Linen is a natural fiber that is moth resistant and very durable. It can be easily washable but tends to crease fairly easily. Linen has been traditionally used for knitted bed, bath, table and kitchen textiles.
Silk is a natural fiber that comes from the cocoon of the silkworm moth. Silk can be very expensive but is prized for its unique texture and luxurious luster. It requires dry cleaning and can be damaged by prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.
Wool is a natural fiber that is fleeced from sheep and processed through multiple further refinements. It is considered to be a good insulator, can be dyed any color and is often used to absorb noise and odors. Wool can also be blended with synthetics.
Cotton is a very strong and durable fabric obtained from the cotton plant. It doesn’t fade easily, is economical, airy and can be extremely soft and comfortable. Most T-shirts are made from cotton along with many other textiles such as sheets and decorative fabrics.
Rayon is made from processed wood pulp and is known for its great strength and high absorbency. It is widely used due to its economy and drapery characteristics. Rayon is a common substitute for natural fibers such as cotton and wool.
Like Rayon, Acetate fiber is also produced from wood pulp. Although Acetate is lower in strength and absorbency than Rayon, it is extremely cost effective, moth resistant and versatile. Acetate is commonly used in satins, brocades and taffetas.
Acrylic is a polymerized fabric that is lightweight, soft and warm. Acrylic fibers take dyes well, are easily washable and generally hypoallergenic. Acrylic is also shrink resistant, moth resistant and doesn’t crease easily.
Polyester is a petroleum based fiber that can be hand washed and is considered to be very durable. Polyester is often mixed with natural fibers in order to produce fabrics that are shrink resistant, moth resistant, crease resistant and very long lasting.
Nylon has proven itself to be the most durable synthetic fiber available. It is made from a combination of tar, coal and petroleum. Nylon does not shrink, is easily washable and highly crease resistant. Nylon was originally intended to be a synthetic replacement for silk.
FULL-GRAIN / TOP-GRAIN
Full-Grain leather is the uppermost portion of the hide that contains the skin layer. This leather will wear better than other leather types and has not been corrected. Full-Grain leather, often referred to as “Top-Grain”, is made from the very best raw hides.
Aniline leather is a delicate, soft and supple hide that has been treated with aniline as a dye. This leather is high-quality and is also sometimes referred to as “naked leather”. Aniline leather can be damaged by prolonged direct sunlight and liquid spills.
Corrected-Grain leather is a top-grain hide that has been sanded or buffed in order to remove any surface imperfections. Corrected-grain hides are not as high quality as top-grain and are most often used in pigmented leathers
Split leather is made by removing the top-grain from the hide, applying an artificial surface layer and then embossing with a leather grain.
Suede is made from split leather. Suede is soft on both sides, is less expensive than top-grain and offers more visual texture than other types of leather. Suede can be used to provide a nice textural contrast against varying elements in a room design.
Cedar is a soft, reddish wood having a distinctive odor that makes it ideal for closet lining, decorative accessories and chest making. Cedar is easy to work with and highly resistant to decay.
Cherry is a tightly grained hardwood native to most of Europe, western Asia and parts of Africa. Cherry ages well and is commonly used in cabinet making and home furnishings.
Chestnut is a hardwood native to temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. The wood is very durable if harvested before it reaches 50 years old but loses its strength as it ages further making it difficult to produce large timber.
The interlocking grain of Elm imbues the wood with a high resistance to splitting and cracking. Elm trees typically have long, straight trunks which are ideal for lengthier timber making the wood a preferred choice for larger pieces.
Pine is a soft wood with a uniform texture that finishes well and resists shrinking and warping. Pine is commonly “farmed” all over the world and is one of the most widely used timbers.
Mahogany is used extensively in high quality furnishings and also in boat construction due to its ability to resist swelling, shrinking and warping. It is a finely grained hard wood that exhibits a reddish color and is extremely durable.
Maple is a light colored hardwood that is often used in fine furnishings and flooring. Maple is extremely strong and durable, making it a perfect choice for hard wearing surfaces such as bowling lanes and high traffic areas.
Oak is a hardwood that is very durable and resistant to moisture absorption. It takes stain very well making it ideal for furniture and is also used in flooring and boat construction.
Native to the west coast of north America, Redwood is a light, soft wood that exhibits a natural resistance to decay which makes it a common choice for outdoor furniture, fencing and building materials.
Rosewood is a tightly grained hardwood commonly used to make musical instruments and furnishings. It is a dark wood with a reddish brown color and has a pleasant fragrance that distinguishes it from other woods.
Teak is an extremely moisture resistant hardwood that is very durable. It is commonly used in making furniture, panelling, flooring and many other products. Teak also displays excellent load bearing capabilities when used in construction.
Walnut is a dark colored hardwood with a fine texture that resists shrinking and warping. It takes finishes very well and is commonly used in making furniture, cabinets and wall paneling.
In order for glass to be made suitable for furniture use, it must be toughened by rapid heating and then quickly cooled with cold air. This process introduces permanent compressive stresses into the surfaces of the glass making it less liable to breakage.
Steel became a popular furniture making material thanks to the German Bauhaus in the 1920’s. As well as new aesthetic possibilities, it allowed furniture designers to experiment with a broad range of structural support systems not previously considered.