Complete Guide to Wood Furniture

Guide to Wood Furniture - COMO Furniture Australia
February 22, 2017 Wood Furniture

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Do You Own Wooden Furniture or Are in The Process of Buying Some?

We have some of the best luxury furniture shops in the world here in Australia, as well as fabulous online furniture shops. Whether it is contemporary furniture design or modern Italian furniture that you are after, or simply want to browse at your convenience for modern furniture online, the choice is wide.

A case of confusion

You go online to check for yourself where the best luxury furniture shops in Sydney or Newcastle are and after seeing lots of variety, you end up saying that you are a buff at buying sofas, leather furniture, and wood furniture. Choices spoil you entirely. All you need now is to pin your partner down to taking the leap to spend some money.

You have to upgrade the furniture in your lounge because for years you have lived with hand-me-down stuff that is outdated and shabby, you are embarrassed to have friends around. What you both agree on is wood furniture. Your partner wants a contemporary lounge and they are looking at leather furniture stores and you want a modern one.

You know what they say about compromises; you end up pleasing no one, least of all yourself. If you are in the same predicament perhaps some tips and things to think about before shopping for furniture will help you.

Let us cover some facts about the different types of wood furniture and care and maintenance required. You can then be an informed customer, after all, it is an expensive outlay and the decision on which sofa, or table or modern design piece, is one that will stay with you, probably for the rest of your life.

Wood Furniture – Brief Background

In the past, the abundance of wood that was readily available, allowed wood furniture to be made out of any type of hard wood. Prior to the 19th century, most furniture was made using durable and beautiful woods like oak, mahogany, walnut and rosewood. The practice of using veneers and inlays was typical of these times.

Colonial style furniture in America was made with maple, birch, cherry, pine along with oak and walnut and this why furniture of this period made of wood is often repaired because of its value in such prized wood. The preferred types of furniture wood were readily available, so less attractive or durable wood was used only for hidden parts inside a piece.

These special wood are no longer in abundance and we now make wood furniture with more inexpensive and less rare woods like gum, ash, and pine. Today, most furniture is made of pine, fir and the likes of poplar.

When you do find a rarer wood piece of furniture, it is highly likely that the piece was crafted with a combination of both.

Wood Furniture in Australia: Then and Now

In the past, it was mostly based on English styles and good pieces were constructed using European wood. When local hardwood such as mountain ash, silk oak, and blackwood was used, they were often coloured or stained to resemble European types of wood. Jarrah, which is a type of eucalyptus grown in Western Australia, was used for its durability and strength.

Not only was furniture made from this wood, but was extensively used in the construction industry all over the world. From about 1960 onwards furniture makers started using this wood here in Australia and the redness of the colour and its durability and grain started being appreciated.

In the 1980’s master woodworker George Ingham transformed Australian wooden furniture with his modern works using Australian timbers.

Today, it is common to have wood furniture made with veneers that are thin layers and sometimes combinations of wood. Rare wood tends to be used for table tops, as an example, and the more common cheaper types of wood are used for the legs. Very often you may spot what you think is a beautiful antique looking table with an exquisite finish made of rosewood.

That may be so for the top, but the legs could easily begums that were stained to match the rosewood. So, guys, you need to know your oaks from your ashes.

Wood furniture is still popular around the world and people love the character that it adds to traditional or contemporary interiors. To see some of the contemporary furniture designs in Australia, you can visit online contemporary furniture shops in Sydney and Newcastle. And of course, if you are looking for modern pieces of furniture there are many furniture stores to visit.

What You Need to Look for in Wood Furniture and Hence Establish Its Real Value

Basic Characteristics:

1. Colour and Grain: Open or Close-Grained Wood?

The grain is determined by the cell structure of the tree and so if the cells are large then the texture will be rougher or more open than a smaller celled tree, i.e. one that produces a close-grained wood.

Open-grained woods are mahogany, ash, oak, teak and rosewood. Close grained woods are for example beech, maple, cherry, poplar, gum and satinwood. Softwoods, although they don’t have vessel cells are referred to as close-grained. Poplar as an example is slightly green and rosewood can be purplish. Gum is reddish.

2. Hardwood and Softwood

The first characteristic that describes wood is its hardness or softness. But beware, it can be deceptive as there are some hardwoods that are not hard and softwoods that are not soft. The botanical classification is that hardwoods are from flowering trees and that softwoods are from conifers or pines.

Generally, the harder the wood the more valuable it is and this is all to do with its scarcity. Gum is the exception, in that it is classified as a hardwood, but it does not have the same value as other hardwoods due entirely to its common occurrence.

3. Smell and touch

Camphor wood which was used to make linen cupboards in the olden days has a distinct camphor smell. Gum has its own eucalyptus smell.

Care and Maintenance of Wood Furniture

Today, you will be pleased to know, wood furniture maintenance is fairly straightforward. A top class furniture store will be able to help you in which specific products to use for the special piece of furniture you have purchased.

1. Direct sunlight and heat

These are the number one causes of quality deterioration of your wood furniture. So make sure that the piece is not in any way affected by these elements. It will discolour and loose its sheen. If you cannot avoid direct sunlight, then cover the piece with something that will protect it and remember to close the curtains or blinds during the day. All wood finishes will change over time; maple, beech, and pine will darken and cherry and mahogany may lighten.

2. Dust

The first thing to do in the maintenance routine is to dust at least once a week. After dusting use a quality polish that is waxed based, not a silicone base. Try and stop any film being left on the wood. To remove loose dust, use a lint free cloth and gently rub over the surface. Remember that dust is abrasive to the wood. If you have a veneer piece of furniture do not use a feather duster as it will pull off loose pieces of the veneer and scratch the surface. Beware of using a vacuum cleaner on the feet of your furniture, as these tend to scratch and leave marks.

3. Hot Plates and Cups

Avoid putting hot plates or cups directly on a wood surface; rather use a coaster or thick mat. It is extremely difficult to get those unsightly heat rings or marks off the surface. They are more than likely to cause a permanent stain.

4. Liquid

Avoid water or any liquid falling on the surface. If it does, mop it up immediately, as if left it will also damage the surface and cause a stain.

5. Humidity

This is one of the most damaging things to wood furniture, as wood will absorb and release water according to the relative humidity in the air. The wood then expands and contracts, but worst is that it will do so unequally according to the different directions of the grain. You will see this in some pieces where parts are no longer in line or fitting together.

Take that old chest of drawers that you inherited and odds are that some of the drawers are tricky to open and close. This has nothing really to do with age; it is simply a characteristic of wood. There is really not much you can do to stop this process, just take note of the fact and try to avoid your room being too affected by changes in humidity.

Heating systems in winter will lower the interior humidity and could cause problems for your furniture.

Well, we hope this helps in giving you some insight into wood furniture and the care and maintenance of it. Enjoy your shopping, but remember to do some homework and decide between you and your partner what exactly type of wood furniture you want by doing some online searching; particularly on our site of luxury furniture.

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