What raw material should I choose for my custom-made furniture?
This is one of the basic questions our clients generally ask us. Whether it’s about kitchen furniture, bedroom furniture or bathroom furniture, the choice of a specific material is a very important step for the custom-built furniture manufacturing process. Any material should be selected depending on the intended use of the furniture, on design and desired finishing.
The materials that clients most commonly select for their custom-made, modern design furniture, are PAL or MDF, since these are less costly and their processing is easier as compared to solid wood.
What is PAL?
PAL (wood-particle boards) is a mixture of wood chips/sawdust and synthetic resins that are further hot-pressed to become a panel. The mostly used panels are 18-mm thick and their edges require edging tape finish.
The edging tape is a foil made of paper (melamine edging tape) or plastic (PVC edging tape, ABS edging tape) covering the edge of the PAL panel so as to prevent moist from getting inside the board. The edging tape is glued by means of a special glue to be pressed on by the edging tape machine.
In most cases, the ABS edging tape is used for the front sides, due to its rounded edge that give a more aesthetically pleasing look.
The raw PAL board is typically used for the resistance structure of couches; for furniture, a layer of aesthetic and protective finishing material is applied on top of it. The most used finish material is melamine, a decorative melamine resin-impregnated paper that may have a glossy, matte or textured look.
Laminated PAL comes in a wide range of individual colours, but also in wood fibre mimicking textures.
What are the advantages of PAL?
– Unlike other materials, PAL is cost-effective
– The manufacturing time is quick and processing is simpler
– It provides a wide range of colours and wood-mimicking textures
– It is ecological. The material is made of wood-processing generated residues.
What are the disadvantages of PAL?
– It degrades faster while in humidity and heat
– The durability is lower than that of other materials
– It does not allow for raised patterns
– It cannot be reclaimed if deteriorated
What is MDF?
MDF (Medium-density fibreboard) is made through the same process as PAL, but the wood in its composition is a lot more smoothly chopped. Thus, the MDF panel has a smoother and less harsh surface, allowing for raised patterns. The manufacturing process is based on higher temperatures as compared to PAL, therefore the MDF panel has a hole-free composition and does not require edge taping.
This material is the result of a first insulating coat, followed by a ground coat (the primer that makes the paint stick to the surface), after drying this coat is milled and then a final coat of paint is applied on top. This final paint coat may have a glossy, matte or textured look. This material is very easy to maintain, and in case the surface gets damaged, it may be repainted.
The finish is made by means of plywood, a slim (1 mm) wood panel that is glued to it and, in the end, it may be either stained or lacquered. In this way, we get a rather classic, elegant look mimicking wood fibres.
What are the advantages of MDF?
– Less costly than solid wood
– Higher resistance to heat and humidity
– Smooth and solid surface allowing for raised patterns
– Wide range of colours and finishes
– It may be reclaimed in case of a damaged surface
– The front edges may be rounded and do not require edge taping finish
What are the disadvantages of MDF?
– Higher costs as compared to PAL
– Longer processing time