Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hardwood vs MDF in the Manufactur of Luxury Jewelry Boxes

solid cherry hardwood jewelry chest
Solid Cherry Hardwood Jewelry Chest

One of the considerations to make when purchasing a luxury jewelry box is the type of material used to make it.  The predominant method the use of a material referred to as MDF, which stands for medium density fibreboard, which incorporates high grade, composite material with wood.  The other method is to manufacture from solid wood.  Why not always use solid wood, and how do I determine which to buy?  I’m glad you asked!

MDF Manufacturing
The main issue when using wood as a luxury, quality material is its longevity.  Wood absorbs moisture (in fact, it needs moisture!) at different temperatures.  This simply means that wood will bend and warp over time due to natural changes in temperature and humidity.  As an aside, this is the original reason for painting wood, to seal in moisture and limit the negative effects of temperature and humidity.

Composite materials that are combined with the wood have a lower density (more microscopic air pockets), which absorbs the contraction/expansion of wood under temperature and humidity changes in the air.  This results in greater flexibility, making the jewelry box less susceptible to warping & bending.  The advantage of this for a jewelry box is obvious:  it is almost guaranteed to hold up over the decades.  The use of ornate inlay, polished finishes, plush interiors, unique designs, and quality hardware, combined with the durability of MDF, is what gives MDF construction its luxurious qualities.  MDF is used by top manufacturers because it is highly resistant to bending or warping, which means the jewelry box is likely to remain as beautiful in 30 years as it was the day it was made, with basic care of course!

Solid Wood in Manufacturing
Most people view solid wood as the highest quality, and this is partially true.  Top quality solid wood manufacturing is generally more expensive, this is due to the extra effort required to make quality wood furnishings from hardwood:  greater emphasis on curing and sealing the wood, along with much tighter tolerances at the seams.

The attraction of solid hardwoods is understandable, especially for luxury jewelry boxes.  Solid hardwood construction leads to jewelry boxes that are much heavier, up to 30%, which implies higher quality and durability. Also, the wood can have beautiful patterns and individual attributes that makes the solid wood box completely unique, like a fingerprint.  And, in the case of cherry, the beautiful smell is timeless and unmistakable.

In conclusion, solid hardwood construction will always have the top appeal (and generally higher cost) for luxurious jewelry boxes, but don’t let this dissuade you from non-solid hardwoods:  they are (practically) guaranteed to last, and will look just as beautiful, especially when inlaid with exotic woods like Bubinga!

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