glossary + materials
ABS - A common thermoplastic used to make light, rigid molded products.
Bicast leather - Genuine split-hide leather manufactured with a protective layer of polyurethane for strength, durability and modern finish. Although bicast leather is often less expensive to produce than top grain leather, is easier to clean and maintain and generally has a more uniform grain pattern.
Bonded Leather - Bonded leather or reconstituted leather is a term used for partially or fully synthetic leather upholstery on some of our modern furniture. It is mechanically processed to give the appearance of leather, but at reduced cost compared to natural leather. There are different types of bonded leather; the type being used on upholstered furniture today is a plastic material (generally polyurethane or vinyl), backed with fabric and then a layer of latex or other material mixed with a small percentage of leather fibers in the product's backing material. The surface is typically stamped to give it a leather-like texture.
Enamel - A paint that dries to a very hard, glossy finish.
Espresso - Dark brown color, also known as wenge.
Frosted Glass - Produced by acid etching or sand blasting a clear sheet of glass. The effect renders the glass translucent by scattering the light that passes through. Because glass is inherently green, the forced translucence generally enhances that color in the panel.
Lacquer - A clear or colored varnish that produces a hard, durable finish.
Leatherette - A form of artificial leather, usually made by covering fabric with a soft PVC layer with an artificial grain. Although leatherette is not as porous as leather, it requires little maintenance and is highly resistant to fading and cracking.
MDF - More formally known as medium density fiberboard, is an engineered wood product formed by applying high temperature and pressure to a combination of wood fibers, wax and resin. MDF is generally 3-4 times stronger than particleboard and is an excellent core for wood veneer products. Furthermore, MDF has no natural grain and, therefore, no tendency to split, is uniform in size and strength and is the most cost effective material used in furniture manufacturing worldwide. This balance of strength and cost in MDF is the main reason that approximately 90% of all furniture manufactured today consists, at least in part, of MDF.
Melamine - A durable, plasticized laminate commonly used over an MDF core in kitchen and bathroom countertops, as well as furniture.
Microfiber - A synthetic fabric specifically designed for softness and durability, typically made from polyester fibers. Microfiber is designed to repel liquids and resist staining, which makes it second only to leather in terms of overall durability of upholstered fabrics.
Powder Coat - A finishing process typically used for metals, including furniture, automobile and motorcycle parts. Although the finish is similar in appearance to standard liquid paint, power coating is generally applied electrostatically as a dry powder, allowing a thicker, more even finish (without running like a liquid paint). Power coat finishes are known for their durability, in particular.
PVC - One of the most widely used plastics in the world in everything from clothing and piping to furniture.
Silk-screened Glass - A modern alternative to frosted glass, silk-screening glass is printed with a color on one side. Depending on the applied color, silk-screening minimizes the inherent green color of glass by preventing light from passing completely through the panel.
Split grain leather - Created from the layer of the hide just below the top grain. Split grain leather has an additional layer applied to the surface which is embossed with a leather grain. Split grain leather is known for its balance between durability and value. Since split grain leather is more abundant than top grain it can be produced more cost effectively. Additionally, the manufacturing process minimizes many of the natural imperfections in the hide itself, while sustaining the natural strength of the fabric.
Tempered Glass - a type of safety glass with increased strength compared with normal glass. Tempering creates balanced internal stresses which cause the glass, when broken, to crumble into small granular chunks instead of splintering into jagged shards. The granular chunks are less likely to cause injury.
Top grain leather - Refers to the upper section of a hide closest the epidermis. Full grain leathers have not been sanded or buffed, so they still retain the natural variances and imperfections present in all leather. Correct grain leathers, conversely, have been sanded or buffed in an effort to minimize the natural imperfections in the hide.
Veneer - Thin layers of wood that are applied onto a core panel such as MDF. Generally, the finest logs are sent to veneer producers in order to make the most efficient use of rare and beautiful wood grains. Rather than producing solid lumber, veneer manufacturers can produce up to 45 times more usable veneer. In addition to preserving natural resources, veneer enables furniture manufacturers to design pieces otherwise impossible with solid woods that are much more susceptible to changes in humidity.