The process of transforming a block of wood into a beautiful piece of furniture is a complex one. Read on to find out a little bit more about how furniture manufacturing companies go about doing this.
The drying process
After the timber is delivered to a production facility, it needs to be dried out, in order to reduce its moisture content and thus prevent rot, mildew and mould from developing. This is done using one of two methods: either by placing the wood inside a kiln and using heat to dry it out or by placing it in a well-ventilated area and allowing it to air-dry. This process can take several weeks. After enough time has passed, the wood's water content will be checked using a device called a moisture metre; if its levels are acceptable, it will then be transferred to another area of the facility called the rough mill.
The rough mill
During this stage of the production process, circular saws and other types of equipment are used to break the timber down into smaller pieces which are easier to handle and work with. The wood is then cut and moulded into specific shapes, using a variety of woodwork tools, such as a planer, a spindle moulder and a lathe, after which a sander is used to smooth out unwanted rough textures or sharp edges. At this point, if the product that is being made features metal components (such as a wooden table with cast iron legs, for example), welding machinery will be used to connect these metal components to one another. All of the parts (both wood and metal) are then assembled; specialist, heavy-duty glues and dowels will be used to complete this task.
Varnishing and upholstering
The untreated wooden furniture is then brought into the varnishing workshop. Spray diffusers will be used to add even coats of stain or paint to the products. Once the varnishing work is finished, some furniture manufacturers choose to add an additional coat of urethane, to make the product more resistant to damage caused by exposure to moisture, heat and chemicals. If the product is to be upholstered, this work will be done after the varnish and protective coatings have fully dried.
Quality control and packaging
In most manufacturing facilities of this kind, finished pieces of furniture will be put through multiple, rigorous quality control tests, to ensure that they meet the company's standards. If a product passes this testing stage, it will then be packed in shock-proof, secure packaging in preparation for delivery.