Furniture Materials Glossary
Construction Matters: Our Materials Glossary Tells You What You Need to Know
Woods & Synthetic Woods
The furniture we carry is made from many different materials, giving our pieces a wide range of quality, comfort, and affordability. It is very important for every customer to find the right balance that meets their own individual needs. That being said, it can be extremely useful for one to be familiar with the different materials commonly used in furniture construction. Whether you are shopping on a budget or you want the ultimate in luxury, this guide will point you in the right direction!
Solid wood furniture is considered the best quality furniture on the market, and if you are purchasing furniture that will be in your home for a long time, it is a very smart investment. Even with wear, solid wood gains character and charm and becomes a part of your family. Solid wood furniture is usually crafted with attention to detail that includes dovetailed joints, wood on wood drawer glides, and strong protective finishes.
Hardwood solids, in particular, are cut from the trunks of deciduous hardwood trees. Among the most popular of these are oak and maple, which are commonly used for constructing furniture and cabinetry. And don?t forget, no two pieces of solid wood furniture are the same, so your furniture will be completely unique. Look for hardwood solids in all types of furniture, including armoires, beds, and bar stools.
Asian Hardwoods, Parawood, & Rubberwood
Asian hardwood is also referred to as parawood, rubberwood, and tropical hardwood. Mainly from Southeast Asia, this wood is as strong as maple and is often referred to as Malaysian Oak because of its durability and strength.
The trees used for this wood are native to the Amazon region of South America. In the 19th Century their seeds were transported to England for germination and the resulting seedlings were brought to Malaysia and planted permanently (thus the name Asian hardwood).
Furthermore, the trees are used to produce latex for 25-30 years prior to being cut down for furniture construction. This ecologically friendly process has spawned the name rubberwood. Look for all three types of wood in a wide range of furniture pieces, including bar sets, ottomans, and dressers.
Engineered Wood / MDF
MDF is a common abbreviation for medium density fiberboard, or engineered wood. MDF is made out of multiple wood fibers glued together under heat and pressure, and is generally very affordable and often just as durable as solid wood. Furniture made with MDF can imitate the look of real wood while meeting the budget requirements of most families.
MDF offers several advantages over alternate materials, while not being too costly. It can be made with recycled materials, and possesses no grain so it can be drilled and/or cut without damaging the surface. Also, MDF is often sturdy enough to be nailed together, and yet it's light enough to be shipped cheaply and easily. Look for MDF in many children's furniture, decorative fireplaces, and table tops.
Wood veneers are constructed of thin slices of real wood which are adhered to the surface of a piece of furniture to give it the glowing appearance of real wood. Veneers can be laid over less costly and lighter materials to save production and shipping costs, or added to a very expensive piece to showcase a particularly beautiful grain pattern. Any smooth and flat material can have veneer laid over it, making this an extremely versatile and popular method of constructing furniture.
The slices used for veneering are generally trimmed from the most attractive parts of the wood source. A saw was originally used for this procedure, but is now commonly replaced by a stationary knife. This reduces the dust that is caused by sawing, and also allows more slices to be cut from each individual log. Look for wood veneers on a wide range of furniture, including table tops, fireplace mantels, and headboards.
Laminates consist of a layer of wood or other product, such as paper, which is applied over a wood frame and sealed with a protective layer of thermosetting resin. They are used in a wide variety of products (especially office furniture), as they can be extremely durable and stand up to heavy use. In addition you are virtually guaranteed that the finish on your products will match what you already have. Unlike real wood, laminates should not fade or have variations from piece to piece. They are also very easy to clean with just a soft cloth. Look for laminates on children?s furniture, office desks, and coffee tables.
Wrought iron means "worked iron" in Old English. Wrought iron refers to metal that is hammered or bent into shape as opposed to being cast or poured at a foundry. The result is a metal that has a roughed up surface as opposed to the smooth machine-made look of alternate metal products. Because of this coarse surface, wrought iron is able to retain a thicker layer of finish than smoother metal.
Working metal by hand has been done for over 5,000 years, to make functional items such as furniture, as well as art.
The wrought iron of today most commonly consists of mild steel, which was discovered in 1856 and is made by melting cast iron and removing the carbon and slag. Look for wrought iron on high quality pot racks, pub table sets, and fireplace accessories.
Stainless steel refers to shiny steel that contains chromium, making it resistant to corrosion. Not only is stainless steel 100% recyclable, there are no coatings applied to the surface. This is great for the environment, because coatings can pollute the atmosphere when broken down during recycling.
The look of stainless steel is great for a modern or retro d
Autograph collecting tips
Learn how to collect autographs from celebrities and famous people for almost nothing!
Ever wanted your favorite movie and TV star's autograph? How about your favorite author? Or sports personality? Here's a little secret: autographs of public personalities are quite easy obtained! All you need is some stationery, some postage and a few addresses. And it's a relatively cheap hobby to take up, too.
Most celebrities - actors and actresses, authors, sports personalities, politicians and other people in the public light - oblige through-the-mail autograph requests as a part of their public relations. In most cases, they will provide a signed photo of themselves or sign items you send them.
The first thing you'd want to do is find the addresses of celebrities whose autographs you want to collect. You can find mailing addresses of actors and actresses care of their agents or their show (you can find the address in the rolling credits at the end of the show). If you know of celebrities who are currently in town you could send a request care of their hotel or the theatre/stadium they are acting/playing in. Requests can be sent to authors through their publishers, and politicians generally have their mailing address well publicized. The best place to get celebrity addresses, however, is the Internet - there are a lot of sites online that feature autograph collecting and good addresses to send to. www.autographcentral.com is a good starting point for address lists.
Your through-the-mail requests should include your request letter, any items for signing and a SASE. Your request letter should at all times be polite, neat and short - no more than one typed or handwritten page. Also, it's good to be sincere when making your request - it helps to write about the celebrity's achievements. Your letter should make it very clear that you are requesting an autograph. You could include with your request a photograph or index cards you would like the celebrity to sign. Remember that at no time is the celebrity obligated to send you an autograph, although most of them do.
Tools of the Trade
Autograph collecting is relatively cheap; a lot of the money you spend will be on stationery. For starters, you will need 9" by 12" envelopes for your SASEs. These should have your address as both the addressee and the sender. It helps if you mark clearly on the corner the words "DO NOT BEND" so whatever sent to you doesn't get mishandled. Of course, you need envelopes large enough to contain the SASEs and request letter. Business-sized envelopes are recommended - the SASEs can be folded. Lastly, you need the required postage on the SASE. If you don't have the same kind of postage from the celebrity because you live in a different countries, try getting International Reply Coupons (IRCs) from your post office. These coupons can be exchanged for postage of equivalent value internationally.
Building the collection
Depending on how many and how frequent you send requests, you could get successful replies as early as two weeks to maybe a year. For most part, you should get authentic, sometimes even personalized, autographs through the mail. Be prepared, however, for unsuccessful replies; some of your requests might get rejected or be unreplied. The key to this hobby is to send requests frequently and regularly to ensure a steady stream of requests coming in.
You might want to start carefully filing and storing your autographs or frames them from display. Generally, you should keep them in a cool, dry place, filing them in clear pockets; if you plan to frame them and display them, remember that the images tend to fade in sunlight and time.