• Metals are used to make parts, such as legs, frames, and table bases, and as a primary material for office furniture, kitchen cabinetry, utility shelving, and storage units.
• Steel in the form of rods, tubing, and sheets is the most used metal for furniture.
• Aluminum in the form of tubes, and formed sections, such as angles, channels, and T’s is used for cast legs, frames, and small parts.
• Metal office furniture and utility files, cabinets, and shelves are made of sheet steel.
• The sheets are cut, and then bent to form box shapes, or with bent flanges (edges) used to make shelves or tops.
• The gauge (thickness) of the sheet metal is an important factor in determining the quality of a piece. Sheet metal that is too thin will not hold up well. Thicker sheet metal is stronger, will last longer, and will resist denting and deforming.
Plastics used in furniture
• Plastic Laminates: are composed of layers of heavy paper impregnated with melamine resin.
• Acrylics: such as Plexiglas and Lucite, resemble glass in their transparency, but can be made translucent and colored, and opaque. Acrylics can be bent and molded into curved shapes.
• Molded Plastics: such as styrene, polyethylene, nylon, and vinyl, are often made into small parts, such as glides, rollers, edge trim, and drawer pulls.
• Fiberglass: a hybrid material in which glass fibers are embedded in a molded polyester resin. Used to make custom auto body parts and small boat hulls.
A molded fiberglass part for an airplane
Making fiberglass objects
Two half molds that will be used to form a fiberglass drum.
Fiberglass chairs using a design from the 1950’s that show the fiberglass fibers.
The Eames' fiberglass reinforced chairs solved the problem of how to make a seat out of a single shell. This chair went into production in 1950.
This chair has a molded fiberglass frame that is made of fire-retardant polyurethane foam.
Fiberglass seats designed by Swedish designer Peter Fargring and produced by London based LosPalurdos.
Molded fiberglass chairs