Ask the Experts: A Guide to Buying and Caring for Solid Wood Furniture in Singapore
Solid wood pieces are often pricey, but they are a worthwhile investment as they tend to last a really, really long time. Well-made ones can even be refurbished so that they are as good as new again. To help answer some of your questions about buying and caring for solid wood furniture, we seek out furniture experts from Grey and Sanders, Journey East, Mountain Living and Soul & Tables.
Q: What is solid wood furniture?
Design: The Interior Lab
“Solid wood furniture generally refers to furniture made from sawn lumber,” explains Grey and Sanders. “It is homogenous throughout, allowing the user to sand the surface and have it refurbished for years down the road.”
Journey East elaborates: “This is as opposed to furniture made from engineered wood, which is typically made with wood particles (e.g. by-products of woodworking such as flakes, sawdust) bounded together using a binding agent, heat and compression.”
Q: Why should I go for solid wood furniture?
Durability. Solid wood furniture can last for a very long time, and most can be refurbished to be made new again.
Q: How do I know if what I’m buying is authentic solid wood?
The easiest way is to check the weight of the furniture, says the folks at Soul and Tables, as natural wood is very dense and heavy. Following that, feel along its entire surface—you should be able to feel the grains throughout in an authentic solid wood piece.
As a further check, examine the cross section of the wood, suggests Mountain Living. The grains on the cross section should be perpendicular to the one on the surface of the wood.
Q: What is the difference between furniture made from hardwood compared to those made from softwood?
Our experts all agree that hardwood is a better option. Most solid wood furniture are made from hardwood, although softwood is sometimes used as an economical option, says Grey and Sanders. Hardwood is typically more expensive as they grow slower. They are also denser, more scratch resistant and feature more intricate grain patterns.
Q. What are the different wood finishings out there? How do they affect my furniture?
Design: Design 4 Space
Wood finishing is done to protect the raw wood to make them easier to maintain in the long run. In general, wood finishes can be divided into water-based ones and oil-based ones. Water-based finishes look more natural, whereas a wood furniture with an oil-based coating offer a glossy look and can look sometimes make the furniture look thicker.
“Solid woods with an oil-based finishing are usually more stain resistant. However, it is typically more difficult to repair a wood furniture with an oil-based coating compared to those with a water-based coating,” says Mountain Living.
Q. How do I protect my wood furniture from termites?
Design: The Local Inn.terior
Choose the right furniture: Hardwood furniture are typically more resistant to termites compared to softwood furniture. Teak especially, thanks to its anthelmintic property.
Keep moisture away: Soul and Tables recommends ventilating your home at least once a day to prevent humidity from building up, which can provide an ideal condition for a termite infestation.
In the case that there is a termite infestation, seek professional help to completely eradicate the problem.
Q. How do I maintain my wood furniture?
Here are some key tips:
- Make it a habit to wipe away water or spills immediately.
- Prevention is better than cure: use coasters underneath drinking glasses and cups if you don’t want water rings to form.
- Keep furniture as moisture free as possible. For day-to-day cleaning, a duster or a dry microfibre cloth will do.
- Always wipe in the direction of the woodgrain.
- Don’t put your furniture outside if it’s not treated for outdoor conditions. Avoid placing it directly under the sun as well as the wood can fade or warp.
- Avoid exposing furniture to drastic temperature changes as this will cause the wood to crack.
Where to go for quality wood furniture in Singapore
Grey and Sanders
If you are a looking to get a one-of-a-kind solid wood piece, Grey and Sanders are your people. The wood slab retailer sources from all over the world for unique and durable wood like American black walnut, ash wood, Indonesian teak, French oak and American/European sycamore. These are then cut to the size of your choice, making it the perfect fit for your home.
Find them: Tan Boon Liat, 315 Outram Road, #06-02 or Millennia Walk, 9 Raffles Blvd, #02-42
Every item that is carried in Journey East has a story to tell, so whatever you’re getting there will definitely be a conversation starter in your home. The furniture retailer looks for items with interesting provenance, good design, quality craftsmanship and environmental sustainability, and that includes their solid wood pieces. Wood types they offer are teak, oak, mahogany and ash. They also have a Vintage collection, with some of the pieces estimated to be up to a hundred years old!
Find them: Tan Boon Liat, 315 Outram Road, #03-02
For folks who like the natural look, pay a visit to Mountain Living. The furniture retailer carries a select range of wood types, including teak, oak and walnut. Their solid wood pieces feature a stylish, contemporary design, and are all coated with only water-based coating for a beautiful, natural finish.
Find them: Tan Boon Liat, 315 Outram Road, #07-02
Soul & Tables
Soul & Tables carries solid wood pieces by Ethnicraft, a Belgian furniture brand that has two distinct wood types: Indonesian teak and French oak, both of which are sourced from sustainably-managed forests. The teak offers up a warm, brown tone with a raw finish, while the oak features a light, blond tone and is coated with a transparent varnish. The solid wood pieces at Soul & Tables are covered by a lifetime warranty and there’s a 30-day return policy if the furniture doesn’t meet your expectations. Talk about flexibility and peace of mind!
Find them: Tan Boon Liat, 315 Outram Road, #02-01 & #02-03
Got a burning question about solid wood furniture? Hit us in the comments below and we’ll get the experts to help.