It wasn’t so very long ago that if something was made of wood the only question that needed asking was what kind: pine, oak, cedar, ash and so forth. Now, “wood” can refer to a lot of different things and knowing what those things are can save you a lot of money and frustration.
Why frustration? Well, because knowing what you’re buying will allow you to adjust your expectations when it comes to value. Alternatives to natural wood can be very durable and beautiful, but that often doesn’t stop people from being disappointed when they think they’re buying real wood.
<strong>High-Priced Hardwood </strong>
The simple fact is that most natural hardwoods are expensive. They often take longer to grow, they need more physical land space, and cultivation and care is often more difficult and costly. That means the end product is far pricier than many alternatives.
This has driven the timber industry and wholesale buyers to provide alternatives for customers who want hardwood quality and beauty at a lower price.
<strong>“Fast Wood” and Softwood</strong>
You may have noticed more products on the market that are made of eucalyptus, acacia, Caribbean pine and other less familiar woods. These are considered “fast wood” because they grow quickly and are easy to cultivate.
This wood is as natural as it gets when whole, but is more often used for the commercial production of reconstituted products. The same is often true of softwoods. Trees like pine, cedar and fir grow faster than hardwoods and are less dense, which makes them more suitable for use in composites.
<strong>Identifying Composites </strong>
There are several different types of wood products that are used instead of hardwoods and the reason for their use is typically driven by cost efficiency. Some popular types include:
<li><a href="http://www.atgstores.com/bedroom-sets/prepac-furniture-black-coal-harbor-platform-bed-with-integrated-headboard_g837540.html?isku=6978866&term=mdf&linkloc=searchProductItemsImage" target="_blank">Medium-density fiberboard (MDF)</a></li>
<li>Oriented-strand board (OSB)</li>
<li>Laminate-strand lumber (LSL or "glu-lam")</li>
Engineered wood has many of the same attributes as real wood and is often preferred in some applications for reasons beyond its lower expense. Many types of composites are stronger than lumber of comparable dimensions and also make for a more environmentally efficient use of wood because it’s made of cuttings that would otherwise be discarded.
Different composites use varying techniques to achieve the durability, look and feel that works best for the piece of furniture being constructed. It may involve veneers or the layering of finer wood panels to create a denser material, or both. Some furniture that uses hardwoods in construction will also employ veneers to achieve a <a href="http://www.atgstores.com/sideboards-servers/hekman-7-418-metropolis-buffet-credenza-sideboard_g746546.html?isku=6567789&linkloc=cataLogProductItemsImage" target="_blank">more creative type of finish</a>.
<strong>Design, Strength and Resources </strong>
The beauty of natural wood is undeniable and it’s often the case that no other material is suited to the project. On the other hand, there are some furniture designs that call for a look and level of strength that can only be achieved with a composite.
The broader point is that engineered wood is not a second-class product, but a very intelligent answer to questions involving supply, resources and freedom of design.
<a href="http://www.atgstores.com/" target="_blank">ATGStores.com</a> is proud to offer products crafted in natural wood as well as composites to provide variety that will suit a wide range of budgets, design needs and style preferences.