Well Designed products are a combination of both Aesthetic and Quality construction. Construction in-turn has three components:
- Choice of material
- Joinery and detail
- Design and Ergonomics
Most products today make use of very low grade materials(particle board) in their construction, followed by sub-par mechanisms(poor quality Chinese variants) that hold pivoting elements together.
This is especially true when furniture manufacturers cater to clients that order in large quantities. The core material of choice in this case is ‘particle board’. Particle board is a wood product that is manufactured using wood chips, sawmill shavings and even saw dust along with a suitable binder to hold all these loose particles together. Basically,
Wood waste + Laminate + Glue = Particle Board
This makes particle board the easiest to source, lowest cost and weakest of all the wood products. But it is still in use precisely because it is low in cost and easily sourced.
The catch is in the Laminate though; with Laminate – which is a thin covering – you can make any kind of wood product look premium – which is what ends up happening with most wooden furniture. This means that the choice of laminate is how most stakeholders are fooled regarding the quality of furniture pieces.
And despite it being the popular choice for large orders due to its low cost, because particle board is weak, it does not possess the durability that other wood products like plywood possess. Furniture pieces built from this material often starts to chip quickly and break after a short time – especially at joints.
This means that for environments like classrooms and hostel rooms where durability is essential, it is important to consider even durability along with the cost of the furniture system that you choose to procure.
What can you do to make a furniture piece durable?
In our experience, Plywood and steel are the best options. Well-made plywood – created from multiple layers of thin wooden boards – can be stronger than even solid wood, and can offer the same or even better aesthetic. Steel sections can be employed together with plywood to add even more strength to the load bearing areas of the furniture and create very interesting and modern aesthetic elements.
There is another benefit to steel. With Steel, you can design furniture that is easy to disassemble and reassemble on site. This helps you save cost during transportation and also allows for easy maintenance.
The wood and steel can even be coated to create an even more diverse choice in terms of aesthetic and visual appeal.
Remember, beware of particle board and never judge a table by its finish.