When shopping for furniture, it is good to have a bit of basic knowledge of how wood is used in furniture. The type of wood products used, and how they are used, determines the quality and durability of the furniture. Not all furniture that is called “wood” is solid, quality wood. We want you to be an informed shopper when looking for the best.

Here, at Pumpkin Patch Market, you can be sure that our dedicated, Amish, craftsmen use time tested design and construction methods, which result in long lasting, heirloom quality furniture. When we say a piece of furniture is made of solid wood, you can believe it!

Learn About Different Wood Products

Let’s take a moment to define some of the terms you will encounter when buying furniture. We will give you the definition and what the material is used for.


Plywood is a very common form of wood used in furniture. Plywood is made of thin layers of wood glued together to form sheets. The different layers have the grain running different directions, to make it very strong and stable. The surface sheet can be any wood, but is thin, making repairs very hard to do without visible damage. Plywood is usually used to give superior strength to inner structural parts of furniture.

Particle Board

Particle board is basically what it sounds like. Chips and sawdust, mixed with resin and pressed into sheets. Although it can be used where stability is needed,  it isn’t used where it is visible, unless covered by veneer.

MDF Board

MDF, or medium density fiberboard, is like particle board except the fibers used are much smaller. It is heavier than particle board, and has no grain. It has to be painted or covered in veneer, since it cannot be stained.


Veneer is a thin sheet of wood that has been peeled from a log. It is glued to other wood surfaces, to give the appearance of solid wood. You will sometimes see stunning furniture decorated with areas of exotic wood species, or even completely covered. Though veneered pieces can be expensive and are very beautiful, veneer is not structural, and can be used to conceal cheap wood products.


Laminates are low quality, and rarely actual wood. Most laminates are a plastic material over a cheap substrate, and are usually printed with a photo of a wood surface. Although easy to clean, you will not find wood laminates in quality furniture.

Look for Signs Of Quality

So how do you make sure you are getting solid wood furniture?

  • Take a flashlight with you when shopping. Don’t be afraid to look under furniture or turn it over. You shouldn’t see layers of wood showing anywhere. The grain on a board should match all the way around. If you can see the end grain, it should show curved growth rings, not flat layers. Drawers should have solid wood sides, backs, and bottoms, which can be checked by removing a drawer and checking edges. Dovetails are common in solid wood drawers. Don’t panic if you find a bit of heavy plywood inside items such as recliners or large furniture, it is used to give strength, but it shouldn’t be used on any visible wood parts.
  • Ask detailed questions. Sales staff at quality stores, are experts at describing how hardwood furniture is built, stained, and maintained for years to come. If they appear uninformed, ask to chat with someone else or visit a different store.
  • Be cautious of fancy terms, like: reclaimed, solid-wood veneer, or “recovered wood from vintage buildings in Costa Rica.” Stores should clearly communicate if their furniture is solid wood or not.

Why You Should Choose Solid Wood

Nothing can beat the feeling of owning solid hardwood furniture. If you want to build furniture the way it used to be, solid wood is what you use. If you want furniture that will last into the future, solid wood is the way to go.

You may have heard that solid wood can crack, or change dimensions with humidity changes. But, that is a mark of genuine wood. It can also add unique character to a piece that has been handed down for generations. Our builders select only the finest pieces of lumber, make sure they are dried properly, and carefully build superior products.

Another advantage to solid wood furniture is that surface damage can be sanded out and the piece refinished if necessary. You can’t do that with veneer or other wood imitations. Ultimately, that becomes money lost.

Start Shopping the Smart Way

Buying solid wood furniture from Pumpkin Patch Market takes away all the guesswork and uncertainty. When you combine solid hardwoods with our traditional Amish craftsmanship, attention to detail, and our emphasis on customer satisfaction, the end result is a fine piece of furniture you will be proud to own for years to come.

Stop by our store any time and let us show you how real quality hardwood furniture can fill your home with warmth and timeless beauty.