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Before You Buy Oak Furniture

What You Need to Know


Oak is one of the most popular woods used in furniture making. Oak furniture will suit a number of decorating styles and, if cared for properly, can last a lifetime. The following hints will make buying oak furniture easier.


  • What is Oak? Oak is the most abundant hardwood species found in the United States. There are two basic varieties of oak: red and white. The grain in both red and white oak is similar, but white oak has longer rays. White oak is more durable and lighter in color than red oak. In the past, it was used to build ships because it is waterproof. Red oak, on the other hand, was frequently used to make railroad ties, wagon wheels and hardwood floors, according to TopFurnitureTrends.com.


  • Why Buy Oak Furniture? Oak is a durable, heavy hardwood with beautiful grain. Furniture built from oak is sturdier than that crafted from some other hardwoods, such as mahogany. If you have an active family and furniture gets a lot of wear in your house, oak furniture would be a good choice in part because it does not damage easily. Unfinished oak furniture is second only to pine in popularity among buyers. It stains well or it can be coated in a clear urethane. Oak is the most popular wood for American and English country styles, but it is a popular choice for all furniture types and styles and has wide appeal.


  • What to Look For Although some furniture is made of solid oak, other pieces have only oak veneers. Decide which is right for you. Veneers are most often used to improve the appearance of a less expensive material. Oak veneer can be glued to pine furniture or particleboard, for example. Look for oak furniture that is well constructed. The pieces should be fastened together with no gaps between parts. New oak furniture should be free from indentations and each plane should be level. Oak has a coarse texture, but furniture pieces should be smooth. Oak furniture that has been coated with urethane or stain should have a uniform appearance. The grain should be noticeable through the finish and have a warm look.


  • Getting a Good Price As with most solid hardwood furniture, oak furnishings are a major investment. Consider buying used furniture or mix solid oak furniture with veneered furniture. Antique and secondhand stores often sell oak furniture that can be refinished or may need some repair. If the oak furniture is well constructed, it will likely be worth the price. Amish artisans offer a wide array of quality furniture pieces crafted from solid oak that can be purchased online. There are plenty of retail outlets selling oak furniture, which often is available unfinished. Buying it in an untreated form is an excellent way to save money and get the exact finish that you would like. Staining a few pieces of oak furniture can be done over the course of a weekend. Additional Resources Furniture Find http://www.furniturefind.com/help/basics/2_10_wtypes.aspx#answers American Hardwood Inco Center http://www.hardwoodinfo.com/species_guide/display_species.asp?species=redoak The Unfinished Furniture Association http://www.unfinishedfurniture.org/findmanufacturer.html LifeWire provides original and syndicated lifestyle content to Web publishers.

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