Neem wood

Neem wood is growing in the furniture making process, it has several strong characteristics that make it a valuable resource for furniture.

Environmental:

This popular shade tree in India and Africa has natural pest controlling and medical characteristics.  The Neem tree grows quickly and is ready to cut for timber around 5-7 years.  The ideal climate and vegetation is warmer climates, with little rain and well-drained sandy soils. Too much water can cause the tree to die quickly.

Physical Properties:

The Neem tree is related to the Mahogany tree family and has similar characteristics.  Neem wood features interlocking, coarse and rough grain that aid in the durability and charm of the wood. It is not easily split apart. However Neem is easy to work or carve, whether it is machine or hand tools. Here are a few of our favorite Neem wood furniture pieces.

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Other uses for Neem Wood:

Oil from the Neem tree is used in a variety of other ways including toothpaste, toothbrush, combs, cosmetics and several other ways. Various parts of the tree can be used to make medicine to help several common aliments.

Have you heard of any other uses? Please share –

neemtreepictureNeemAzadirachta indica

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Natural Characteristics of Solid Wood

Solid wood is a living, breathing material. It ages over time like any natural material. Natural solid wood has characteristics which include knots, variations in grain, and color differences. Seasoning and drying the wood reduces splitting and warping, but some natural movement is to be expected.  Changes in climate and weather cause solid wood furniture to move.

Natural character includes cracks within the wood, knots, mineral deposits, inclusions, as well as grain and pigment variations. Variations in height, width or depth for all pieces may vary by as much as one inch. Sometimes filler or a wood patch is required. These character marks are concealed and/or incorporated into the natural distressing of the product. They do not interfere with the structural integrity of the piece, but instead  give each piece its unique character.

Knots are imperfections that happen during the growth of the tree.

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Grain Differences are caused by the way the tree is cut. Each board will have a different grain direction. There are several types of cuts. Each different type of cut aids in the durability of a piece as well as affects how much wood is used. Some common types that you may have heard of are: Plain Sawn, Quarter Sawn and Rift Sawn.

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Natural Color Variations are created during the tree growth.  Depending on where the piece was positioned within the tree will determine the color. Lighter pieces were closer to the bark while the darker pieces were closer to the center of the tree.

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Check out a few of HTD‘s pieces that are constructed  from Solid Hardwood.

CP_Round

JAVA_BEDROOM

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5 Reasons to Buy Solid Wood Furniture

From Home Trends & Design, here are 5 Reasons to buy our solid wood furniture.

1. Good for your family:

Our solid hardwood furniture is made to live with and last a lifetime. Constructed from solid hardwood, not particle board and veneer, it’s also a much healthier product. Solid hardwood furniture from HTD is finished with eco-friendly water-based lacquer, a healthier choice for your family and your home.

2. Good for your wallet:

Don’t throw your money away buying disposable furniture. With HTD, you are getting a product you will never need or want to part with. We make heirlooms your children will want at prices you can afford today.

3. Good for the planet: 

Mangos are the most popular fruit in the world.  Loved for their amazing flavor, they are grown in plantations all over southeast Asia. When a tree no longer bears fruit, it is cut down and replaced with a new sapling. Each piece of our furniture that is made from Mango wood is one less hardwood tree that is wasted.

FCP-Sideboard

4. Wide variety of styles & sizes:

With the widest selection of solid hardwood furniture available, you are sure to find a product that is just right. We offer dining, living, and bedroom furniture in many styles and sizes. Contact us today and we’ll be happy today help.

5. Lasting beauty for your home: 

Ample proportions and attention to every design detail ensures timeless styling that will be appreciated  for years to come. Each product is constructed entirely by hand, which gives a unique character to each piece. We implement time-honored techniques such as dovetail drawers, floating tops, and mortise & tenon joinery to ensure each piece lasts a lifetime.

Dovetails

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The Best Furniture… the Best Finish… for the Worst Conditions.

Cat FinishUnless you are looking at the unfinished surface on a reclaimed wood table or a one-of-a-kind piece, almost all Home Trends & Design furniture have catalyzed finishes. “Catalyze” refers to an acid additive that makes the finish cure in a more dramatic way. Catalyzed finishes are often referred to as “two-part” finishes because the process involves using two chemicals that react together. Separately, the two elements do nothing by themselves. When mixed together, they change and create a particular chemical reaction called cross linking. Cross-linking is what makes the catalyzed finish the preferred standard of craftsmen and expert wood-workers. Deep down and close up, the molecular structure of a finish appears similar to long strands of spaghetti. The catalyst causes the ends to join together to form even longer chains of inter-connected molecules. These long molecular strands make the finishes harder and more resistant to water and other elements. The resins cross-link upon drying to create a much more durable and moisture-resistant coating than do the non-catalyzed finishes. Because Home Trends & Design builds pieces that can last for generations and through all kinds of everyday family use, catalyzed finishes are the preferred choice for most of our collections.

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Breadboards… and Breadboard Ends

MangoBreadboard_FCHA fine dining table will often have something in common with the breadboard placed on top.

The table may have been built with “breadboard ends”— a technique that keeps the top planks of a table absolutely flat and straight. It’s so called because you can see kitchen breadboards with the same technique that remain straight through years of use.

The key is the joinery.

BB 5For thousands of years, woodcrafters have been connecting wood with mortise and tenon joints. A long tenon extension from one piece of wood extends deep into a rectangular mortise hole on another. The cuts are made to fit exactly, creating a simple bond that is both strong and secure.

Tongue and groove joinery uses a similar process, with a long tongue on one or several pieces of wood fitting into a groove cut into the connecting piece.

Both are used on Home Trends & Design’s tables with breadboard ends, creating a table that can last for generations. Here’s what you can’t see from the outside.

BB 1First, the thick top planks are fit together, with a wood tongue extending out at both ends to fit into the breadboard end groove.  The solid breadboard end is placed, with the groove fitting into the tabletop tongue. Notice the two mortise openings on both ends for the connecting side rails.

BB 3Side rails with tenon joints are then fitted onto the table top panel.

The side rail tenon is inserted into the mortise opening of the breadboard end. This locks a strong frame around all four edges of the top, creating a locked, tight fit.

WoodNailsWood nails are sometimes added that connect through the breadboard mortise end and into the tenon, strengthening the breadboard’s bond to the side rail tenon, as well as adding a unique rustic visual flair.

Furniture built with this process can last for generations. Collections at Home Trends & Design with breadboard ends include Classic Harvest and Spanish dining tables. Come by and take a look… there may be a treat on a breadboard waiting for you, too!

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The first 10 Days of a Mango Tree’s Life

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Mango Wood & Sustainability

Here are the first ten days in a Mango tree’s life.  It’s an amazing growth rate that you can see every day.  It’s just one of the reasons Home Trends & Design believes in sustainable practices when they select the wood to be used for their home furnishings designs. 

A Mango tree can sprout and grow very quickly, will produce delicious fruit for 10-30 years, and then its wood can be harvested to produce beautiful furniture, with another fast-growing Mango seedling planted in its place. 

Unlike teak, rosewood and mahogany hardwoods that grow very slowly in the rainforests, this on-going cycle of growth-and-harvest can be sustained perpetually.  Some popular woods such as ipé require many acres of forest to be clear-cut in order to produce a small amount of board-feet that is actually— and expensively— used. 

Home Trends & Design uses plantation-grown Mango so that environmental impact on the Earth itself is minimized, and the cycle of growth and responsible use continues.

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Heirloom Furniture Lasts Lifetimes

As many of you already know, more and more, consumers have made a conscious decision to become eco-friendly and live a greener lifestyle to help save the Earth environment. The increase in demand by consumers for green products has transformed the marketplace where style, function, and assorted selection flourish.

One segment where this is clearly obvious is the eco-friendly hand-made furniture market. The sturdiness of solid wood and its resistance to dents and scratches, makes it the perfect material to build furniture. 

What is Eco-Friendly Furniture?

You hear the terms “green” and “eco-friendly” refers to the materials and processes used to create furniture and other products. It means the products has the following attributes:

  • Sustainability
  • Biodegradable
  • Renewable

For example, eco-friendly hand-made furniture made with virgin wood must come from sources that comply with sustainable forestry practices as outlined by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This means that all-wood based materials an eco-friendly furniture manufacturer uses come from lands where trees, soil, streams, and wildlife habitat receive environmental protection.

At the end of its lifecycle, solid wood furniture can be recycled or reclaimed, which reduces the need for landfills. Furniture manufacturers can create new, quality products without requiring new materials.

In addition, the eco-friendly solid wood furniture manufacturing does not damage or contaminate the environment because it uses toxic-free chemicals.

According to the National Hardwood Lumber Association, the “embodied energy” used to harvest wood consist of

  1. Electricity – 19%
  2. Natural gas – 16%
  3. Petroleum – 3%
  4. Biomass – 61%

Furthermore, the solid sawn wood furniture-makers use to create their pieces require even less energy than other wood products.

More about Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed or recycled wood provides a plentiful source of premium material that is flexible and strong. Each year countless numbers of bridges, barns, homes, farmhouses, and public buildings around the globe reach the end of their useful life and are razed. This superbly seasoned and air-dried reclaimed wood, which may have taken decades or centuries to ripen, gets harvested at 87% less than the carbon cost associated with virgin wood.

Once harvested, the wood is cleaned of nails and hardware.  Next, the wood goes through a kiln dry process to remove infestation and assure uniform moisture content throughout the piece. The wood is then handcrafted into working material.

These steps assure the recycled wood meets the standards necessary to create fine and unique chairs, dressers, beds, dining tables, and other hand-made furniture pieces.

Solid wood furniture made from reclaimed wood has a mature character with distinctive knots, grains and patinas. Each piece of furniture has its unique history as demonstrated by its subtle grooves, wormholes, nicks, and other imperfections. Each piece of furniture is unique to its owner– unlike processed wood or plastics.

Undeniable Durability

One of main marketing points for eco-friendly solid furniture centers on its durability. The manufacturing processes start with the design of a piece, which relies on the following joinery techniques that are hundreds of years old:

  • Mortis and tendon joinery common for chairs, tables and cabinets
  • Butterfly joints to join planks
  • Dovetail consist of interlocking joints that keeps furniture from falling apart

Well-made hand-made furniture has a longer functional lifespan than other furniture and can be handed down generation after generation.

Environmentally conscious consumers want to protect the environment of their home or office. Carefully selected, well-seasoned wood, and centuries-old construction techniques combine to produce furniture that retains its natural beauty for 100 years or more. 

Providing your consumers an alternative of eco-friendly hand-made furniture offers a tangible way for them to make a significant impact on our environment.

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Sell Bedroom Furniture that’s Solid and Built to Last

There was a time when craftsmanship and quality were the keys to a successful furniture business. Pieces were handed down through generations as beloved family heirlooms. Furniture was built using superior techniques and skill, solidly put together, and made to last. Some of today’s furniture is made through a process that uses harsh chemicals and the end result is pieces that don’t stand the test of time quite like solid wood. For those who wish to provide their clients and customers with bedroom furniture that combines quality, beauty, old techniques, and is eco-friendly— there is an affordable source that makes hand-crafted, quality pieces the priority. Here is what makes it so special.

Eco-Friendly Materials and Practices 

A question people should ask themselves is what exactly does eco-friendly mean? While the use of sustainable materials and non-toxic chemicals is an important aspect, it also involves the practices a company uses to build their furniture. The practices should reduce the use of energy it takes to build and transport, preserve natural resources, and release fewer toxins and waste into the environment. The materials used should be sustainable, recyclable, or recycled. Whether the wood comes from salvaging or sustainable acacia, mango, or neem— it is found that eco-friendly solid wood furniture is durable and long-lasting, a bonus in addition to being good for the earth.

Built to Last 

Unlike much of today’s furniture made of particle board, plastic, metal, or composite wood— solid wood is built to last. Sometimes what seems affordable becomes more expensive as you have to replace it over the years. Solid wood furniture is able to maintain its beauty with long lasting, durable finishes. It also uses less chemicals and glues, helping people to keep a healthy home.

Joinery Techniques

Mortis and tenon, butterfly joints, and dovetailed drawers aren’t descriptions we are used to hearing when it comes to furniture these days. What they are is old joinery techniques that not only add strength and durability to furniture, but also add unique and eye-catching detailing. Skilled builders make pieces that can stand up to heavy use without falling apart. The top benefit of using these time-honored traditions is making long-lasting furniture that consumers truly enjoy and appreciate.

Bedroom Furniture 

The bedroom is perhaps one of the most important places in a home to have good quality, healthy furniture. We spend more time in our bedrooms than we realize. In fact, it usually is the room we spend the most time in— even if we aren’t awake. A sturdy bed or a lovely dresser made out of reclaimed, recycled, or sustainable woods is the perfect addition to any home. Each piece of bedroom furniture is crafted to turn the room into the sanctuary it was meant to be.

Your customers will thank you for the opportunity to buy bedroom furniture that’s solid and built to last. Combine that with a mission to utilize eco-friendly practices and materials, an affordable price point, and wonderful age-old techniques and they will also feel good about their purchase. It’s the kind of furniture that will not only be enjoyed by this generation, but future generations to come.

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Join Hands for Solid Wood Quality

As sustainability becomes the trend of the day and we are bombarded with green-this and eco-that, it is easily to lose sight of what those terms really mean.  Consider the furniture in your home, does it meet the standards you want to embrace for sustainability?  Furniture is a daily part of our lives, but is often overlooked at the place to start when looking for ways to live in harmony with the environment.

Many people limit the definition of sustainable furniture to pieces that have been made from recycled material, and that may be true, but it can also cover pieces made from materials such as hemp, bamboo, cork, and mango wood furniture.  The whole process, from the growth of the materials through manufacturing to final construction, must be considered  Greenwashing, the practice of spinning a recycled products description to make it look more eco-friendly, is a problem in its self.  So what is eco-friendly furniture really? 

Materials of Sustainable Furniture:  

  • No toxic chemicals
  • reclaimed
  • recycled
  • recyclable
  • Sustainably grown or harvested  

When choosing materials for sustainable furniture, the crafter takes into several considerations.  Although the choice of the material may cost more, the goal is to create a highly durable product of solid construction with few defects that would cause the piece to turn up in landfill.

Methods of Making Sustainable Furniture

  • Materials are collected and transported in a way that has minimal impact on the environment.
  • Built to last a lifetime
  • Built with quality and superior workmanship in mind.
  • Created by craftsmen in a healthy working environment

Furniture made in a third world factory with workers in poor health that have strip cut a forest is not an option for the eco-friendly furniture buyer. 

Sustainable Design strives to:

  • Minimize waste
  • Highlight the natural beauty of the materials
  • No harsh chemical finishes
  • Allows materials to breathe and age naturally
  • Resists damage
  • Hand made or produced in a green factory.

Some furniture companies choose impact the environment indirectly by making contributions to environmental causes or, as in the case of mango wood furniture, use a source that is highly renewable and provides families with food and income.

When you begin to look for sustainable furniture to add to your home or sell in your furniture store, be sure that it is truly sustainable.  Check to see if that mango wood furniture you have chosen comes from a reputable company with eco-friendly production practices.  Research to ensure that the materials weren’t simply greenwashed for the convenience and peace of mind of the consumer.  It is the research in the end that will allow you, in good conscience, to add beautiful, quality, sustainable furniture to your home or product line. 

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I Am Mango

Welcome to Home Trends & Design’s blog.  Who am I?  I am a Mango tree and live in a mountain valley on the other side of the world.  I wish to relate to you the magical, mysterious, ecological properties that make us here in the Mango grove so unique— and create the wonderful wood that is turned into Home Trends & Design’s beautiful, interesting pieces to furnish your home.

I have been cultivated in India for over 4,000 years and am a symbol of love & fertility.  When my friends around me stop bearing fruit, instead of growing old and falling over, they are harvested and transformed into delightful furniture, allowing younger trees to be planted in their place.  It is a self-sustaining, ecological cycle that has been going on for a very long time.

Excuse me, please.  Mr. Ravi Shankar’s Spirit is passing through on the wind, and it’s starting to rain.  I will blog more when I am refreshed.

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