Office Furniture
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Office Furniture Desk Construction

Most general purpose office furniture is made from a man made product called melamine faced chipboard or MFC. This comprises a substrate, usually chipboard, but sometime medium density fibreboard, over which, on both sides is pressed a decorative paper finish impregnated with melamine resin. This process is carried out at high temperature and pressure and is called polymerisation. The result is a cost effective, hardwearing board, which is stable and resistant to scratching and abrasion. This board is then machine cut and edged and used to make the various shapes and sizes of office desks and furniture. The decorative paper finish can either imitate wood grains of popular timber, such as oak, beech, cherry or maple, or single colour effects such as grey, beige or white.

Some of the more expensive ranges of office furniture are still made with wood veneer which sandwiches a stable substrate such as chipboard or MDF. The veneer is applied on both sides to stabilise the board and prevent warping of the board due to temperature and humidity. Wood veneer office furniture is often made to order, but in specific shapes and sizes, as the nature of the wood veneer means that it can be difficult to match the finishes, unless all of the office furniture is made at the same time, and from the same batch of wood. Some manufactures have managed to overcome this problem by using wood veneers with uniform or subtle graining and by staining the wood veneer several shades darker and applying a varnish or lacquer that reduces the darkening effect of sunlight on the wood veneer furniture.

Office furniture is rarely made using solid wood, due to the real problems of warping and cracking of the wood due to changes in temperature and humidity, and due to the fact that wood is not truly seasoned due to the modern force drying methods. However this problem has always besieged carpenters and cabinet makers for hundreds of years, which is why the usage of veneered boards for domestic and office furniture goes back a long way.

 

Nowadays the framework for most desks is made from metal extrusions or castings, which offer high strength and cabling solutions.  Many of the executive office furniture ranges can be specified with large wooden panel ends to give that more traditional look, with the cabling being hidden from view in PVC extrusions which are screwed to the desks. Metal to metal framework fixings offer much greater strength that steel inserts in chipboard, which leads to the office desks being more resilient to being moved around or reconfigured, less visits form the furniture dealer to rectify problems, and better value of money.

With the general concern about the environment desk tops are now even being manufactured from compressed recycled materials such as tin and plastic and offer a truly unique man made finish.