High quality furniture can be quite a costly investment. Carpenter Malcolm McGrath of Malcolm Mcgrath Cabinets and Fine Carpentry discusses what homeowners should consider and look for when buying furniture for their home.
What are you using it for? This will determine the level of quality you need:
- Short term vs. long term i.e. children’s bedroom furniture vs. living room furniture
- Decorative (lighter use) vs. utility furniture – If it’s not used often you can get away with lower quality
- Fixed to a wall vs. free standing – Pieces fixed to a wall can be lower quality as they don’t need as much support
- Factory assembled will be stronger than flat packed furniture that you put together yourself
- Solid wood is stronger than particle board and won’t delaminate
- Cabinet joints are always stronger than metal fasteners or particle board stapled together
The Hierarchy of Joists (lowest to highest)
- Stapled particle board: breaks easily
- Screwed particle board: also breaks easily
- Screwed hardwood: hard to break
- Traditional cabinet joists: Very strong, hard to break. Carpenters make the wood clamp into each other without glue or fasteners. Doubling these joists up makes it even stronger.
- Expensive, but a high quality option.
- Making custom furniture is an extensive process. It takes multiple weeks for one piece of furniture to be made. A simple table can take two weeks.
- Cost: A craftsman making $30/hr can end up being $2000 in labour costs, plus $200 for materials