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How to Recognise Quality Furniture

3 min read

How to Recognise Quality Furniture Cranfields Blog

How to recognize quality furniture?

Big ticket furniture items like dining tables, coffee tables and bookcases are often pieces that remain with you for years, and even become family heirlooms with sentimental value. The key to success here is being able to identify if a piece of furniture can withstand the test of time, while retaining its style. Doing your research to select a classic and well-crafted piece of furniture can save you money in the long run and give you a lifetime of enjoyment.

Furniture doesn’t have to be designer to be good quality, it just has to be well made from good materials.

We’ve also been offering our solid oak furniture collection for over 20 years, all made with great care locally.  Ours are classic, timeless pieces made to be lived with and loved for years to come.


Why Solid Oak?

All Cranfields furniture is made from the finest sustainably grown American Oak.  No veneers are used.  We use Oak as it is slow growing, harder and more stable than many other timbers (many of our Otago clients tell us that their furniture never warps or changes shape despite the extremely variable humidity levels).

Well-built, solid wood furniture is incredibly durable and designed to last for generations. It can withstand the wear and tear that comes from daily use and often requires minimal maintenance. Indeed, the wear can even improve the look and feel making a beautiful lustre and patina.


Also if a solid timber piece gets damaged, it can be beautifully restored. Due to the durability, solid wood can be refinished. The same can’t often be said for veneer furniture.

Most modern day furniture is manufactured with a combination of MDF, particleboard and other materials as the core of their furniture. These materials are mixed with chemicals and glues to be formed and provide strength. While this core makes them lighter and easier to manage, it also makes them more susceptible to damage that often cannot be repaired.

However, with solid oak furniture comes weight. Be warned our furniture is very heavy; this is actually a good litmus test for quality furniture. Weight is really important when considering your purchase. If a table is light, it is generally considered to be of inadequate construction.


Why bother with traditional craftsmanship?

Furniture made with traditional techniques can still have a fresh, contemporary feel. 

Wood acclimatises to its environment and will expand and contract depending on the conditions it is exposed to and the humidity level. As the level of humidity in your home drops, the wood your furniture is made out of loses moisture.

We craft our furniture to tolerate and adjust to the fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Traditional woodworking joinery, like dovetails, tongue-and-groove and mortise-and-tenon, can be more durable than joints that rely solely on fasteners and adhesives.

Being made in New Zealand also means it’s already acclimatised, furniture built in high humidity or hot climates can often prone to splitting and significant movement once on our shores.

Of course care should still be taken to avoid extreme changes of temperature or humidity and we advise to keep furniture out of direct sunlight and away from fires or heaters.  

Every Cranfields piece is still made to order, by hand, as well as guarantee of quality it also allows us the flexibility to customise and make to your own dimensions.


Why New Zealand made?

It also helps to reduce energy consumption used to transport products from overseas, which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions, making it a win-win for everybody.

Being locally produced, none of our furniture requires chemical fumigation, resulting in less toxicity in your home.

Every time you buy NZ made, you support jobs, economic development and prosperity here, which has a flow on effect that positively impacts all families and local communities.

When you buy NZ made you know that all employees along the line of production are receiving a fair wage in a safe, secure working environment.