Explanation of Wood Content by the Furniture Industry.

"All Wood" usually means this item contains particle board. When you see the description "All Wood Product" it actually means the "wood" parts all came from a tree. Remember... particle board and sawdust all come from trees!

"Engraved Wood Products" means the wood grain that you see has been printed. This technique often takes particle board with a filler and prints a wood grain much like a newspaper. Remember ...your newspaper is an "all wood printed product".

"Solid Wood and Select Veneers" usually means the round parts, such as legs and posts, are solid wood; but the flat panels, such as tops, sides, or shelves are built of veneered panels. These veneers are made by gluing one layer of wood over another type of wood or wood product. Veneers are used in some of the worlds finest furniture to create beautiful inlays; but in many cases veneers are used as a cost savings measure.

"Engineered Wood" is just a fancy name for different types of plywood.  For certain special applications such as curved or shaped designs engineered wood can be stronger and more durable than solid wood.

"Solid Wood" is often regarded as one of the best materials for furniture construction. It's use is often limited by price considerations or design limitations.

How to determine quality of furniture?

Read above and below for construction information.

Do the better known brand names make the best quality furniture?

Not in all cases.  It is expensive to pay for promotional events and television and movie coverage to create brand name awareness.  You can often find a smaller less promoted brand that will offer better quality for a lower price.

Upholstered Furniture Construction...Sofas, Chairs, Recliners, Love seats, Chaise Lounges, Etc.

What does it take to build a quality sofa?  recliner?  sleeper?

Frame...The top quality frames are constructed of solid hardwoods and perhaps a heavy plywood to aid in creating shapes and designs.

  • Hardwoods...Maple, Oak, Beech, Ash, Hickory are some of the more common better quality hardwoods.  Hardwood gives great strength and has the ability to hold a screw or staple securely.
  • Plywood or "Engineered Wood" provides excellent strength if thickness is adequate.  But doesn't hold screws or staples as well as a solid hardwood.
  • "All Wood" if the manufacturer or salesperson describes the frame as an "all wood product" ask what parts are made of what types of wood!  If the answers sound uncertain or your observation of the overall tailoring and pattern matching don't look like quality... then pick another brand.

Photo shows the construction of a Masterfield Wing Chair featuring a Chippendale style leg with stretcher base. This cut-away chair is designed to illustrate the solid hardwood frame with 8-way hand-tied coil spring construction.  (Masterfield is one of our top quality upholstery brands offering features such as hardwood frames, deluxe cushions, 8-way hand tied coil spring construction, superior padding, self decking, and over 1500 fabrics available on each style of sofa, love seat, chair,chaise, ottoman, or sleeper sofa.)

Springs...The top quality companies will use an "eight-way hand-tied coil spring" construction which is widely viewed to provide the best overall comfort and durability.  In plain English, this design uses heavy coil springs made from heat tempered steel which are attached to steel bands that run across the bottom of the frame both front to back and side to side.  These coil springs are then connected to each other and/or to the frame with a heavy cording that is hand-tied in 8 different directions to provide a very comfortable "ride" with great durability.  This is the quality that is often passed from generation to generation. 

Masterfield and Temple are two of the companies using this type quality construction.  We currently display over 40 sofas, loveseats, chairs and ottomans featuring 8-way hand-tied construction. (See our Living Room page under the products tab or our Closeout page to see photographs of a few of our 8 way hand tied selections)

Padding...The better padded the items will result in greater comfort, better performance, and longer fabric life.  Feel along the sides, arms, and edges of the item; if it feels well padded all along the frame the odds of having a quality item just went up!

Cushions...Most cushions today  are made of some combination of foam and dacron.  Unzip the cushion and see if the cushion core is lined; has an inner fabric to protect the cushion from the backing on the fabric and to prevent fibers from migrating through the fabric. (While the cushion is unzipped look at the seams along the welt or the panels to see if there is plenty of fabric to hold the seam or it could come unraveled easily.)

Fabric...Too many choices...that's what most customers tell me.  With each of the companies we offer having from 200 to 1500 fabrics each; the fabric selection has never been more extensive.  The colors available are almost unlimited.  The patterns are extensive.  The personal choices allow you to create a look just right for your preferences and your room!  At Carter's we specialize in working with you to help you avoid mistakes and to select fabrics that are durable yet comfortable.  We help you design your room...we don't design just a trendy room that you'll never like!  Your room should reflect your family's style, taste, and needs.  (Our patience is the key to assisting you in achieving your comfort and your satisfaction!)