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How to Tell the Difference Between Quality Furniture and the Cheap Stuff

May 2, 2018

You just ordered a beautiful coffee table and you’ve wanted this piece for your living room since you bought your house. It took a little while to purchase it because you had to wait until the absolute right cherry wood coffee table came into your life. You finally found it during an Internet search and finally it’s been ordered. You are now tracking it every day and eagerly await its arrival, believing that once it comes, your living room will finally feel complete.

Finally it arrives and when you put it together, you notice that there’s a huge scratch on the side and it doesn’t look anything like it did in the picture. The wood isn’t wood at all but garish laminate or particleboard, nothing like the image you saw online. When it comes to furniture, online shopping can be our best and worst enemy. Sometimes, even pieces that you buy in person may look great on the surface but are carelessly made underneath.

The number one sign that a piece of furniture is made cheaply is its finish. Whether it’s the color or sheen of a wood stain, the touch or feel of a fabric, or the polish on a piece of metal, this is the first and biggest red flag. Most of the time, there is something inherently ‘fake’ looking and feeling about inexpensive furniture.

Wood Finishes | Manchester Wood

At Manchester Wood we make sure that our finishes are the highest quality possible. Our indoor and outdoor furniture finish styles are designed to keep your furniture looking good through spills and outdoor weather. Durable and lasting, our protective wood finishes will resist almost any normal spill, from water or wine to hot coffee, while enhancing the natural beauty and grain of our select American hardwoods. We’ve perfected a five-step finishing process that includes carefully applied layers of stain, hand sanding, protective sealer, and a final coating of satin lacquer for a rich, smooth, easy-to-wipe-off stain resistant finish. For more information and to view the full selection of finishes check out our website here.

Sometimes you strike the lottery when it comes to high-quality, inexpensive furniture, but more often than not, cheap means cheap. Having a knowledge bank of which materials are cheap and which are high-quality can help you make the right choice. Quality furniture is generally made from hard and solid woods and that is where our specialty lies.

Handcrafted furnishings are generally made with more care and attention to detail than their mass-produced counterparts. Both can be durable and last a long time, but handcrafted pieces will be more refined, unique, and special. Whether you’re looking for solid wood TV trays, a chairside magazine rack, shaker end table, or a shaker style desk – you know you’re getting the most quality furniture that is guaranteed or we will replace the defective part or the entire product if necessary. Plus, free shipping!

Our furniture is also eco-friendly so you can feel good about your purchase. The hardwood lumber that we use to manufacture our furniture grows in sustainably managed forests in the Northeast by suppliers that meet strict State and National standards for forest management. These “best management practices” have been developed by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). Our goal is to create top quality furniture from beautiful American hardwoods for our customers’ homes and offices with minimal impact on the environment. It just doesn’t get any better than that!

Plus, it’s a family owned and operated company so you can have satisfaction in knowing that there are family roots, on top of the most quality craftsmanship and highest grade hardwoods, to be enjoyed for years to come!

American Made Wood Furniture, Solid Wood, Top Posts

4 Stories Behind Wood Types We Use

January 28, 2015
Wood Furniture
A Cherry Tree. Photo Courtesy of WunderWoods

Many customers ask us about the trees that make our American made solid wood furniture. Here are the 4 types we currently use and their back-story.

Ash (Fraxinus spp.)

Norse mythology refers to Ash as “the mighty tree that supports the heavens” and “below earth its root went down to hell.” Ash belongs to the olive family, although its only fruit is a dart-like winged seed. Ash is a popular species for food containers because the wood has no taste. Admiral Richard Byrd wore snowshoes made from Ash during his polar expeditions. Early windmills were made from this species. Its main uses are furniture, flooring, doors, moulding, hockey sticks, billiard cues, and more. It grows throughout the Eastern U.S. and ranges in height from 80 to 120 feet. Nearly all furniture at Manchester Wood is made with Ash, except our Adirondack collection and Solid Cherry collection. The Solid Cherry collection which has items found throughout a variety of categories has product names with ‘Cherry‘ in them.

Beech (Fagus grandifolia)

Known as “Mother of the Forest” for its nutrient-rich humus, Beech has a long, illustrious past. The Aryan Tribes of Asia, the earliest known people to use a written language, carved their messages into the soft, smooth pliable bark of the Beech tree. The writings, cut out of the bark were called “boc,” which eventually became “book.” Its main uses are doors, flooring, toys, turnings, and furniture. It grows throughout the Eastern U.S. with an average height of 120 feet. Occasionally our Retro collection is made with Beech.

Cherry (Prunus serotina)

Like all fruit trees, Cherry belongs to the rose family. American Colonists used the Cherry tree for its fruit, medicinal proprities and home furnishings. They mixed Cherry juice with rum to create Cherry Bounce, a bitter but highly favored cordial. The bark was used in the production of drugs to treat bronchitis, and Cherry stalks were used to make tonics. Its main uses are fine furniture and cabinet making. It grows throughout Midwestern and Eastern U.S. Check out our Solid Cherry collection, made entirely with Cherry hardwood.

Soft Maple (Acer rubrum, Acer saacharinum)

In most respects Soft Maple is very similar to Hard Maple. Generally the sapwood is greyish white, sometimes with darker colored pith flecks. The wood is usually straight-grained. Its main uses are furniture, paneling and millwork. It grows throughout the Eastern U.S. and to a lesser extent the West Coast. Check out our Adirondack collection made with Soft Maple.

This information comes courtesy of American Hardwoods: Treasured for Generations.