Buying Oak Furniture

Oak is a popular choice for furniture makers. A wide variety of decorating styles lend themselves to the use of durable oak wood. Here are some tips on how to choose oak furniture for your home.

Longer Rays

More oak is produced in the United States than any other variety of hardwood. There are two major types: white and red. The grain in both types is alike, except that white oak has longer streaks radiating through the grain, known as rays. White oak is stronger than red oak and has a lighter color. Ship builders have long used white oak because of its ability to repel water. Red oak has a favored place in U.S. history for hardwood flooring, railroad ties, and wagon wheels.

Oak has a gorgeous grain, it's a good heavy hardwood, and it lasts forever. Furniture made from oak outlives furniture made from other hardwoods, for instance, mahogany. If your furniture is going to take a good beating from a large active family, oak is a good bet because it takes a lot to damage the hardwood.

If you want to finish your furniture yourself, keep in mind that oak takes a stain really well, but you can also give it a simple coat of clear urethane to let its natural beauty shine through. While pine is the most popular wood sought on the unfinished furniture market, oak may be a smarter choice, due to its versatility and strength.

Oak Veneers

Some of the pieces you find will be solid oak, while others are crafted with oak veneers. The veneers allow you to purchase something that looks like oak, at a lower price. Thin strips of oak are glued to furniture made of pine, particleboard, or some other low-cost material.

Solid oak furniture should be assessed to see that it is well built. Look at the fastenings of the piece. Can you see through the parts? If so, pass it over. Look also for smooth, level wood. There should be no indentations. If the furniture has been stained or coated with urethane, it should still be possible to see the grain and the finish should be even.

Oak furniture, like any good hardwood furniture, is a serious investment. Some ways you can ease the strain on your budget is to mix solid oak pieces with veneered furniture. You may be able to find something second hand that needs some refinishing, if you're not against using some elbow grease to make something old come back to life. Look for retail outlets that sell oak furniture. They often sell pieces unfinished. Besides the fact that unfinished pieces are a big savings, staining your purchases takes almost no time at all. Besides, if you buy the pieces unfinished, you get to pick the stain you like the best.

Loving Care

Other sources for purchasing all-oak furniture can be found online. There are many Amish furniture artisans crafting all-oak furniture and marketing their wares through the internet. These pieces are made with loving care and can be relied on to provide many years of enjoyment.