What are Composite / Engineered Wood Products and Replicated Wood Grain?

The terms “composite wood products” or “replicated wood grain” refer to a family of engineered wood panels that include particleboard, medium density fiberboard (MDF) and hardboard. Particleboard is made from small wood particles pressed together with glue under extreme heat and pressure to make a solid panel. MDF and Hardboard are made the same except the wood particles are further refined into individual fibers to provide a smooth edge to the panel.
In general, composite wood products turn wood waste and residuals into useful products and protect the environment. A USDA Forest Service study shows that, on average, only about 63% of a harvested tree can be used to make solid lumber. When Engineered Wood and other products are made from the remaining wood, over 95% of the tree can be saved.

Engineered Wood is the result of decades of research and development aimed at designing a structurally superior wood product for use in the construction of today’s furniture, cabinets and other home furnishings. It provides consistent, uniform strength and is free of defects. It is highly resistant to warping, cracking and splitting, and has no knots, voids or other surface imperfections.
High-end, furniture-grade medium density fiberboard (MDF) and particleboard are designed with qualities and capabilities not found in ordinary, construction-grade materials. Engineered wood is found in kitchen cabinets, furniture, mouldings and in many more applications.

How is it made?

Engineered Wood panels are made from the wood that remains after a tree is milled into lumber. This wood is cleaned and refined then combined with an ultra-strong adhesive under heat and pressure. The resulting panels are laboratory-tested to meet the stringent American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) standards for furniture-grade wood panel products.

Is it Solid and Durable?

Yes. Engineered wood is real wood in an advanced form that makes it solid and durable.

Conserving Our Forests

In years past, most of this formerly wasted wood was burned or disposed of in landfills, contributing to air pollution and reducing available landfill space. Engineered wood helps conserve our forests by reducing the total amount of trees that are harvested to meet the consumer demand for wood products.

MDF: Medium-Density Fiberboard

Medium-density fiberboard (or fibreboard) (MDF) is an engineered wood product formed by breaking down hardwood or softwood residuals into wood fibers, often in a defibrator, combining it with wax and a resin binder, and forming panels by applying high temperature and pressure. MDF is denser than plywood. It is made up of separated fibers, but can be used as a building material similar in application to plywood. It is stronger and much more dense than normal particle board.

B325-Harlinton-Bedroom-by-AshleyComparison to natural woods:

MDF does not contain knots or rings, making it more uniform than natural woods during cutting and in service. However, MDF is not entirely isotropic, since the fibres are pressed tight together through the sheet. Like natural wood, MDF may split when woodscrews are installed without pilot holes, and MDF may be glued, doweled or laminated, but smooth-shank nails do not hold well. Typical MDF has a hard, flat, smooth surface that makes it ideal for veneering, as there is no underlying grain to telegraph through the thin veneer as with plywood. A so-called “Premium” MDF is available that features more uniform density throughout the thickness of the panel.

B446-Trinell-Bedroom-by-Ashley-FurnitureParticle Board

Particle board, or particleboard (or chipboard in the UK and Commonwealth Nations such as Australia, New Zealand and others), is an engineered wood product manufactured from wood particles, such as wood chips, sawmill shavings, or even saw dust, and a synthetic resin or other suitable binder, which is pressed and extruded. Particleboard is a composite material.

Characteristics

Particleboard is cheaper, denser and more uniform than conventional wood and plywood and is substituted for them when appearance and strength are less important than cost. However, particleboard can be made more attractive by painting or the use of wood veneers that are glued onto surfaces that will be visible. Though it is denser than conventional wood, it is the lightest and weakest type of fiberboard, except for insulation board. Medium-density fiberboard and hardboard, also called high-density fiberboard, are stronger and denser than particleboard. Different grades of particleboard have different densities, with higher density connoting greater strength and greater resistance to failure of screw fasteners.

A major disadvantage of particleboard is that it is very prone to expansion and discoloration due to moisture, particularly when it is not covered with paint or another sealer. Therefore, it is rarely used outdoors or places that have high levels of moisture, with the exception of some bathrooms, kitchens and laundries, where it is commonly used as an underlayment beneath a continuous sheet of vinyl flooring. It does, however, have some advantages when it comes to constructing the cabinet box and shelves. For example, it is well suited for attaching cabinet door hinges to the sides of frameless cabinets. Plywood has the potential to feather off in sheaves when extreme weight is placed on the hinges. In contrast, particle board holds the screws in place under similar weight. Additionally, particleboard is favored for cabinet shelves that need to span a long width (30″ or more) since it will not bow under the weight like plywood.

History and Development

Modern plywood, as an alternative to natural wood, was invented in the 19th century, but by the end of the 1940s a shortage of lumber made it difficult to manufacture plywood affordably. Particleboard was intended to be a replacement. Its inventor was Max Himmelheber of Germany. The first commercial piece was produced during World War II at a factory in Bremen, Germany. It used waste material such as planer shavings, offcuts or sawdust, hammer-milled into chips, and bound together with a phenolic resin. Hammer-milling involves smashing material into smaller and smaller pieces until they pass out through a screen. Most other early particleboard manufacturers used similar processes, though often with slightly different resins. It was found that better strength, appearance and resin economy could be achieved by using more uniform, manufactured chips. Manufacturers began processing solid birch, beech, alder, pine and spruce into consistent chips and flakes. These finer layers were then placed on the outsides of the board, with the central section composed of coarser, cheaper chips. This type of board is known as three-layer particleboard.

More recently, graded-density particleboard has also evolved. It contains particles that gradually become smaller as they get closer to the surface.

Particle board has had an enormous influence on furniture design. In the early 1950s, particle board kitchens started to come into use in furniture construction but, in many cases, it remained more expensive than solid wood. A particle board kitchen was only available to the very wealthy. Once the technology was more developed, particle board became cheaper.

In general the much lower cost of sheet goods (particle board, medium density fiberboard, and other engineered wood products) has helped to displace solid wood from many cabinetry applications.

OSB: Oriented Strand Board

Oriented Strand Board is manufactured in wide mats from cross-oriented layers of thin, rectangular wooden strips compressed and bonded together with wax and resin adhesives (95% wood, 5% wax and resin).
The layers are created by shredding the wood into strips, which are sifted and then oriented on a belt or wire cauls. The mat is made in a forming line, the layers are built up with the external layers aligned in the panel’s strength axis with internal layers cross-oriented.
The number of layers placed is determined partly by the thickness of the panel but is limited by the equipment installed at the manufacturing site. However individual layers can also vary in thickness to give different finished panel thicknesses (typically, a 15 cm layer will produce a 15 mm panel thickness).
The mat is placed in a thermal press to compress the flakes and bond them by heat activation and curing of the resin that has been coated on the flakes. Individual panels are then cut from the mats into finished sizes.
Most of the world’s OSB is made in the United States and Canada in large production facilities. The largest production facilities can make over a billion square feet of OSB per day.
Different qualities in terms of thickness, panel size, strength, and rigidity can be imparted to the OSB by changes in the manufacturing process. OSB panels have no internal gaps or voids, and are water-resistant, although they do require additional membranes to achieve impermeability to water and are not recommended for exterior use. The finished product has similar properties to plywood, but is uniform and cheaper. When tested to failure, OSB has a greater load bearing capacity than milled wood panels. It has replaced plywood in many environments, especially the North American structural panel market. The most common uses are as Sheathing in walls, floors, and roofs.

oriented-strand-board-furnitureSo, how are composite wood products good for environment?

  • Composite wood products are among the most environmentally responsible building materials available today
  • They are typically made from recycled and recovered wood waste that that wood otherwise be burned or thrown into a landfill, so they allow to to make better use of our valuable natural wood resources and optimal use of each tree
  • They reduce the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming by locking up the carbon dioxide naturally removed from the air by trees during their growing cycle

Besides the environmental attributes, what are the benefits of using composite wood products?

  • Durability: Composite wood products provide solid, uniform strength that is highly resistant to warping, cracking and splitting
  • Quality: The smooth surface composite wood panels offer is critical for today’s decorative surfaces
  • Versatility: Composite wood products are engineered to meet specific customer performance requirements
  • Workability: Composite wood products can be easily shaped and moulded into almost any design
  • Consistency: Composite wood panels are free from the defects and imperfections that may be found in other wood products. Because each panel is uniform and consistent, the products made with composite wood panels are of the same high quality
  • Value: Composite wood products typically cost much less than their solid wood counterparts. That means you get a product that provides superior performance at an affordable price!

Quality products that are easy to use and easy on the environment—it’s clear that composite wood products are the natural choice!

Source: Ashley Furniture

Bring Accessibility and Comfort to Kids Bedroom with Ashley Furniture

Before buying a kid’s bedroom furniture, it is a good idea to set design objectives. They should be as specific as possible. For example, accessibility, comfort, beauty, durability, etc. Accessibility is one of the major factors to consider when designing a room for a child. Drawer pulls, door knobs and handles that can be grasped by small hands are excellent features. Drawers that are light enough to pull out, doors that open without much effort and modern built-in features such as USB charger will give a child the ability to use the room without frustration.
Then, the comfort of the bed deserves special attention. Beds should be easy to get up on and mattresses should provide the right combination of surface softness and deep support. The right mattress allows the child’s spine to maintain proper alignment and reduces pressure points which cut off circulation.
Consider the following bedrooms by Ashley Furniture that might fit your design objectives:

The Dexifield Youth Bedroom Collection by Signature Design

B298-Dexifield-BedroomDexifield Features:

  • Contemporary style
  • Light brown finish over replicated Elm grain
  • Dark bronze color metal accents & hardware
  • Faux metal framing accent mirror and dressing chest
  • Dressing chest with a slider door reveals open storage with adjustable shelves & five drawers
  • Slim profile dual USB charger located on back of the nightstand top
  • Side roller glides
  • Full case bottom supported by metal feet

The Ladiville Youth Bedroom Collection by Signature Design

B567-Ladiville-Bedroom

Ladiville Features:

  • Vintage Casual Style
  • Veneer & hardware solids in a rustic brown finish
  • Saw distress effect detail on pilasters
  • Planked & chisel distress effect on case tops & panels
  • Framed doors on dresser & chest
  • Oil rubbed bronze colored hardware
  • Sanded & sealed drawer boxes with ball bearing full extension drawer glides
  • Bunk beds can be set up individually

For more comfort, place an area rug, it unifies the room and protects from cold feet. Also, don’t forget about proper lighting to facilitate play and study.
A child’s room can be more than just a bedroom. A well designed room should have areas to learn, play and socialize. Allow your child to design his or her living space, browse FurnitureCart’s online catalog including Top 10 Favorite Kids Bedroom Collections together, to find what you need.

Rug Buying Guide: Construction Types

The most prestigious, well-known rug construction and best seller at FurnitureCart  is hand-knotted rugs. They are the most expensive and have highest quality due to the labor intensive process and quality of fiber. However, the majority of business done in the rug industry nowadays is with less expensive constructions and most people are interested in other construction types that are within their budget.

Rug-Construction-Types

Common Construction Types:

1. Hand – Knotted

Hand-knotting is the most intricate, labor-intensive rug weaving process in use today. The quality of a hand-knotted carpet is determined by the number of knots per square inch. Higher knots mean better quality. A complex pattern can require very dense knotting and it can take a long time to produce. An average weaver can tie about 3,000 knots per day.

A weaver sits behind a loom and hand ties individual knots onto the vertical strings seen on the backside of a rug.

The back of hand-knotted rugs shows individual knots and the overall design and colors of the rug’s surface.

Durability: Longest lasting. Good ones will last 10-25 years. Great ones can last 100+ years.
Shedding: Shed less than a typical hand tufted rug.

2. Hand – Tufted

A hand-tufted rug is made by punching strands of wool into a canvas which is stretched on a frame or with help of a hand-operated tool. After piling with wool, the rug is removed from the frame and a scrim fabric is glued to the back, while a fringe is added by either sewing on or gluing.

A nearly unlimited variety of patterns, colors, and textures can be used in a hand-tufted rug.

A canvas backing is applied to hand-tufted rugs with an adhesive to hold the yarns together.

Durability: Lasts 3-10 years depending on use.
Shedding: They will shed, but this will subside over time. Shedding usually depends on the quality of wool used, and density of the rug. Cheaper hand tufted rugs will shed more than higher-end hand tufted rugs.
Manufacturing Time: 4-5 months

3. Hand – Hooked

Hand-hooked rugs go through the same process. Tufted rugs have a cut pile surface while hooked rugs have a looped (rounded) pile surface. Rug making is now combining both cut and loop techniques.

Hooked rugs are made by tufting loops of yarn or fabric through a stiff woven base such as burlap, linen, or rug warp which has been stretched over a frame. The design is printed on the base fabric, and the loops of yarn are pushed through the fabric (similar to the process for hand-tufting).

A nearly unlimited variety of patterns, colors, and textures can be used in a hand-hooked rug.

Larger looped rugs create a plush, heavily textured rug while smaller loops allow for greater detail in pattern and interesting texture.

Durability: Lasts 3-10 years depending on use.
Shedding: Will shed less than hand tufted rugs, but this will subside over time.

4. Hand – Loomed Shag

Hand-loomed shag rugs are handmade on a hand-operated looms with hundreds of plush, twisted, and slightly felted yarn. A team of weavers use a long steel rod and shoot the fiber across the vertical strings that run the lengths of the rug. Fiber can be as long as 6 inch.

Durability: Lasts 2-8 years depending on use.
Shedding (wool): Moderate shedding for an extended period of time. Shedding will subside over a long period of time.
Shedding (polyester): Minimal shedding
Manufacturing Time: 4-5 months

5. Hand – Loomed Flat Weave

Flat weave rugs are woven on a loom, rather than knotted. These products are made of cotton or wool, flat woven on a loom, ensuring a truly hand-crafted all-natural product. They tend to be much thinner than knotted rugs, making them generally less insulating. The thinness of the rug can be an advantage as it makes it highly versatile.

Durability: Lasts 3-10 years depending on use.
Shedding: Moderate, but subsides over time.
Reversible: Can extend life by flipping the rug.

6. Hand – Loomed Wool

Hand-Loomed rugs are handmade on a hand-operated looms using different types of yarn. A team of weavers use a long steel rod and shoots the fiber across the vertical strings that run the lengths of the rug. In this construction, rugs can be all cut pile, cut and loop pile or all loop pile. Rugs are also hand-carved to see more texture and design.

Durability: Lasts 2-8 years depending on use.
Shedding: Moderate, but will subside over time. Shedding usually depends on the quality of wool used, and the density of the rug. Cheaper hand loomed rugs will shed more than higher end hand tufted rugs.

Area-Rug-Construction-Types

7. Machine – Made

Large machines have hundreds of spindles of fiber that are mechanically woven into a thin mess backing. The machine would run continuously to maximize efficiency. A computer dictates the pattern so there is little chance of error.

Common fibers in machine-made rugs include synthetic yarns like polyester, polypropylene, and nylon.

Like hand-knotted rugs, you can see the design/colors on the back of a machine-made rug, but has coarse latex backing that secures it in place.

Durability: Lasts 2-6 years depending on use.
Shedding: Machine-made polyester rugs will not shed. Since most are made from synthetic fibers, the pile will crush with heavy traffic.

8. Braided

The fibers are braided together by hand or machine to create a rope. The rope is then sewn together with machines to create the actual rug.

Durability: Lasts 3-10 years depending on use.
Shedding: They will shed, but this will subside over time.
Reversible: Can extend life by flipping the rug.

9. Outdoor

Rugs are made completely of synthetic fibers for outdoor use. They are mold and mildew-proof and the fibers are infused with UV inhibitors to prevent the fading. These rugs can withstand up to 300 hours of direct sunlight.

Durability: Lasts 1-5 years in outdoor use and 2-8 on indoor use. Leaving the rugs in direct sunlight will severely limit the life of the rug. Leaving them in standing water will severally limit the life of a rug.
Shedding: None
Manufacturing Time: 3-4 months

Rugs may have a history rooted in ancient times, but modern advancements in technology have introduced new construction types. Due to these recent advancements, rugs have become more affordable, fashionable, and complex in texture, design and color.
Rugs and accessories tie a room together visually, so browse our online catalog to find the rugs that will fit the color scheme and the style of your room.

With help from Surya Rugs.

Fun Furniture Facts: Genuine Leather vs Bonded Leather

There’s nothing quite like genuine leather. The aroma, the buttery feel and the warmth.
But in the market saturated with faux leathers, bonded leathers and other low-priced alternatives, it is difficult to find a real thing, especially when many of these lower-cost alternatives offer some of the attributes of real leather, including its sleek look and soft hand.
So, why is genuine leather is surging in popularity? A realization that there really is a difference in comfort and character? A desire to make a long-term investment? An unexpressed desire to upgrade living space? All of that, plus one more thing – Genuine Leather is a luxury choice, but it’s no longer out of reach.
For example, the Baron Sectional Collection by Leather Italia USA is available at FurnitureCart and offers fine furnishings in top grain leather upholstery and features 100% Top Grain Italian Leather on front, sides, and backs.

Baron by Leather ItaliaBonded Leather has grown in popularity since its introduction in 2007. It is a material made by combining scraps of leather with synthetic fibers, colored and textured similar to the process for Bycast Leather, which is made from an inferior grade hide or the bottom part of the leather after the top-grain has been removed. Bonded Leather process means it is full width material with good yield and consistency, not limited to the hide size and shape. It comes in a variety of thicknesses and is more supple than Bycast. To be marketed as Bonded Leather in the US, it needs to contain more than 50% dry leather. Some other countries, like Australia, do not allow Bonded Leather to be called Leather at all, considering it a synthetic product.
One of the lower-cost alternatives similar to bonded leather is DuraBlend trademark by Ashley Furniture. DURABLEND is a Bonded Leather – consist of blended leather or particles of leather adhered together with a coating of PU (polyurethane). Contents: 57% polyurethane, 26% poly/cotton and 17% minimum leather shavings. DuraBlend provides the look and feel of 100% Leather or Leather Match at an economical price.
For instance, Windmaster DuraBlend Collection by Signature Design by Ashley Furniture.

Windmaster by Ashley

The difference between Bonded Leather and Genuine Leather, in terms of quality and look, can be hard to see once a product is upholstered, but still recognizable. Below are some differences:

Bonded Leather   Genuine Leather
Look of Leather

Surprisingly similar to leather in look and feel.

No need to wander…it is real leather!

Lowest Price

About 35% less than Genuine Leather.

Arguably higher-priced, but typically considered the better value for its investment quality and durability.

Recycled Content

Leather scraps from factories and tanneries with synthetic materials are used.

Non recycled, though hides are largely  a by-product of the food industry.

Cleaning

Easy to clean with a damp cloth. More resistant to stains and pet hair than fabric.

Easy to clean with a damp cloth. More resistant to stains and pet hair than fabric.

Comfort

Feels more like vinyl – not as supple and not able to adjust to your body temperature.

Warmer to the touch. It contains natural pores that breath, adapting to your body temperature and creating deeper, more resilient seating.

Character

Lacks the unique animal markings or distinctive characteristic of leather, including its aroma.

Improves with age, developing more patina and suppleness over time. Plus, there’s that leather aroma!

Durability

Easier to puncture. Over time, more prone to cracking or showing wear.

Very durable surface, which is not easy to puncture. Wear and tear is less likely to show, and becomes part of leather’s character.

Repair

Not easy to repair.

Scratches may appear, but they’re accepted as part of the natural look of leather.

How to take care of Bonded  or DuraBlend leather?

Clean only with water-based shampoo or foam upholstery cleaner. Do not over wet. Do not use solvents to spot clean. Pile fabrics may require brushing to restore appearance. Cushion covers should not be removed and laundered.

With help from Ashley Furniture and Furninfo.com

Fun Furniture Facts: Sofas vs Couches

When you are shopping for living furniture such as sofa or couch, the first thing you notice is that there is no significant difference between the two. The terms “sofa” and “couch” are often used interchangeably by some people and refer to the same piece in your living room. Even though they have a lot of similarities, we would like to point to some subtle differences. Below are few differences and examples from FurnitureCart:

Sofa’s Common Features:

  • Soft, padded arm
  • Have soft plump cushions
  • May come with built-in beds
  • Extra cushioning
  • Usually more seating space

Example: Eli – Cocoa Sofa by Ashley Furniture

Eli-Sofa

Couches Common Features:

  • Designed for conversation
  • Straight back
  • Straight arm design
  • Typically don’t have sleepers
  • Occupy less space in the room

Example: Yvette – Steel Couch by Ashley Furniture

Yvette-Couch

Some Fun History Facts!

Sofas Fun Facts:
The word “sofa” comes from the Arabic word “suffah,” meaning “platform used as a seat”. The earliest surviving types, dating back to the 17th century in Europe, have sides that let down for conversion into a bed.  In the 17th century, it referred to a long seat with a full back and raised arm-rests on both sides.

Couches Fun Facts:
The word “couch” comes from the Latin verb “collocare” or from Old French couche, meaning  “to put into place, to lay down”. When the term “sofa” was used in England in the 1600’s, it referred to a part of the floor that was raised and covered in cushions for comfortable seating. Couches were very popular among the Roman culture and appeared in dining rooms rather than living rooms. Three couches were placed around a table so men could relax on the couches as they ate and socialized. Women, on the other hand, had to sit on regular chairs.

Are you a proud owner of sofa or couch from FurnitureCart? Let other shoppers know about your experience! Post a Product Review on FurnitureCart.com Reviews Page!

Source: http://www.overstock.com/guides/couches-vs-sofas

Removing Water Marks from Wooden Surface: Helpful Tips by FurnitureCart

If you have wood furniture, such as a dining room table, accent table or even a nightstand, you might want to be careful to not leave liquids on the surface. If you do, you might see nasty water marks. Many people think they are irreparable, but if you act quickly, there are a few household methods to removing these stains without using any harmful chemicals. The first thing to remember, though, is to avoid rubbing, scrubbing or wiping the liquid off the wood surface. Try to blot it out gently and quickly using a clean cotton towel.

Mayonnaise
Apply a generous layer of mayonnaise onto the mark and leave it over
night. In the morning wipe the surface with a thick cotton cloth.

Toothpaste
Polish the mark with white toothpaste until it disappears. Remember
to use a white paste, not a gel!

Ashes
If there’s a smoker in the house, you can use those cigar or cigarette
ashes to rub into the mark until it disappears.

Baking Soda
Mix baking soda and water to make a paste. Rub the paste into the stain
and leave it overnight then wipe with a cotton cloth in the morning.

And don’t forget to shop for wooden bedroom furniture, dining room furniture, living room furniture in the latest design styles at FurnitureCart.com

Source: http://www.wisegeek.com “How do I Remove Water Marks from Wood?”

Elgan DuraBlend – Charcoal Sectional by Ashley – Small Sectional for Small Spaces

The Elgan DuraBlend – Charcoal Sectional Sofa Collection by Ashley Furniture features a modern styled look for fresh furniture design. Centering around the furniture trends of contemporary and metro modern fashion, this smooth upholstered collection features boxed style cushions and jumbo stitching details all supported on brushed nickel finished feet. Elgan DuraBlend – Charcoal Sofa Sectional Collection at FurnitureCart.com captures the best of style and comfort to create the ultimate living room collection. Appropriate for family homes and town-homes as well as apartments and lofts, this Small Sectional decors with style and purpose.

Features:
Cushion cores are constructed of low melt fiber wrapped over high quality foam. DuraBlend Fabric Contents: 57% polyurethane, 26% poly cotton, 17% leather.
Jumbo stitching details and brushed nickel color feet.
DuraBlend upholstery in the seating areas with skillfully matched Polyurethane everywhere else.

Speaking to fans of metro modern styling, this Elgan DuraBlend – Charcoal Small Sectional Sofa also features a medium sized three seat construction with a deep end chaise for sprawling out in comfort.

The Elgan DuraBlend – Charcoal Sectional with Left Facing Chaise of Right Facing Chaise is available at FurnitureCart.com

Did you purchase Elgan DuraBlend – Charcoal Sectional? Let other shoppers know about your experience! Post a Product Review on FurnitureCart Reviews Page!