Local governments spend large amounts of money furnishing new schools and government facilities, as well as, replacing furniture when needed. Currently only a minor portion of furniture expenditures are being made on wooden furniture made with U.S. hardwood lumber and plywood materials.

The public furniture market is currently dominated by large national institutional furniture manufacturers with little sales going to local and regional wood products manufacturers. The USDA US Forest Service Public Furniture Research Project andt North Carolina State University will investigate the level of interest by local governments and schools in purchasing wooden furniture products compared to products made of plastic and metal

The project will study the current buying practices of approximately thirty school systems and local governments infrom three states to identify how local government entities purchase furniture and furnishings. The information will then be used to support the growth of wooden furniture sales by the US wood products industry.

Approximately fifty example 3-D models of wooden furniture which meet school and government requirements will be provided to help local shops compete in this market. The models will be supported by a parts list needed for costing and manufacturing, plus the written specifications needed for bidding.

The project will culminate in January 2013 with an outreach effort that includes a support website (www.cnr.ncsu.edu/publicfurniture), a webinar and a publication.

Harry Watt. of NC State University’s Wood Products Extension Program, is the project leader for the USDA USFS Public Furniture Research Project.

Source: Princeton Forestry Sciences Lab in Princeton, West Virginia

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