Metals, cane or rattan, and plastics have their place, particularly for outdoor and patio furniture. However, none of these has the look of high quality solid wood furniture. For accent pieces, yes, metals and even ceramics and glass can look great. A smoked glass top on a coffee table can be very attractive in the correct setting, but for a main dining table you cannot beat solid wood.
A major difference between solid wood and plywood or particleboard is that of endurance and strength. It is not possible to fashion traditional joints using anything other than real wood. You cannot cut mortise and tenon or dovetail joints using particleboard or plywood. Such materials must be joined together using glue, screws, plugs and plastic or metal jointing blocks.
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