Quality & Value Guide
Understand value through knowledge not a picture price comparison. Your eyes only see the surface!
- More Info ↓
Our 'Quality Value' guides for our furniture and mattresses are there so that you can understand every aspect that is pertinent to evaluating value. We do not rely on branding to answer questions you may have. They are there so you can make a well informed independent decision as an intelligent human being without the raft of perception marketing techniques to encourage you to believe there is value where so often there is not.
We believe there is so little information provided any more, gone are the days where an independent furniture retailer with their own workshop etc with intimate knowledge of their product and we think this practice more commonplace before the 1960's should be brought forward onto the web experience. We do this as we have put so much effort and passion into our furniture and what we do that want to guard against the typical picture price comparisons basis for a buying decision. So please take the time to read our guides particularly useful for evaluating mattresses and take advantage of our sample service.
Dave & Sarah.
- More Info ↓
Mahogany - Non indigenous strain is genus Swietenia (from S America grown in plantations in Indonesia)
We use plantation mahogany that is non indigenous to Indonesia originally started by the Dutch over 150 years ago taking various saplings from the S American continent as the Dutch had colonised many areas there as well as in Indonesia which incidentally was handed back to the Indonesians in the early 50's not so long ago. Do remember the Dutch have a long and distinguished history as cabinet makers that stands alongside our own history. Their choice of Swietenia Mahogany was due to its properties for turning, planning, grain and character colour and strength. So we use non indigenous, genuine strain mahogany found in S America grown in plantations in Indonesia that are getting through FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) remember this requires tracking the sapling to maturity with PT Erna Djuliawati having been issued LEI license having met FSC standards issued by Smartwood which help timber organisations work to FSC standards.
It should be important to you to know that there are different types of Mahogany and different qualities. Simply calling it Mahogany is not enough! Beware of Lauan mahogany Red or Blanc otherwise known as Philippine mahogany. You should be looking for ëgenera Swietenia (S American) and Khayaí (African) family of Mahogany. All explained below. Although many tropical hardwoods are described as mahogany, 'true' mahogany is generally considered to be the wood from trees of the botanical genus Swietenia, which is native to Latin America, and to a number of other tree species found in the rainforests of West and Central Africa.
Brazilian Mahogany (Swietenia Macrophylla)
You are likely to be more discerning between different types of Oak for example French and American Oak is lighter in weight wider grained less dense and much quicker growth rates by comparison to "English Oak" and when you see the price differences there is no doubt you will pay more attention.
This is why we have included information about the Mahogany used in our furniture, you should know that we use the real and best Mahogany and we do not use Mahogany from Brazil Cuba Bolivia or any other S American country irresponsibly and illegally harvested. We also do not use Luan Mahogany sometimes known as white or blonde mahogany also red mahogany and more generally known as Philippine Mahogany. The Mahogany we use is Swietenia Macrophylla grown in limited plantations in Java, properly Kiln Dried to 6-8% allowed to rest before finishing.
Genus Swietenia Morphyllus commonly known as Big Leaf Mahogany
Below you can see a definition of Mahogany names and identity.Swietenia macrophylla, usually known as Brazilian mahogany, but is also known as American mahogany or Big Leaf mahogany. Brazilian mahogany occurs naturally in a broad band across the southern flank of the Amazon rainforests, stretching from north-eastern Bolivia and the Brazilian states of Acre and RondÙnia, through Mato Grosso towards the southern half of Par· state.
CHAPTER I--FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
PART 250--GUIDES FOR THE HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE INDUSTRY--Table of Contents
Sec. 250.3 Identity of woods.
Industry members should not use any direct or indirect representation concerning the identity of the wood in industry products that is false or likely to mislead purchasers as to the actual wood composition.
(1) The unqualified term mahogany should not be used to describe wood other than genuine solid mahogany (genus Swietenia of the Meliaceae family). The woods of genus Swietenia may be described by the term "mahogany'' with or without a prefix designating the country or region of its origin, such as "Honduras mahogany'', "Costa Rican mahogany'', "Brazilian mahogany'' or "Mexican mahogany''.
(2) The term "mahogany'' may be used to describe solid wood of the genus Khaya of the Meliaceae family, but only when prefixed by the word "African'' (e.g., "African mahogany desk'').
(3) In naming or designating the seven non-mahogany Philippine woods Tanguile, Red Lauan, White Lauan, Tiaong, Almon, Mayapis, and Bagtikan, the term "mahogany'' may be used but only when prefixed by the word ``Philippine'' (e.g., "Philippine mahogany table''), due to the long standing usage of that term. Examples of improper use of the term "mahogany'' include reference to Red Lauan as "Lauan mahogany'' or to White Lauan as "Blond Lauan mahogany''. Such woods, however, may be described as "Red Lauan'' or "Lauan'' or "White Lauan'', respectively. The term "Philippine mahogany'' will be accepted as a name or designation of the seven woods named above. Such term shall not be applied to any other wood, whether or not grown on the Philippine Islands.
(4) The term "mahogany'', with or without qualifications, should not be used to describe any other wood except as provided above. This applies also to any of the woods belonging to the Meliaceae family, other than genera Swietenia and Khaya. For centuries Cuban Mahogany, the "Wood of Kings", was the premier cabinet wood in the world, sought after by the royalty of the world and the wood of choice for such renowned furniture makers of that era as Chippendale, Hepplewhite and Duncan Phyfe.
Sadly there is deforestation happening in Indonesia just as there is across many parts of the S American continent, African continent, India Pakistan amongst others including China. Much of this activity is due to the following commercial gains.
Palm Oil - used in so many food products and also in the production of Bio Fuel the problem stems from the fact Palm Oil requires large areas per plant and the land being used to grow them on is environmentally valueable peatland the problem is far more severe than this fact alone Peatlands are irreplacable such is the time it takes to evolve. They are drained which dries them out this releases carbon dioxide as the peat is exposed to the air our largest contributor to climate change. It does not end there valueable trees are cleared (Palm Oil crops exceed the value of mahogany and any other timber) and the ground is cleared by burning and as you may know peat is a source of fuel for fires so it can burn for months until the monsoon season. Again it does not end there these fires can continue to burn for years smouldering under surface layers releasing carbon Dioxide.
Palm Oil has become one of Indonesia's largest exports and is driving its economy forward such is its value if we want to curb it we need to remove that value - reduce the demand for it would help no end. Again you might be thinking what can I do as 1 person but this problem is about collective responsibility. Check all your foods especially pre-pared foods and manufactured food ingredients margarines etc if you see Palm Oil in the ingredients put it back.
From the University of Leicester a study led by Dr. Susan Page concluded that producing one ton of palm oil from peatland produces 15 to 70 tons of CO2 over 25 years due to forest conversion, peat decomposition and emission from fires associated with land clearance.
Land left to its own devices will self populate with timber plantation managed land it will grow quicker and absorb more CO2 so if demand for hand made cabinet furniture increased we can increase the demand for trees to cover land instead of Palm Oil. Very simplistic but also think on furniture built to last is not replaced consumption is the greatest contributing factor to climate change.
Think about this of all the flat pack furniture using commercial timber substitutes MDF Chipboard etc you have bought how much of it have you still got? how much will you have in 10 years. Dirty to manufacture FSC approved or not and does not last how much of it do you think could ever be in an antique shop in 80 years time?
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein
Within Indonesia local people regard Teak as a superior timber to mahogany which is not terribly popular with Indonesians at local level deforestation tends to occur with Teakand on a more commercial level fast growing timbers are more valuable so various local fruitwood trees and softwood trees are illegally harvested for MDF and similar products.
The Mahogany government regulated plantations are under pressure from Palm Oil demand we need to maintain there demand to safeguard there future.
Were you aware that 42% of the worlds timber production goes towards paper! A similar amount goes into man made timber products and Indonesia is the largest exporter of mixed timber Plywood in the world.
We are all aware and hopefully all environmentally conscious but do we expect business to carry the whole responsibility? have you turned your thermostats down a degree or 2? Do you open a window when its too hot with the heating still on? Do you buy loose vegetables and try to use your local shops? In our village of Disley we use the local butchers green grocers and bakers and we have since discovered its not only cheaper but the quality is so much better and far fewer food road miles. Our grocer on my last trip gave me an education on the various lettuces which ones were at the start of the season and which had the better taste and where they came from. Then he moved on to new potatoes moving me away from Jersey Royals from Upon reflection as I write it occurs to me that I left the shop I knew more about what I was eating and why which is exactly what we try to do on our site I learnt that whilst the potatoes cost me 9 pence more over the original choice they were still better value.
- Cutting and Carving
- More Info ↓
Once we have removed the timber from our kiln (powered by our off cuts and sawdust) after 12 days we allow it to rest before carving. The various sizes are selected and the lines of the piece to be made are cut. We create physical templates for each piece which are a recorded guide for every detail and aspect of a design though it is rare they are needed after the piece has been made a number of times. Carvers will then use a combination of carving chisels and gouges with mallet to create the detail and straight chisels for joinery.
Carvers will then use a combination of shallow / low relief carving as well as pierced relief work requiring it to be (clamped as you need both hands)to complete this work and added when the piece is finished (see our Regency bed as an example of both techniques).
Sometimes spoon carving is used where 2 cuts intersect to remove chips of wood using carving knives.
- Cabinet Construction
- More Info ↓
Our furniture uses solid timber specifically 'Swietenia mahogany' please see timber section in our guide for more detailed information. It is because we use solid timber that we use cabinet construction techniques and joints in our frames. You will see the dove tail joints in drawers even machine made furniture will use them but this is where it generally stops and they tend to be too small and often use an acute angled softwood dovetail in hardwood when it should be a large oblique angled dovetail.
Other advantages of cabinet construction are they are proven over many centuries as the strongest method of joining and containing solid timber whilst allowing it move when necessary and they last a long long time! For an experiment try asking a higher end sofa company for a price for a sofa specified with hardwood cabinet jointed frame compared to a softwood stapled and why its worth the additional investment. When you consider this is what we do as standard and ask for less than half what a dept store will for a comparable sleigh bed for example that will not be cabinet jointed.
- More Info ↓
An introduction to finishing
Our finishes are hand applied nitrocellulose lacquer finish giving a window to the grain colour and character of the furniture which allows varied light conditions to vary what you see in the timber. They need only basic polish and dust so no labour intensive bees wax 3 times a yearto maintain the finish of your investment.