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You will be familiar with the phrase “solid oak” describing furniture to give it a perceived level of high quality.
We first started building solid oak tables because we assumed that oak was the best quality material to use but I wanted to know why. In the highest quality furniture the grain and colour runs all the way through the piece because it will be made from large single pieces of oak from the same tree. The density and composition of oak also make it very strong and durable, so not only does genuine solid oak furniture last a long time but it also ages extremely well. The same natural properties that make oak so strong and durable also allow it to be cut and shaped very accurately by skilled craftsmen.
That also means that good quality oak furniture can be refreshed and refinished at any point in its life so it really doesn’t have any limit to how long it will last as a functional piece of furniture. The lasting benefits of genuine good quality solid oak furniture are quite clear so how do you know what is good quality and how do you know what is real solid oak? English white and red oak is usually very good quality for furniture making but as English foresting is not a large commercial industry, English oak carries a high price tag. The French however, have been growing oak as an industry for many years as it is used in the making of French oak wine barrels which are exported all over the world and they also build a lot of oak frame houses. Oak furniture that is mass produced and imported from China can be made from Chinese or Asian oak, which makes it the cheapest oak furniture but also the least adapted to our climate and therefore it will not age well or last very long.
Better quality imported Chinese oak furniture is made from oak that has been grown in Europe or North America, then shipped to China where it is made into furniture and then exported back to Europe or the USA for sale. Conventionally the logs are then sliced into thinner pieces so they can be dried and used in manufacture and construction.
If not kiln-dried, the sections are stacked outdoors to air-dry and this natural process can take several years depending on this thickness of the material.
What you will see in most furniture described as solid oak is this: small thin pieces of oak that have been laminated (glued) together in layers and then cut out into one large piece to give the appearance of a large single piece of solid oak. A single large oak table top, for example, may indeed be made up of many small pieces of oak glued together to appear as one, so its not really a lie to call it “solid oak”. In thicker chunky oak table tops, to prevent delamination of the thin glued layers of oak, several coats of lacquer are applied to the outside surfaces which seal the laminated pieces together. One problem with a lacquered table top is that it does not have anywhere near the durability of oak so it scratches and scuffs, showing signs of wear and ageing with continued use.
In true solid oak the natural air drying process continues further in the home because the home experiences much dried air than outdoors, with central heating in the winter time. But because true solid oak is 100% natural with no glue holding it together, the ageing simply adds natural character to the furniture and you will have seen these natural splits and cracks in old oak beams. The ultimate consequence of oak that has been glued or laminated together is that is does have a finite lifespan, no matter how well it is cared for. Although the price may initially be attractive, just consider the overall cost both in the price of buying a replacement a few years down the line, the lack of enjoyment, pride and satisfaction in owning and using it regularly plus the negative effect it will have on your room once it starts to look shabby.

For the best looks, durability and ageing choose furniture made from oak that is grown in an area with your climate, from large single pieces of timber rather than small glued-together pieces.
To discover the availability of our solid oak tables, please just fill out this easy form so one of our team can arrange to speak with you and discuss your individual requirements. If you would like prices or other info about any table(s), just fill in the details below and we'll get back to you as quickly as possible. We are absolutely delighted with our table - it is so well made and has quickly become the feature point in our lounge!
Hear the name Tarzan and you’ll almost certainly think of the jungle cry that you have definitely attempted at some point and realised how stupid you sound.
Simple is Beautiful If you’re looking for a solid oak side table that really adds character to a room, there is not much that is more stunning that a simple piece of 100% natural oak.
Because the oak is “green” or unseasoned it may split or crack over time as it dries adding to its character, therefore each piece will be unique even if it has been made the same as another. The features include, a Rustic style and warm colour, 40mm thick top, rounded corners, and stunning drop handles.You won’t regret buying this coffee table! However before handing over your hard-earned money for solid oak furniture you might be interested to know how this description doesn’t always deliver the value you might expect. There are actually around 600 species of oak tree that grow all over the world but, despite its abundance, many species do not make good furniture. Its natural tight sweeping grain, characterful features and huge variety of colours give it a beautiful  natural appearance. Rather than showing signs of its age by looking tired and worn with use, its natural resilience means it will actually develop more character over time; like a fine wine, the best oak furniture improves with age. Other timbers can break up or become weak and brittle but oak can be fashioned into very intricate designs as you will no doubt have seen. Even in the most challenging of environments there are examples of ships still in service that were built from oak hundreds of years ago. The main factors that affect how the oak will last are temperature and humidity so if you’re in the UK then oak grown anywhere in North Western Europe with a similar climate will be the most naturally resilient and long lasting for your home.
The consequence is that it is grown and managed sustainably to ensure a constant supply and makes excellent furniture for the homes of north west Europe.
If you have ever bought or seen this sort of furniture you may have seen it bend or split in places within the first 12 months. Thousands of miles of travel (not to mention a huge carbon footprint) makes this better quality of imported oak furniture longer lasting but more expensive. This is called a “log” once it has been felled and sawmills and many furniture manufacturers buy their oak in logs. So the oak can be used or sold as quickly as possible, pieces under 3” thick can be dried in a kiln which has to be carefully controlled to minimize any loss of the oak’s natural properties. It is obvious to spot this in the immediate change in grain and colour from one small glued piece to the next.

But the glue that holds these smaller oak pieces together does not have the oak’s same lasting strength and durability. This is to prevent moisture entering or leaving the wood which would cause swelling or shrinkage and the layers splitting apart. In fact the drying process is never truly complete as oak actually breathes throughout the year, taking in moisture from the fresh summer air and losing moisture to the dry air as we warm our homes in the winter.
In contrast to this, glued or laminated “solid oak” furniture shows these signs of ageing as unnatural faults or flaws in the material, making the furniture look tired, worn and old.
You will struggle to find any ships or cathedrals still standing that were built from laminated oak beams. If you want real solid oak furniture that will last and continue to look naturally beautiful, then don’t buy furniture made from laminated and lacquered oak boards. Delivery service very good - the guys that assembled table were so patient as we decided upon the best position!! Maybe you have seen one you like already or you’re just looking around for inspiration and want to know what to look out for or avoid at all costs.
It is traditional and elegant, with a beautiful finish and will make a welcome addition to any home. Over time and with repeated use these weaknesses will reveal themselves in the table top showing signs of ageing where the pieces join. It is simply a manmade process that is used to produce a cheap alternative to true solid oak and actually bears only a superficially similar appearance and very limited life span in comparison.
It is really nice to have a finished product delivered by polite and professional gentleman. The prices on the whole Malvern range are deceptively low, the quality is outstanding and you would normally expect to pay much more for a coffee table of this standard. Many thanks for such personal caring service and advice throughout the process of our purchase. There is a spacious shelf underneath to store your books and magazines, and the through drawers are dovetail jointed for extra strength.This coffee table is maintenance free. The surface of the oak is lacquered to seal the wood, so you don’t need to buy any expensive polishes or oils to keep your furniture looking good. This coffee table requires some very simple home assembly, for ease of access it comes with the legs off.

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