Driving supplies development are technology, performance and productivity. Adhesives, edgeband, veneer, laminates, fasteners, hardware — all must perform well in production, then stand up well under use. But design trends and user demographics also are significant factors, as fashion, style and end-user demographics change requirements for cabinetry and furnishings. Customer concerns over indoor air quality and environmental impact still are outweighed by price and product performance on the factory floor.
Wood & Veneer
Mid-Century Modern Table Legs
Solid wood and panel, representing 50% of manufacturing cost in wood products, have been rising in price dramatically with the housing recovery and growth of China’s home buyers.
Sliding Doors, Pull-outs
Sliding doors are becoming more popular in the U.S. as urban design catches on. Barn doors are used as partitions, in place of pocket doors, and as room dividers. Cabinet and door hardware are more visible as open space interior design takes hold and universal design becomes more than just a buzz word. Tambour doors that open sideways and pull-out shelving are trending. The no-hardware look catches on, too, with touch-to-open doors and drawer hardware, in some cases with servo-motors. Islands and entire cabinets that lower for access then return to the original position. Visit woodworkingnetwork.com for more hardware supply information.
Hi-Definition, textured, glossy
Digital print laminates have expanded interior design possibilities, offering highly customized surfaces with flash-cured UV inkjet patterns from Formica, Wilsonart, and individual, woodgrains, even photos or- Wood-like laminates — high-definition photorealistic reproduction enhanced with carefully controlled embossing to simulate the look and feel of real wood veneer. Uniboard Woodprint embosses its décor paper laminates, synchronizing real wood textures just as they would be in nature. Visit woodworkingnetwork.com for more component supply information.
Sanding pads with fabric mesh capture and direct dust. 3M, a name synonymous with sandpaper, introduced Cubitron II sandpaper and expands applications to hand-held and sanding machines. Adapted from its automotive abrasives, Cubitron abrasive particles are “cultured” for uniform dimension, providing longer-lasting belts and pads and more consistent sanding. Visit woodworkingnetwork.com for more sanding and finishing supply information.
Instant & Green Adhesives
Venture-capital backed Bioformix introduced Nexbond, an instant glue formulated to be activated by the salts in wood pieces. Greener glues are in demand for paneling and furnishings that do not off-gas or harm indoor air quality. Concerns surfaced about performance, bleed-through on light veneers. Visit woodworkingnetwork.com for more gluing and adhesive supply information.
The Euro-style trend drives a demand for a seamless look, produced by laser-powered edgebanding machines. The specialized edgeband consumable, extruded with glue that is activated by lasers, creates a nearly invisible joint. The same material can be used on hot-air edgebanders. Seamless also appeals to healthcare, reducing crevasses harboring germs. Also big: antibacterial properties on hardware and work surfaces, prized by medical establishments. Visit woodworkingnetwork.com for more component supply information.
At interzum 2013 in May, an all day conference focused on market adoption of lightweight panel. Lightweight panel has gained acceptance in Europe, where advocates tout its advantages in shipping and reduced materials. In the U.S., a lightweight panel component supplier has built a plant near IKEA’s Danville, VA, Swedwood factory. U.S. markets still question mechanical properties of the lightweight panel sandwich — honeycomb and other core designs — and how these panels measure up in production versus MDF or other board products, as well as their strength in end use. The addition of plastics to some forms of lightweight panel core is being enabled by technologies from BASF and EconCore. Visit woodworkingnetwork.com for more component supply information.
Portable power tools for solid wood joinery, paneling, and job-site installation saw a number of advances in the fastening components they use. Lamello introduced the P14 fastener; Festool’s Domino XL uses a larger, stronger tenon; Senco updated its power tool lines and provides collated strips of screws that feed into the driver like bullets from an ammunition belt. Visit woodworkingnetwork.com for more power tool information.
Veneer & Lumber
Precise, Textured, Reclaimed
A number of veneer yards disappeared during the downturn, while high-definition textured laminates further intruded in the market. Remaining manufacturers improve and automate production, and introduce rustic and textured styles in addition to classic patterns. Visit woodworkingnetwork.com for more veneer and lumber supply information.
LED lighting is now a mainstay item with increased use in under-cabinet and stair treads, built-in components (along with phone chargers, USB power) on desktops, stairway lighting as well as ambient, task, accent and decorative lighting applications. New innovations include battery-operated, trimmable LED closet rods with motion sensors and mini LED lighting products. Visit woodworkingnetwork.com for more wood component information.
Zero formaldehyde coatings that deliver consistent gloss or matte meet the need for reduced off-gassing on furnishings. Greener catalytic coatings and water-borne urethanes gain traction, with some business furniture makers branding their coating processes. Neil Kelly introduces a “declared contents label” for its kitchen cabinets. Visit woodworkingnetwork.com for more sanding and finishing supply information.