Modern technology has improved much in the way furniture is produced; modern glues are less susceptible to drying up, modern finishes have greater resistance to marking and expensive carved mouldings can be produced for a fraction of the price.
The one thing modern technology hasn’t improved is wood. But then again, what’s to improve? For hundreds of years, the pure beauty of wood furniture has made for treasured family heirlooms.
Although wood has its beauty, it is far from perfect. It’s the nature of wood to have knots, mineral deposits, worm holes and unusual grain patterns. Each piece is as individual as a fingerprint and will take the stain slightly different, even two boards from the same tree. This in inherent to wood and is not a defect unless it interferes with the product giving satisfactory service.
It should also be remembered that manufacturers striving to obtain a particular “look” incorporate wood’s imperfections and other slight irregularities into the finished product. This is especially true of casual styles like country and colonial. If such production “flaws” are objectionable, then perhaps you should be looking at something more formal.
You may notice a gap in the centre of leaf tables or at the ends where half-tops and filler leaves meet. Solid wood will expand and contract due to humidity conditions in the home. The extent of the gapping will vary as humidity conditions change. Expansion and contraction causes these gaps and is a natural characteristic of solid wood.