We Design and Specify the furniture
All of the ranges exclusive to OAKEA Furniture are designed and specified by us. In our efforts to create better furniture than you will find elsewhere, we emphasise function, aesthetics, and durability. We design and specify everything to make sure our customers are still more than satisfied many years later. For this reason, we use the best and most suitable materials available for each component.
Should a piece of Oak Furniture be made purely of Solid Oak?
It is very rarely the best solution to make a piece of furniture ENTIRELY of solid oak. It is, however, easy - and tempting for marketing purposes - to specify this to a factory, so that it can be sold as Purely Solid Oak Furniture. Many people will respond to this and perceive it as being the best possible quality. We think that this is 'pulling wool over people's eyes'! The problem is that making each and every component of Solid Oak panels is likely to cause significant quality problems. OAKEA furniture is designed to last, to look good and to be functional, so we will always specify the best materials to maximise durability, aesthetics and functionality
For Example a dining table, with a top made of a solid oak panel is asking for problems. Factories and most retailers know this! Anybody working with wood knows this! And yet you will find many retailers who emphasise this, because it sounds good. If you buy a solid Oak Dining Table with a solid oak panel used for a top, this may last and remain perfectly good for many years to come, but it is very likely, if not probable, that the top will split or warp. Solid oak panel is certainly useable as a table top - but if durability, and quality are important features, a solid oak panel is far from the best material for a table top. We specify a thick and chunky Solid Oak Frame for OAKEA table tops, and an insert panel made of fiber board (MDF) with a a thick, high spec oak veneer.
How can I assess which components are best made of solid oak?
In short, where a Solid Oak component is relatively thin, compared to the size, it is bound to warp or crack eventually. So if you buy a Solid Oak Bookcase, for example, you will want to check that the shelves are not just solid Oak Panels, UNLESS, they are fixed, which will hold them in a tight grip. Ideally, adjustable/loose shelves in a Solid Oak Bookcase should be made of a non-solid wood material, veneered fiber board for example. It should be a good quality Oak veneer, of course. There are some horrible examples out there.
Alternatively, the shelves could be made of a Solid Oak Frame with a solid or veneered insert panel. If, however, the shelves are in fact made from Solid Oak Panels, it is important that there are battens screwed onto each shelf underneath it. The Battens should go across the direction of the grain. These will prevent the Oak panel from warping. This solution, however, is potentially not desirable, as it will not look nice. So really, Solid Oak Shelves in Bookcases is a no-no for Solid Oak Bookcases sold by OAKEA!
You will recognise this logic from the doors in your wardrobes or the main doors in your house. If they are made of solid wood, there will be two or more raised fielded panels inserted into a frame construction OR, if the door is a solid wood panel door, there will be two or more rails screwed onto the (back of the) door. Of course, we have not been to your house, but we know this, because no manufacturer of solid oak, solid pine or other solid wood doors will make doors of purely Solid wood Panels. They would probably go out of business if they did, due to the rate of complaints, following warping, cracking etc..
Completely solid Raised Fielded panel doors are made of a Solid Wood Frame with Solid wood insert panels fitted into grooves in the Solid Wood frame. This groove must be deeper than it needs to be to fit the insert panel, giving the (relatively thin) insert panel room to expand. Without this, expansion of the insert panel will crack the frame open leaving gaps in the frame joints. So technically, it is better so use veneered fiber board for the insert panels as this material will not expand or shrink. OAKEA Solid Oak Wardrobes use Veneered MDF panels, inserted into a solid oak frame in doors in designs where the insert panel is flat. These doors look perfect for much longer than they would, had they been entirely solid, as there will be no movement or shrinking in them.
Another example is Side Panels in the Oak Bookcases or Oak Wardrobes. These Side panels will potentially and quite likely shrink a little, if they were made of Solid Oak. The Side Panels are normally fitted in a groove in a Solid Oak Front post and back post. If/when the side panel shrinks it will leave an unfinished line, which could stick out like a sore thumb. You have probably seen this effect before in Solid Wood Furniture. Again for the Somerset Solid Pine Bedroom Furniture, the Solid Pine Wardrobe Sides are made with Solid Pine Raised Field Panels.
How do I know the exact materials my specific OAKEA Furniture is made of?
Should you wish to know the exactly what a piece of an oak furniture unit is made of, please ask us. We can provide this information easily, since we specify it, unlike most other Solid Wood furniture retailers, many of which sell in good faith with incorrect descriptions passed on from their suppliers.