Not sure what materials you’d like to have included in our project. It can be a minefield for the professionals let alone the consumer so I hope this guide helps you get a basic understanding of what is available and materials that may suit your needs the best.
Typical hardwoods include walnut, oak, teak, sapele, iroko and Beech, but the list is very very long! As the heading suggests, they are harder and more dense that typical softwoods. This is due to the slow growing nature of these trees. Mostly, hardwoods are much more robust, resilient and often reserved for high end furniture and products that require increased durability and a superior finish. For this reason and many others such as slow drying times prices are far higher than those of their softer counterparts.
Although prefixed with the work soft, don’t be fooled. You wouldn’t want to be hit over the head with a softwood plank! Essentially softwoods are conifers. They are typically less dense, lighter in colour, faster growing and drying as well as much easier to machine. For these primary reasons softwood is generally far cheaper and serves as a useful construction timber. Some furniture applications are suitable for softwoods but generally hardwood are more desirable. Common examples of softwood include: pine, larch and cedar.
The range of sheet materials in the UK is staggering and a sheet is normally supplied in a size of 8×4 feet. The thickness generally ranges from 3mm right up to 25mm and sometimes even thicker than that. There are several types available for many different applications. Take plywood as an example. Plywood is made up of several layers of wood laminated together in an alternating grain orientation for strength (if that makes sense). Ply has various types and grades available from basic low quality shuttering ply to high end double A faced hardwood ply used in furniture making. Another very widely used sheet material is MDF standing for medium density fibreboard. This is constructed essentially from wooden fibres bound with resin to a very smooth and uniform surface. There are pros and cons we will describe further down the page.
This is a growth area. With the constant strive for innovate, durable and most importantly sustainable materials, new composite materials and being conceived all the time. From wood fibres mixed with plastics and fillers to compact laminates formed of recycled paper fibres that have been dipped in resin and dried to form an extremely durable and robust surface. There are a whole host of materials and finishes for a variety of applications that have really opened up what can be achieved with furniture, screening and a host of other applications both interior and exterior. Idokodo DJ desks for example utilise compact laminates to be able to offer a consistent, ultra durable and replicable finish every time.
What materials do you use for a real wood finish cabinetry?
Commonly we use hardwood veneered MDF for the core and edge band with solid woods of the same species. We find the combination for the the most stable and durable finish. All the benefits of modern materials with a traditional solid wood finish.
If I were to want a paint finish on a bookcase or furniture piece what materials are used?
Due to its stability and potential for a quality paint finish, we use MDF as. the primary material with addition wood types for trimming and finishing. With the detail in the finish and the the right steps taken in the painting process it can provide an unbeatable finish.
Do you carry out your own finishes?
For sealing processes and wax finishes, yes we do. For varnishing, painting and other more detailed finishes we outsource this work to specialists. We have very high standards and do not have the in house capabilities to produce a finish worthy of the pieces we create. We often do and are happy to supply all our furniture and accessories un finished to allow you, the client to utilise your own resource to tie in with your existing interior. Clients often use their own decorator/finisher for this.
What about hardware, do you use a particular supplier or do you have a catalogue?
We remain flexible on hardware choice as not to limit the options. Often when creating one off pieces we create the piece first and let it talk to us, telling us what hardware it wants! (seriously, our furniture speaks to us!). Having said that though we do lean towards certain brands for example Blum for concealed hinges etc..
For the personalised products like logo name plaques and house numbers what materials are best??
It all depends on the application. If it were a name plaque or house number that is going to live outside or subject to moisture then appropriately finished hardwoods or even composites are the way to go. For interior applications the possibilities are endless as our CNC routing machine can cut a wide variety of materials.