Furniture Terms Oaklandsfurniture

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Furniture Terms

Buying furniture can be a minefield of technical terms. at we have written Here are some of the terms you are likely to hear when you're browsing online about furniture:

Breadboard ends: A method of construction often seen on table tops. A board or piece of wood is fixed at right angles to a series of timber lengths. This helps to control movement within the wood by restricting its natural tendency to twist and warp.

Butt joint: One of the simplest ways to join two pieces of wood. This joint is usually held in place by a small corner block or piece of dowel.

Classic Chinese joinery: Usually seen on solid wood items, these traditional techniques hold furniture together without metal pins, nails or screws. Typical joining methods are mortise and tenon, and tongue and groove.

Dovetail joint: The classic way to make a join, with interlocking sections resembling the tails of a line of birds. Most commonly found on drawer fronts.

Finger joint: Another joint often found in drawers. Small 'fingers' or slots are cut into interlinking pieces of wood to 'lock' them together.

Grain: The pattern or direction of the fibrous tissue in wood. It generally marks the end of a year's growth.

Knot: Indicated by an oval shaped darker area in the timber, this is the point at which either a branch or side shoot grew out of the main tree trunk. It is a natural characteristic of wood.

Laminate: A man-made product produced by bonding layers of wood to another material (again often wood based such as MDF, see below.).

MDF: Made by compressing wood fibres, resin and wax under high pressure into panels. This resilient man-made product provides a stable and highly durable base for plywood, particle board and solid timber.

Mitre: A joint made by cutting a 45 degree angle along the end grain of 2 pieces of wood before fixing them together. Most often used on table tops, or in making the frame of a piece of furniture

Mortise and tenon: Used on chairs and table legs, a router tool cuts a cavity in one piece of wood and a corresponding protrusion is inserted in it. This forms a very strong joint.

Particle board: Used to give furniture structure, this man-made product is produced by compressing wood fragments (like shavings and chips) together with resin.

Peg detailing: Fixing wood together by literally placing 'a square peg in a round hole'

Plantation grown: Usually refers to tropical hardwoods where the timber is grown for harvest and replanted.

Plywood: A number of layers of wood (usually three or five) are glued together. The grain in each successive layer is joined at right angles for greater strength and flexibility.

Recycled or reclaimed timber: Timber from old buildings or furniture made into something new.

Solid wood construction: Furniture made from solid wood.

Veneer: A decorative, highly skilled finish where thin layers of wood are overlaid on the surface of a piece of furniture. Some of the finest furniture has intricate veneers cut from many different timbers.

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