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Frequently Asked Questions

“Here are some of our frequently asked questions. If you have a specific question that is not featured here, please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss your query.” Nick

What do you mean when you refer to 'unique' or 'bespoke' furniture?
Acorn Furniture designs and creates bespoke furniture to suit each individual brief. Furniture is not mass-produced nor is it sold in a showroom. Each commission is developed to satisfy the specific requirements of the client – to accommodate their needs, vision and space.

What is a Windsor chair as opposed to any other chair?
A Windsor chair has a substantial shaped wood seat into which are fixed the backrest and the legs. Unlike many other designs of chair, there are no timbers that extend from below the seat to above the seat: everything is fixed into the seat. For this reason, British-made Windsor chairs traditionally have a seat made from elm, which is extremely strong and difficult to split. Historically, chair parts for Windsor chairs were made from green wood, in the woodland, by skilled craftsmen know as bodgers, using splitting tools and a pole lathe.

What is 'green wood'?
Green wood is simply wood that has not been dried. Green oak is oak that has been planked or cut into beams but not deliberately dried before working. As it dries in service, it is likely to warp or split over time but generally this does not reduce its strength.

What is 'green woodworking'?
Green woodworking refers to traditional techniques of working with unseasoned timber that does not require power tools and does not create noise or dust. It actually results in furniture that is stronger and lighter than furniture made from seasoned timber. The key part of the process is splitting the wood along the grain, which gives pieces that are always stronger than anything cut with a saw from seasoned timber as that will always cut across the grain. Subsequent cutting and shaping is also easier because green wood is softer and easier to cut than seasoned timber.

What is 'short grain' or 'short grained timber'?
Short grain is where a piece of wood has not been cut parallel to the grain of the timber. Often this is not significant but with thinner timbers or timber for steam bending, the timber will simply break where the grain crosses the piece of wood. Short grain is inevitable when cutting curves in a piece of wood, so good design will eliminate the consequences, maybe by laminating, steam bending or other techniques.

What is 'steam bending'?
Steam bending is a time honoured technique of making wood pliable by holding it in steam for some time and then bending it, and holding it bent, until cool. It is used in the manufacture of many traditional chair designs to avoid the weakness that comes with cut curves.

What is 'spalting' or 'spalted beech'?
Spalted timber refers to timber that has gained a pattern of colours and black wavey lines due to the effect of being decayed by fungi. If the timber is dried, the decay process stops but the colour remains. This is particularly valued in beech.