Approx lead time:
Lead times vary greatly depending on a number of factors, but generally is between 5-8 weeks. The lead time depends primarily on the piece. Each product page will describe the crafting and shipping options available.
Woods & Stains
Click here for more information about the woods we use.
The Copeland Furniture Finish
Our standard top coat is a pre-catalyzed lacquer. The "pre" refers to the fact that the acidic catalyst is added by the finish manufacture, as opposed to post-catalyzed lacquers where the components are combined at the time of spraying. Copeland's finishes are Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA) rated - meaning they are made to withstand the type of heat, grease and spills typically found in a kitchen setting. This durability is a significant advantage over the industry's standard conventional lacquers. Also noteworthy is the matte, satin look and feel of our finish which contrasts favorably with the heavy build-up and high gloss of conventional finishes.
Water Based -- the next generation
As concern over indoor air quality continues to grow, Copeland is becoming the leader in non-toxic, eco-friendly water based finishes. Conventional petroleum based solvents contain large amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOC)s which are harmful to the atmosphere. While most of these VOC's are released at the time of manufacturing, a small amount remains on the product and can off-gas in the home. Individuals with particular sensitivities sometimes report that this has an adverse affect on their health. That's why most of Copeland's furniture can now be requested in a non-emitting water-based finish. Technically, this finish is called an Acrylic Emulsion meaning that the resin is made up of acrylic polymers mixed in a water solvent. Since there is no petroleum based solvent, our water based finish is extremely low in VOC's and completely free of formaldehyde. As important, the finish is every bit as durable as our standard pre-catalyzed lacquer with the same satin feel. There is a slight difference in color - the water based finish tends to be a bit whiter than the pre-cat - but it's slight enough that unless you were looking at the two finishes side by side you might never know the difference. As this technology develops we anticipate a day when water based becomes the standard on all our furniture, however presently it is only available on about 3/4 of Copeland's pieces. Please contact us to request this finish on your furniture.
MDF (Never Used)
A veneer is a thinly cut overlay of solid wood applied over a substrate. Common furniture substrates include Plywood, and Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) or Particleboard.
There are three main reasons manufacturers use veneers in their products:
- Construction: Complicated shapes and curves are often impossible to fabricate out of solids. Very thin parts often require the strength of veneered plywood and certain design elements require the dimensional stability of veneered components.
- Aesthetic: Interesting effects with wood grains can by achieved by matching and/or assembling veneer strips in any number of deliberate patterns.
- Cost: Arguable the least credible but certainly the most common reason companies use veneers is that they simply cost less. As the market price of cherry and walnut rise, the cost of inexpensive MDF substrates can remain stable. With only a very thin strip of solid wood covering the substrate companies can deliver a product that has the look of wood at a fraction of the cost.
Solids vs. Veneers - the what's and the why's
Our solid wood comes from sustainably harvested, domestic hardwood trees. We select species regarded for their exceptional beauty as well as their steady long standing market demand. Sawmills generally process raw logs with one of two techniques:
- PLAINSAWING - produces widely spaced and broadly arcing grain patterns.
- QUARTERSAWING (often referred to as Rift Sawing) - produces closely spaced, parallel graining.
Boards are then kiln dried to the ideal moisture content. An important fact about solid wood is that it expands and contracts with the varying levels of humidity (up to 1% measured across the grain). Furniture made of solid wood must be designed specifically to allow room for the wood to move. In this sense the final shape of the product is largely dictated by the materials themselves. This is an interesting variant of the modernist axiom form follows function and could be expressed as form follows fabrication. In both cases the designer serves a higher master than their own internally derived sense of aesthetics (expressed as form follows fancy).
The reason manufacturers use solids is fairly obvious. Well made solid wood furniture is extremely durable and when damaged can be repaired and renewed over generations -- veneer over particle board, once damaged can never be returned to "as good as new". Solid wood construction is a time honored tradition that is also as much an appeal to one's sense of culture and heritage as it is to any practical criteria. Furniture built of solid wood often displays exquisite, traditional joinery techniques that heighten a sense of historical connectedness even when the style itself is very Modern or contemporary. It's also useful to remember that even after a tree is harvested, the wood itself remains very much 'alive' for decades if not centuries to come.
Solid Wood vs. Veneer: The Where's
Our reputation is as a solid wood specialist. This is not to say we never use veneers but rather that their use is limited to the specific areas where they are the best choice rather than simply the cheapest choice. For instance, the curved back panel of the Catalina Bed must be a veneer because it would be structurally impossible to build out of solids. Framed panels, that is panels surrounded on all four sides, will often be made of high grade, veneered plywood. In these instances, a solid panel would have the potential to expand and break the frame apart during periods of high humidity. The plywood is also considerably stronger than solids of equal dimension. This includes Case Backs and Drawer Bottoms as well as Sarah and Berkeley Case Sides.
Copeland's drawer fronts are solid wood, 3/4" thick. Drawer sides and backs are also solid wood - cherry, maple or ash - and are a full 5/8" thick. Drawer bottoms are 1/4" high-grade plywood panels.
You'll notice that our drawers are joined with an asymmetrical English dovetail joint. Asymmetrical refers to the fact that the pins (seen on the drawer front) and tails (seen on the drawer side) are of different widths. This is the gold standard in traditional joinery and is both aesthetically and structurally superior to other common techniques.
The drawer front integrates directly with the drawer side. Often you will find furniture where the drawer front is simply screwed on to a pre-existing drawer box. This is usually because the manufacturer has opted to purchase pre-manufactured drawer boxes rather than going to the trouble of designing, engineering and building the components to match their individual designs. Sadly, many manufacturers who market themselves as Made in the USA engage in this practice, effectively outsourcing components that make up nearly half of the product.
Some manufacturers cut corners, leaving drawer boxes unfinished. Not only is this unsightly, it is potentially hazardous to your clothing. Delicate garments can be snagged or even torn on rough unsanded surfaces and this becomes more pronounced with age as the unprotected wood is exposed to changing humidity. Copeland's drawer boxes are fully finished and sanded on the interiors.
Frame and Panel cases derive their main structure from the four legs which are joined by an apron assembly near the top and bottom of the case. These parts make up the frame. A solid wood top is affixed and 1/4" top- grade veneer panels are integrated into the case sides and back. Because the panels are framed on all four sides this, a veneer is the ideal material. Were we to use a solid panel the expansion of the wood in high humidity could potentially cause the frame to break apart.