Restaurant Equipment & Supply

Understanding the Fundamental Construction Techniques of Wood Restaurant Furniture

Aug 27, 2013 8:16:26 AM

Wood Restaurant FurnitureWood Chairs and Stools
There are many advantages to wood furniture.  It has an inviting appearance with a rich, warm aesthetic.  Wood furniture is also strong, durable and most importantly, comfortable.  However, it can be more expensive and harder to maintain than metal seating. Owing to the great variances in quality among wood furniture manufacturers, you may feel overwhelmed when purchasing this type of seating.  We hope to offer you some insight into the materials, construction methods, and finish options used when making wood furniture. With this information at hand, you may feel more confident when deciding if wood furniture is right for you and what manufacturers you can trust to provide a quality product.

Wood Species
It is important for you as a consumer to be able to identify the type of wood used for the seating you purchase. Serv-U sells only 100% European Beech wood chairs and stools.  European Beech is the preferred hardwood used for commercial restaurant furniture and is used by most reputable commercial seating manufactures.  It is very strong, hard, dense and durable. Hickory is the only North American hardwood stronger than European Beech.  However, the price of hickory prevents it from being an affordable option for most commercial seating applications. Other common furniture wood species too expensive for most commercial seatings include Cherry, Mahogany, Oak and Walnut.  European Beech has high machine-ability, similar to American Cherry, meaning that it can effectively be cut, molded and bent into the proper shape for a variety of seating styles.  The tight, fine, smooth grain of European Beech is uniform in color, accepts stains well, and sands to a high polish.  It can be stained to mimic Cherry, Walnut or Mahogany.  In addition to its properties that make it ideal for construction, European Beech trees are fast growing, making it a relatively sustainable resource.  The harvesting and replanting of European Beech is regulated by Environmentally Sustainable Resource Management Practices and Federal German laws, ensuring the amount of wood used never exceeds the amount of wood growing to take its place.

We believe using inferior wood species such as Rubber Wood is not suitable for commercial environments. In 2002, the Malaysian Ministry of Primary Industries began to market Rubber Wood, the formal scientific name is Hevea Basiliensis, under the "Malaysian Oak". Despite the marketing efforts fo the Malaysian government, Rubber Wood is not similar to American White Oak pertaining to where it grows, how it grows or wood characteristics in furniture manufacturing.  Rubber Wood may also be known by other names such as:  Parawood, Heveawood, Hevaru, Malaysian Ash, Asian Oak, or Malaysian Oak. Rubber Wood cannot be cut into long continuous solid pieces, lengths that would be required for stool legs and some support components.  The alternative to using single long pieces of wood is gluing smaller pieces together which results in furniture that cannot withstand the abuse of commercial environments.

Construction of Wood Chairs and Barstools
The life of commercial furniture is affected by many factors.  The frequency of use, environment, care, and construction all play a role in the longevity you can expect from a piece of wood seating. While you are at least somewhat in control of the maintenance and use of your furniture, the construction is something you must rely on the manufacturer to provide. At Serv-U, we carefully choose our suppliers to ensure we sell safe and durable commercial furniture. One of the best ways to learn about the construction of wood furniture is to actually deconstruct a piece and see how all the components function.  In short, the most important construction factors to keep in mind are:
1. Single lengths of wood should be used for support pieces; not smaller pieces glued together.
2. Seat supports should be sturdy and able to withstand commercial abuse.
3. Seats should fit securely to the frame.
4. Upholstered seats should have plywood cores, high density foam padding, and properly fastened high quality vinyl or fabric.
5. The back details, footrests and glides should be securely attached.

Five Key Pieces of Wood Restaurant Furniture Construction

Stain and Finish
The stain and finish of wood furniture enhances its beauty and also acts as a protectant.  The stain should be evenly applied to the wood for a consistent color.  Perhaps the most critical yet often overlooked component of commercial grade seating is the finishing protective coating.  The reason the finish is so important in the durability of commercial seating is because it determines what can pass through and be absorbed into the wood.  If a liquid passes through the protective coating the wood will absorb it, possibly expand, and the finish may crack.  It can take only a few times for this to completely destroy a whole dining room of furniture.  A common cause of finish damage is using improper chemicals to clean the furniture. No matter the quality of the finish or product, no furniture manufacturer warranties their products against chemical abuse.  We recommend that you ABSOLUTELY do not use a cloth with chlorine, bleach or ammonia chemicals on any wood furniture!  A damp cloth, with or without a very mild soap, immediately followed with a dry cloth is the proper cleaning method for your wood furniture.  It is also important to train your staff on the proper cleaning techniques so they do not accidentally ruin thousands of dollars of furniture. 

Each manufacturer has a proprietary finishing process to protect the wood.  Our house brand Serv-U Furniture uses a heavy duty polyurethane finish with a long cure time.  We feel our finish prevents more liquid pass through, stands up better than most of our competitors’ finishes, and is recommended for most installations.  We also recommend Holsag brand products for the highest volume, heavy use installations because they have an excellent finishing process using an extra durable catalyzed finish with very high scratch resistance. Both finishes are formulated for commercial use and do not need furniture polish.

When selecting furniture, the emphasis is often put on the style, meaning construction and durability may become overlooked.  However, in the end, durability will be the key in ensuring your satisfaction.  We hope that we have provided you with some information that will help you select the best wood furniture for your application. Unfortunately, many suppliers are uneducated about the furniture they sell and will not be able to answer certain questions related to construction and manufacturing.  Please, do not hesitate to ask us about any of the furniture we carry.  We purchase our house brand Serv-U Furniture factory direct and dictate the construction and finish of our products.  We also only supply furniture from quality import distributors and domestic manufacturers who maintain high standards.  It is our goal to provide you with a unique balance of quality and affordability.  We are constantly striving to find ways to improve quality without adding much cost. 

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