Solid wood is a material that has been used to make furniture for centuries. But if you are looking for solid wood furniture manufacture there are some questions that you should be asking the factory. Most of these questions have to do with how they are able to control the wood and wood moisture in their facilities.
Some of the things we look at when we go into a new solid wood furniture manufacture is if they have in-house kiln wood drying. We also like to know if they understand how to properly join the wood and if they have the equipment to do it. Also if the manufacturer is in a hot and tropical climate, if they have a dry room to help control the wood moisture levels. We like to work with factories that will cut and shape all the wood themselves and also have in-house finishing facilities.
You can find out more about solid wood by checking out our short story below.
Does the Factory Have a Wood Kiln?
One of the most important things that we will look at when we are considering solid wood manufacturers is to see if the factory has any in-house wood kiln-drying facilities. This of course is the best if they have a the facilities to dry the wood right on site.
Here are the reasons why we look to see a kiln on site:
- Control of Wood Moisture – If they have a facility on-site, especially in a tropical location as South China, Vietnam, or the Philippines, it helps with the control of the wood moisture levels.
- They Control the Moisture Level – An in-house wood kiln also means that they control the moisture level of the wood. It is in their interest to make sure the wood is dried to the appropriate level.
- Understanding of Moisture – If they have the wood kiln drying machines on-site it also shows me that the factory has the knowledge of wood drying and how the wood should be dried.
Some factories may not have all the kiln wood drying on-site and that is OK, but if you do not see any kilns or if you take a factory tour and do not see the kilns then you need to ask them where do they get their kiln-dried wood from and how do they control the wood moisture. This is a very important and key question when you are manufacturing solid wood furniture.
Controlling the wood moisture is one of the most important things that any solid wood factory must do. If they cannot or do not really understand how to control the wood moisture there is a very good chance the wood pieces will crack.
Does the Factory Know How To Join the Wood?
Next to controlling the wood moisture, you also want to be sure that they know how to properly join the wood together. Most solid wood will need to be joined together. There are several ways it can be joined but some of the more common ones are:
Finger joint Joining
The Finger joint is where the wood is sliced in such a way that it joins like two sets of fingers put together. This kind of joining is also known as a comb joint. To do a finger joint the factory must have the machines to make this kind of joining of the wood.
The reason they do this kind of joining is because it is usually much stronger than a butt joints. The advantage is that with a finger joint you have a very strong bond that will strength the wood itself.
The disadvantage is, that depending on your finish, the finger joint can sometimes show on the surface of the furniture. This could hurt the design of your overall piece.
A butt joint in wood joining is when two pieces of material are joined by simply placing their ends together. In this case, the ends are both a flat surface and glue is used to join them together.
The butt joint is the simplest way to join wood together, but it is also the weakest as the join will depend mainly on the glue to hold it together. So that is why there are different types of butt joints as:
- Nailed butt joints – A small nail is used together with the glue. This kind of nail butt joint is not used so much in furniture making.
- Dowel butt joint – This is where a simple dowel is made and then glue is applied with the dowel. The dowel helps to strengthen the joint.
- Biscuit Butt Joint – This is a fairly new kind of construction. A small wooden disk, which is many times out of birch wood, is placed and glued between the wood pieces.
- Screw Butt Joints – There are several types of butt joints that also use screws in them to join the wood together.
Does the Factory Have a Dry Room?
A dry room is not the same as a kiln but is a room that was set up as a temperature control room. This room will usually have limited humidity and moisture so as to stabilize the wood.
A dry room is especially important if you are producing furniture in a tropical climate that has a lot of humidity and moisture in the air. Moisture can and will get into the wood once the wood is kiln-dried.
A dry room will ensure that the raw wood furniture pieces can be put into a stable environment and the moisture can be taken out of them again until their moisture level is steady.
Does the Factory Cut and Shape All the Wood Themselves?
We like to work with solid wood factories that shape and cut all their own wood pieces and do not have others do it. Some factories may send some out, but if they are doing the majority in-house this helps you and your inspectors to clearly see the entire manufacturing and production process.
Also if they do all their own shaping in-house then if there are any issues or problems you can quickly find a way to solve or change them. It is much harder to do this if you have to wait for someone to change something in another town or even province.
Does the Factory Have Their Own In-House Finishing?
One of the most important things to also look at in solid wood furniture manufacturing is if the facility has its own in-house finishing. This is very important as finishing is the last step before packing the furniture pieces and you do not want to have the finished pieces be moving all over the place before packing.
Also if a piece of furntiure’s finish is not quite right, you can usually correct it at the factory and get it right as long as the factory does all their own in-house finishing. If they do not, then this is much harder.
Solid wood is a fabulous material to use for home furniture items, but manufacturing a solid wood piece of furniture is also quite complicated. If you can go into a factory ask them these questions and make sure they have the correct equipment and facilities, this will help ensure they can produce the quality solid wood furniture that you need.
What is Solid Wood?
Solid wood furniture is furniture that is manufactured and produced from lumber that comes directly from trees. The wood is cut, treated, kiln-dried, and then shaped to manufacture the furniture pieces. No two pieces of solid wood furniture are exactly the same as the wood will have different natural grains, knots, and other characteristics that are similar but, not 100% the same.
What is Recycled Pine Furniture?
Reclaimed and recycled wood may seem to be the same thing but they are not exactly the same, even though they are both solid wood. Recycled wood is wood that would have otherwise been discarded or not used. Wood is a naturally sustainable as material as it can be regrown and replaced. There are a variety of furniture shapes and styles that can be used to make recycled pine furniture.