- At home I have all the furniture and the carpentry made of wood, I like it because it is natural, noble, warm, nice…

- Come on! You have got no conscience or what? Don’t you know we are deforesting all forests?!

- Yes, of course I know it, but I do not have a single brand new piece of furniture! The bookshelf was my great grand-father’s, the dining table from a neighbor that left the city, the chairs I got them from a restaurant that were changing their furniture, the bedside table I found it at the street and it has been left as new, the sofa… ah no, the sofa, yes we bought it, but to a manufacturers who only uses local wood that has been achieved by sustainable wood production. And the beds we also bought them and there is nothing particular about them, because we had not found any interesting option.

- … Oh… I see. And to think that I had given up wood as a good ecologist….

Wood is renewable, lasting, reusable and if it does not contain synthetic products, easily recyclable and even compostable… and furthermore it is combustible. We have good possibilities of furnishing a house without spending new resources.

How can we go about it:

Consumerism has also entered in furniture sector, mainly through Ikea. Furniture consumption is quite bound to the rhythm of construction of housings. Let’s not fall down in an overconsumption of furniture and let’s choose quality ones so that they last.

How can we go about it:

  • Let us wonder why has arisen for us the need of changing furniture. If it is because we are not satisfied with the life we have, it is better that we change more important things than furniture.
  • Changing of place or painting the furniture can help us not to become tired of them.
  • Joints hold more if the pieces fit together than if they are only glued. This is especially important at the joint between the back and the arms of the chairs (the back endures many pushes). If we have to sit down for a long time ahead it is better that it has arms that help us to change our position.
  • Tables that don’t move when receiving side drives.
  • Wardrobes that the back piece be strong (as it holds all the structure).

The wood extraction may contribute to deforestation or either to be a life giving resource to forests and plantations, depending on the way they are handled. If we want furniture of solid wood, let us see that they are made out of wood coming from sustainable exploitations.

How can we go about it:

  • The FSC label (Forest Stewardship Council) identifies the wood has been managed according to sustainable parameters either in forests or plantations. Let us see which furniture manufacturers use FSC wood in our country.
  • In order to promote the local raw materials, we should ask the vendors about the origin of the wood, either if it is virgin or reused. Many times they will not know about it, but they will know that we want to ascertain it.
  • Tropical wood, the less the better. In this case it is especially important that it has a certificate, since tropical forests are the ones which in more cases are exploited in an unsustainable, illegal and violent way.

The planks type MD (“medium density”, also called MDF) and chipboard is fibres glued together, wood particles that may come in part of wood waste fibres from carpentry, gardening and pallets… They are made using a synthetic resin containing urea and formol, an irritating substance catalogued as possibly carcinogenic that will always emanate in lower or higher quantities. In order to moderate curb down the consumption of virgin wood, let us look for MD furniture or chipboard with a low contents of formol.

How can we go about it:

  • The MD planks and chipboard category E1 use a lot less formol than others. As we do not have the habitude to ask for it, it is easy that neither the vendor nor the manufacturers know it, but let us insist, there is plenty of production and if they look for it, they will find it.
  • The planks covered by laminate (called veneer) have a similar looking like solid wood, but they cannot be so much worked upon (decorative moulding, etc.). The wood panels (melamine and formica) can also look like the grains of wood.

For wood treating are usually employed products having thinners that on being applied they liberate volatile organic compounds, VOC, which are contaminating and toxic. Let us treat the furniture or let us seek the ones which are treated with natural products that contain at most a little proportion of lightly toxic substances.

How can we go about it:

All kinds of wood get spoilt with water and knocks, solid wood also with sun. The solid wood can be repaired. The plank if blown by water can be arranged a little, but will not have any more the same aspect. But if we treat them well, all kind of furniture can last for many years.

How can we go about it:

  • Not having furniture in humid places, drying them well if they get wet, let us usetable cloths to avoid scratches, curtains to avoid direct sunshine. …
  • Don’t let them endure strengths for which they have not been designed (for example balancing a chair).
  • To make the wood shine we can clean it with a soft cloth wet with a vinaigrette of oil and vinegar.
  • When the piece of furniture is of no further use to us let us give it away to somebody else or we can leave it at second-hand circuits (for example in many towns there is day where you can leave them on the street in case somebody else wants to collect it). Or if it cannot be reused, we can use it for burning or take it to a dump.

Solid wood can be attacked by woodworms and termites. Let us prevent it and if we find any of these in a piece of furniture, let us eliminate them immediately.

How can we go about it:

  • For prevention. To apply borax diluted in water. According to a homemade recipe, it is good to place fresh acorns at the piece of furniture: their odours will attract the woodworms and they will not deposit their eggs on the furniture but on the acorns. The wood that has been varnished, painted or polished makes it more difficult for woodworms to penetrate than wood without any treatment.
  • For curing. Let us examine regularly the furniture looking for small holes or sawdust, which are signals that there are woodworms. If we find them, we can do two things,
    • To apply an anti woodworms product (all of them are synthetic since no natural one with total effectiveness has been discovered). It is convenient to introduce it through the holes with a syringe and to damp well the furniture with a brush. Afterwards, it is convenient to cover up the piece of furniture with a plastic during one week.
    • To take the piece of furniture to a service of treatment by temperature: there the temperature is lowered until woodworms die because they get frozen.