The production process of furniture involves several stages, from material selection to the final finishing touches. Here is a general outline of the method of production for furniture:
The primary step in the furniture manufacturing process is the selection of material. Its nature should depend on the piece of furniture you intended to produce with it. For instance, heavy furniture like wooden tables and bedframes require tough, durable materials like hardwoods (mahogany, teak, oak, etc.).
They can endure daily use, support weight, and be waxed and polished to maintain their colour and smooth finish for years. On the other hand, if you want to make decor like kitchen cabinets, supporting beams, window frames and outdoor decks, then softwoods such as fir, ash or birch would do.
This is when the tree is cut into manageable beams and planks, called lumber (North America) or timber (elsewhere). These pieces are the raw material that get sawn and made into wooden furniture. The lumber is kiln-dried, so that the wood achieves its equilibrium moisture content (EMC), and does not gain or lose moisture because of its environment. At the same time, it retains the essential properties of wood. This transformation process is carried out at the sawmill, and its entirety can take about 2 to 4 weeks.
The kiln-dried wood is then passed to a machine shop, where it is sawed, planed, moulded and grooved as required. The different parts are cut out and clamped together and then brought in contact with a high-speed rotating knife that shapes each part to its proper size. The pieces are rough-carved on high-speed knives to be machine sanded, and finished by a hand carver later. Veneering, where thin decorative pieces of wood are bonded onto the original surface for a better appearance, is performed at this stage if required. The veneer itself can also be sanded, stained or painted. This is followed by jointing processes like tenoning, doweling and dovetailing.
This is the step where the wooden carcasses (basic frameworks) are assembled, drawers are glued up, and doorframes are put together. Once the glue sets in and clamps are applied, the piece is sent to the machine department for machining that could not be performed before assembly. This includes sanding the joints and shaping the edges. Once this is complete, it is returned to the assembly department for the final structuring, wherein the piece is cleaned to remove excess glue. Hand sanding is done where required, followed by staining, spray polishing and treatments if any.