Furniture for life: Solid wood furniture
Putting together home furnishings needs to be carefully considered, as you will live with the consequences for many years. Chairs must be comfortable and a cupboard must offer plenty of storage space. In addition, furniture should of course be visually appealing and fit well together. It is not that easy to decide on certain pieces of furniture, especially since the furniture offer seems endless and the budget is usually limited.
Make an initial decision and go for furniture made of solid wood. There are numerous arguments in favour of solid wood furniture. You can find out more about it in this guide.
What is solid wood?
The term solid wood is a recognised quality term. All the details are regulated in DIN standard 68871.
Solid wood consists of only one type of wood. It is usually used in furniture production in panels of grown wood as well as in the form of lamellas and in bars. Before it is processed, wood is stored to dry before it is separated into lamellas, cut and planed in a sawmill. Even after it has been processed, the solid wood or solid timber, which has by and large retained its natural structure, can continue to breathe.
What is solid wood furniture?
Although furniture is traditionally mostly made of wood, the wood used to make furniture is often not solid wood, but consists in particular of chipboard, fibreboard and plywood. These types of wood are found in invisible parts of furniture such as backs, drawers and interior shelves. They also often form the heartwood of veneered furniture. Wood types of veneered furniture bear names such as "oak veneer" or "beech veneer". In this case, only a thin layer of oak or beech wood applied to the outside shows the characteristic features of these types of wood.
For solid wood furniture, almost only the grown wood is used. Only for back panels or drawer bottoms may other wood such as softwood or pressed chipboard be used. This wood, also known as construction wood, does not impair stability. It also contributes to a good price-performance ratio, because solid wood is of course more expensive than the construction wood made of wood scraps or cheaper softwood.
When buying solid wood furniture, also look to see if it bears the "Golden M" quality seal of the German Furniture Quality Association. It vouches for tested quality, guaranteed safety and healthy living and gives you peace of mind when buying.
What are the advantages and properties of solid wood furniture?
With furniture made of solid wood, you bring a piece of nature into your home. The wood, which has been treated only slightly, breathes and thus has a positive influence on the room climate. The fine wood pores are able to absorb excess moisture and release it again when the room air is dry. Solid wood furniture does not become electrostatically charged.
Furniture made of solid wood is extremely environmentally friendly. Wood is a renewable resource and its processing requires little energy. Solid wood furniture is very durable. When a piece of furniture finally reaches the end of its useful life, it can be recycled. In addition, wood binds CO2, which has a positive effect on the greenhouse effect.
Are there any disadvantages to solid wood furniture?
The only disadvantage of solid wood furniture is that it is more expensive than veneer furniture. Their longevity, on the other hand, puts this factor into perspective.
Solid wood furniture manufacturer
What should buyers of solid wood furniture pay attention to?
The generally positive eco-balance of solid wood furniture does not completely absolve environmentally conscious buyers from their responsibility towards climate protection. They should choose furniture whose wood comes from sustainable forestry in Europe. Here, the natural wood growth is greater than the amount of felled wood. In addition, the transport routes are shorter and the wood processing is carried out under environmentally conscious criteria. As a result, solid wood furniture made of domestic wood species is to be preferred.
What types of solid wood are available for furniture?
Suitable types of wood for solid wood furniture are, above all:
Oak is a classic for German furniture. Oak wood is not only suitable for period furniture, but also excellent for modern furniture in minimalist style. The hard wood is very robust, hardly warps and is weather-resistant.
Beech wood is very strong and load-bearing. However, it works hard, can warp and its shrinkage behaviour is above average. Nevertheless, beech wood furniture is popular. The wood can be worked well and even bent easily under steam, which opens up additional scope in furniture design.
The wood of field and mountain elms has a particularly lively grain, which is why it is also popular for furniture. When exposed to light, elm wood darkens, which enhances its attractive appearance.
Furniture made of pine is less expensive than solid wood furniture made of other types of wood. The wood is relatively soft and light and can be worked very well by machine or by hand. Furniture made of untreated pine is also popular, and its owners can further customise it after purchase by oiling, waxing, staining, glazing or varnishing it to suit their own personal taste.
Acacia wood is heavy, hard and strong, yet elastic and weather-resistant. Even without impregnation, acacia wood can be expected to last around 30 years outdoors. Inside the house, acacia wood is also ideal for bathroom furniture. Initially of a lighter yellowish olive, the wood darkens to its familiar golden brown hue.
The light birch wood has a fine and tough structure, yet is elastic and flexible. Its shrinkage behaviour is low. It is suitable for almost all processing methods and can be polished wonderfully.
Alder belongs to the birch family. Its wood is easy to work and has a particularly smooth surface. Alder wood has a long tradition in furniture making. It is soft, fine-pored, works and hardly warps, which makes furniture made of it very robust. Among the different alder species, black alder wood is considered the best quality.
The colour range of walnut extends from light brown to black-brown. The variety of colours and the beautiful grain allow for varied decorative effects, which has contributed to the popularity of this species in furniture making. Its structural properties make walnut perfect for furniture.
Pine wood, although not particularly hard, is nevertheless very robust. Its dark grain on a light background and small knot marks provide a lively pattern. Furniture made of pine spreads a Mediterranean flair.
Although teak is a tropical wood, it is mentioned in this list of solid wood types for furniture. Nowadays, teak is easily available from sustainable sources. Teak is characterised by its low weight and high robustness and weather resistance. This makes it suitable for both indoor and outdoor furniture.
Cleaning and care of solid wood furniture
Solid wood furniture is easy to clean and insensitive. However, conventional household cleaners or possibly scouring agents should be taboo for the care and cleaning of solid wood furniture. Regular dusting and selective dirt removal with neutral soap, a damp cloth or sponge are sufficient for the care of solid wood furniture. For the surface treatment of oiled or waxed furniture, we recommend polishing with fleece after drying. When doing so, use oils and waxes that are gentle on the wood and harmless to health, as recommended by the manufacturer. Special care products are not necessary for solid wood furniture.
Important to know: oiling leaves the surface pores open, whereas waxing closes them; the harder the wax, the more durable it is. With lacquered furniture, the wood pores are completely closed forever.
What types of solid wood furniture are available for living?
Attractive solid wood furniture is available for practically all living areas, as the following overview shows:
- Living room
- Dining room
- Children's room
- Office furniture
- Garden furniture
- Youth room
- Children's room
- baby room ...
The design ranges from romantic country house furniture to furniture oriented towards the functional Bauhaus style. Whether beds or wardrobes, tables or chairs and more: the range of solid wood furniture is in no way inferior to that of veneer furniture. There is also office furniture and garden furniture made of solid wood.
A good piece of advice at the end: Occasionally, dealers advertise "furniture made of real wood". But beware: this is almost always veneered furniture, which is already made of real wood, but not solid wood!
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