Why buy oak furniture in the first place
Resilient to life’s knocks, oak is one of the most durable woods around, making it a great choice for family homes. Carpenters and woodworkers find oak easy to work with – and this has an impact on the price you can expect to pay for oak furniture. It’s often a more affordable choice than elm or maple.
Oak is also reasonably resistant to moisture and humidity. This means it won’t generally expand or contract significantly when the temperature or the level of humidity in the air changes.
All of this means that oak furniture is a good investment. Select your oak dining table, oak wardrobe and oak nest of tables with care, and you likely won’t have to replace them any time soon.
Choosing between solid oak furniture and oak veneer
Choosing between oak veneer and solid oak furniture usually comes down to budget.
With oak veneer furniture, very thin strips of real oak are applied on top of other, more affordable wood. It’s a great way to bring the look of real oak into your home at less cost.
Solid oak furniture is made of real oak, through and through, and is more expensive. However, as oak is quite a common wood and one that’s easy to work with, even real oak furniture can be fairly affordable. And even though solid oak is more expensive, if you choose the right piece it’ll last a lifetime and beyond. Oak really does stand the test of time – this is why much of the antique furniture you’ll see for sale is made from oak.
Carefully examine the oak’s grain
Grain and knots are natural features of oak furniture, and part of the essential charm of this lovely wood. While oak typically has a close grain which makes it easy to care for, the grain
will vary from piece to piece, so make sure that you like what you see before you buy. The grain in should always be noticeable, even if the piece of furniture you’re thinking about is stained or has a protective varnish.
And once you’ve brought home your oak furniture, look after it well
While oak is one of the most durable woods around, you should still treat your oak furniture with care and respect. Naturally-finished oak should be wiped clean with a damp cloth then dried using a soft duster. Avoid sprays, silicone wipes and polishes, and abrasive cleaners. If your new oak furniture is waxed or oiled, be sure to follow the manufacturer's care instructions.
Be prepared for your oak furniture to change over time. This mellowing process is due to the effects of the sun, light, heat and moisture and is unavoidable. In the meantime, however, be sure to do what you can to protect surfaces from heat and spills by using table mats and coasters, and by regulating light and temperature.
Treat your beautiful new oak furniture well – and it will be yours to enjoy for a lifetime.