furniture.

Deciduous trees or those with leaves often have harder wood than coniferous trees, or evergreen/cone-bearing trees. Top quality deciduous trees include oak, maple, cherry, mahogany, walnut, rosewood and teak.  Popular woods from coniferous trees include pine, redwood, and cedar.

Along with the type of wood used in furniture, the savvy consumer will also look at the quality of construction.  Take a close look at the way joints are joined together and the overall sturdiness of the design.

  • Joints – there are many techniques for connecting wooden parts, such as tongue and groove, mortise and tendon, doweled, corner blocked, screwed, bolted, and stapled.  One quick way to check on quality is to look for any dried glue oozing out from the seams and joints.
  • Sturdiness – chairs, and benches get a lot of stress, so a sturdy design is essential.  The more posts in the back are better.   Look for chair stretcher bars on the chairs you look at, they come in different formations such as double, box, and H-stretchers.
  • Silence—If the chair or bench squeaks, you might want to look elsewhere.  If it makes noise when you know something might not be on tight.