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The Pits You Need To Avoid Stepping On For Chinese Solid Wood Furniture

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When it comes to buying Chinese solid wood furniture, there are a few pitfalls that you need to be aware of. 

From finding the right supplier to avoiding substandard materials and construction, these pitfalls can make or break your Chinese solid wood furniture purchase. 

To ensure you get the best furniture for your money, it’s essential to know what to look for and avoid. This post will provide you with the information you need to make an informed purchase decision regarding Chinese solid wood furniture.

1. What is solid wood?

Some factories sell very cheap solid wood furniture. But is this furniture made of solid wood?

According to China National Standard GB/T-3324-2017, any furniture made of logs, solid wood sawn timber, finger-joined timber, and integrated timber can be called “Solid wood type furniture.” 

China National Standard GB/T-3324-2017
China National Standard GB/T-3324-2017
China National Standard GB/T-3324-2017
China National Standard GB/T-3324-2017
Solid Wood Types
Solid Wood Types

Logs are the most primitive state after a tree is cut down. 

Logs
Logs

Solid wood sawn timber is semi-finished planks undergoing a series of processing steps. Most of the solid wood furniture on the market is made of this sawn timber. 

Solid wood sawn timber
Solid wood sawn timber

Finger-jointed wood and integrated timber are a little more complicated. It is made of small pieces of wood that are spliced together. 

Finger-jointed timber
Finger-jointed timber
Finger-jointed timber, integrated timber
Finger-jointed timber, integrated timber

It can be regarded as a transition between solid wood and wood-based panels. Finger-jointed boards and integrated timber are very close to wood-based panels.

Glulam, also known as the finger-jointed board, finger-joined wood or integrated board, is a solid wood laminated lumber made of narrow, short wooden strips lengthened with adhesives (some boards are tooth-shaped connections). And then it is horizontally widened and sanded on the upper and lower sides.

The process of solid wood glulam is basically the same as that of the solid wood wide panel. Because of the smaller size of the material, there are many splices in the length direction.

That is to say, it is a panel formed by splicing small pieces of solid wood that have undergone deep processing, similar to the cross-joint of fingers of two hands – hence the name finger-joint board. 

Because the log strips are cross-bonded, this kind of bonding structure has a specific bonding force, and because there is no need to glue the surface panels up and down, the amount of glue used is minimal.

Commonly used materials for furniture include fir, pine, camphor wood, sylvestris pine, white pine, red pine, alder wood, miscellaneous hardwood, maple poplar, and European maple. 

2, What are wood-based panels?

It includes fibreboard, particleboard, plywood, blockboard, and laminated timber. They are also commonly used in furniture construction.

Types of Wood-based panels
Types of Wood-based panels
Fibreboard
Fibreboard
Particleboard
Particleboard
Plywood
Plywood
Blockboard
Blockboard
Laminated Timber
Laminated Timber

3, Main types of wood furniture:

“Solid wood type furniture” is made of logs, solid wood sawn timber, finger-joined timber, and integrated timber. 

Solid wood type furniture
Solid wood type furniture

“Wood-based panel type furniture” is made of fiberboard, particleboard, plywood, blockboard and laminated timber. 

Wood-based panel type furniture
Wood-based panel type furniture

“Solid wood and wood-based panel type wood furniture” is a mix of solid wood and wood-based panels.

Solid wood and wood-based panel type wood furniture
Solid wood and wood-based panel type wood furniture

Some unscrupulous merchants would previously insist that furniture with only four solid wood legs is also called solid wood furniture. 

But now it can only be called “Solid wood and wood-based panel type wood furniture.” 

If it is written “Solid wood type furniture” in the contract, it is fraud. 

Painted or unpainted surface furniture made of the above four kinds of solid wood is also called “Solid wood type furniture.”

If the above four kinds of solid wood surfaces are finished with wood veneer, can it still be called solid wood type furniture? 

Yes, it can also be called “Solid wood type furniture,” the same as the definition above. This is the answer given in the standard.

4. Why are some “Solid wood type furniture” so cheap?

4.1. One possibility is that they use finger-jointed boards or glulam instead of sawn timber. 

This means that the furniture will be much cheaper. Of course, this is not the only possibility, but at least you already know that there is such a possibility, and this pit can be avoided. 

Let’s look at an example. The following two beds are from two major furniture brands on the Internet. 

They don’t seem to have much difference in appearance, and the prices are also very close.

You can guess which material is better.

Two types of beds on the market look the same but are made of different materials. 

One is finger-jointed oak, and the other is FAS-grade sawn oak timber. 

Finger-jointed timber+oak wood veneer on the left, and solid oak wood on the right
Finger-jointed timber+oak wood veneer on the left, and solid oak wood on the right

4.2, Using panel furniture as solid wood furniture 

In China, some factories use “Solid wood and wood-based panel type wood furniture” or “wood-based panel type furniture” to pretend to be “Solid wood type furniture.”

If you are considering buying a solid wood dining table, choose one made of natural solid wood. 

If you buy furniture made of the above four kinds of solid wood, it’s better to purchase it from an expert. 

Your furniture will last longer and be more durable if you buy from a supplier who understands the different material types. 

If you buy from an unscrupulous merchant, you will end up with “solid wood furniture” made of little or no solid wood and is also very likely to be substandard. 

An excellent way to know whether or not your furniture is made of solid wood is to ask the manufacturer. They will be able to tell you whether or not the furniture is made of solid wood. 

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