Category Archives: Blog

Abacus Furniture’s Blog, discussing custom furniture, solid wood furniture, and more, all based out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The Advantages of Solid Wood Furniture

There’s a big difference between Solid Wood and the more conventional Wood Veneer. The visual difference is obvious and many people would assume that Wood Veneer is just a cheap alternative, but there are many more advantages that Solid Wood can bring.

Solid wood is both durable, can last for generations, and is typically easy to repair if some of the wood gets damaged.  You can use a little sandpaper to buff out scratches, small dents, and water stains.  The look of solid wood can be changed once you tire of the finish; it will take some elbow grease or electric tools but you can drastically alter the appearance in order for it to match your changing decor.  You can stain or paint the wood; either one adheres well and gives you a very large variety of options.  If you’re worried about using environmentally friendly products, there are furniture makers that are committed to using only sustainable resources, so you can feel good about having solid wood furniture and doing your part for the planet.

Solid Wood is: Durable, repairable, stainable, and environmentally friendly.

Wood veneer was developed to give the appearance of wood while cheapening the entire product. It’s been dated back for thousands of years, and the only benefit is the cost effectiveness.

Yes, Wood Veneer is cheaper and uses more raw lumber effectively. But the resulting “particle board” is nothing like solid wood. It is brittle; underneath the veneer is compacted sawdust. It can’t be sanded down to repair scratches either; otherwise, you’d just take off the veneer and be left with the ugly sawdust consistency of the particle board. If a piece of particle board breaks or gets scratched, there is no fix that can make it look like new.

The, sometimes plastic, veneer also can’t be stained like Solid Wood. What you purchase is what you get, so get used to it, and hope you don’t move or redecorate without getting new furniture.

Simply put, wood veneer is used in high volumes: schools, restaurants, and the like. I think we can all remember what our desks looked like in school. The nicks and scratches that built up over the years, they served as a testament to their age. Schools want to save money and that is the sole reason they choose wood veneer.

Solid Wood Furniture feels warm, and real. It will last for a long time with proper maintenance. It won’t experience harsh climates in the comfort of your home, and won’t see nearly as much use as a mass produced, easily replaceable, high school desk.

When you redecorate you’ll be able to just simply stain it to match the new décor. And if it does happen to get a nick or a scuff, some sandpaper will do the trick and make it look brand new!

It’s sturdy and it’s environmentally friendly due to less manufacturing needed to be produced. There’s also live edge furniture which is made by keeping the original bark on the wood, creating a truly timeless, cabin-like feel for your home.

Solid Wood Furniture is the best option for your home, cottage, or even business, if you want a quality, one of a kind, finish that may literally stand the test of time.

What is Live Edge Furniture?

If you haven’t heard of the term “live edge” before, you’ve at least more than likely seen and admired a few pieces without realizing it.  This type of furniture could also be referred to as “natural edge”.  Pieces are made while retaining part or all of the natural outer edge of the tree being used, creating a gorgeous and unique look with rustic appeal.  Some craftspeople even choose to leave the bark intact, although those who remove it do so because it has a tendency (depending on the use of the furniture or architectural piece) to break off anyway. 

While most tables and shelves are made in either square, rectangle or round shapes, and have their edges perfectly smoothed out, a live edge table or shelf will highlight the natural curves of the wood, and the unique characteristics of the tree it was made from.  What would normally be seen as “imperfections” in the wood and bark are actually turned into positive and much sought after traits.

Compared to most factory made furniture, live edge furniture is considered to be far more environmentally friendly. It brings out the custom furniture appeal because the shape isn’t smoothed or cut into perfect geometric shapes, more of the tree can be retained as part of the finished piece.  When more of one tree can be used, fewer trees are required, meaning that the environment is affected less than other tradition furniture manufacturing.  An even bigger benefit to our forests is that most of the trees being used actually come from already dead or dying trees or from their root systems.  With so much dead and standing wood being salvaged, fewer living trees need to be harvested, even as live edge becomes more popular.

The creation process of live edge furniture is more environmentally friendly as well.  Using far fewer machines, craftsmen and carpenters instead opt for hand tools to help preserve the natural state of the wood they use in their pieces.   Drawknives, chisels, sandpaper, and other hand tools form the bulk of the necessary items from which quality furniture springs to life.   The pieces are generally rubbed with oil which helps seal the moisture in and protect the wood. With most of the work being done by hand, the energy being used in this industry is far less than that of a standard furniture producer.  The pieces hold the character and personality of their creators, giving them a feel that a mass produced table or shelf simply can’t compare with.

Despite what you might initially think, live edge furniture lends itself well to a variety of styles and home decor treatments.  You certainly don’t have to live in a log cabin with a woodstove and arrangement of furs to compliment these beautiful pieces, and in fact, this type of furniture has been highlighted in some of the most fashionable homes in the country.  The design is extremely versatile and can add a unique and environmentally friendly statement piece to a range of different homes, no matter your other decor choices.