What makes T.Y. Fine Furniture’s solid wood beds, tables, and dressers – all our furniture pieces – different? We imagine that every prospective buyer asks this as they come across our brand and products, whether online or in our shop in Ohio.
We can’t answer this question right away because what makes our brand unique entails many different things, not just one. But to start, our solid wood furniture has come to be what they are because of our passion for the craft. And, out of such passion, we identified values and creative processes that allow us to hone our skills and techniques.
Carving a Niche in the Solid Wood Furniture Industry
What are these values that we speak of? The very first of these, and the one that we focus on the most is maintaining uncompromising quality in all of the furniture we make. It’s a whole journey that starts from sourcing the wood, inspecting the grade of the material, all the way to applying our designs and producing the furniture.
Sourcing Quality Hardwood with Sustainable Intentions
We use locally grown hardwood in our furniture. This means that most of the trees have been harvested within a hundred miles of our shop. By sourcing wood within Ohio, we are able to substantially reduce the carbon footprint of the material.
In 2011, Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA) conducted a study to learn more about the carbon footprint of the average piece of furniture. My Tool Shed published an article based on the results of the study, and it was found that the average piece of furniture with about 47 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) consumption, is the same as using 5.3 gallons of gasoline.
The Common Scenario
‘Most hardwoods see thousands and thousands of miles of transport. After the trees are felled and cut into logs, they are shipped to a sawmill where they are cut into smaller pieces. Then, they are sent into the kill to dry, which is usually done on-site.
Sometimes, the process takes much longer. This happens when logs are sold green to another broker and that broker sells it to someone who then dries the wood. After this, the dried wood goes to a distributor, and then it goes to a manufacturer. In a lot of cases, the lumber travels from distributor to retailer and then the manufacturer.
You can only imagine the amount of energy and fuel spent to do all these things.
Harvesting Wood Locally
We use local lumber from producers who own and manage a local sustainable forest. They choose trees based on a selective harvesting method, which aims to somewhat mimic the natural downfall and regeneration of trees within the forest.
Our material is then milled and dried in one facility and location only – it’s all in Ohio. Because of the proximity of our source, we can dramatically reduce the amount of time and travel needed to transport the material.
Selection and Quality Control
When we get the lumber, it's all rough, and we don’t allow anyone to process it or touch it. This is one way that we can ensure the wood quality. Moreover, we only get the highest grade of material available in the market; we do not buy lower-grade wood.
Many manufacturers buy low-grade materials, then piece them together with glue and finger joints. We focus on joining full-length boards and each board is kept at its maximum width, allowing the natural beauty of the wood grain and pattern to show.
We try our best to choose a material that has no weird grain patterns because they often lead to a compromised woodgrain. Lower-grade wood has more swirls with non-straight grains. And, non-straight grain tends to snap very easily, most wood failures are due to the use of bad grain patterns in the wrong places.
Almost every wood failure we’ve seen is due to a substandard selection of material. This is why we spend the majority of our time in the milling process and grading the material for that reason.
Quality Craftsmanship with a Mix of Mechanical Engineering
T.Y. Fine Furniture founder Tarik Yousef poured his mechanical engineering background into furniture making. As such, our furniture is a product of age-old techniques and refined using modern engineering processes to refine and improve its application to each design.
For example, in our bed frames, we have developed our own proprietary joint systems for the frames. We use the concept of a bed bolt, a system refined over hundreds of years, and then we further refine the concept for ease of assembly, disassembly, and optimal strength – you can find it in our Horizon, Enso, Classic Sunrise, and Modern beds – that’s taken from that same age-old system.
We combined this classic bolt with our design, and the overall joint mechanism improved, mostly for the benefit of our clients. We take great pride in knowing that they're amazingly simple to assemble…and very sturdy, no compromise, no-nonsense.
Another example is our process for gluing panels, which is also unique. We’ve never seen a manufacturer use a similar process before and this comes down to integrating mechanical engineering into our craft.
We minimize glue joints where we can, when we need the benefits of a glue joint, we do it in such a way that people can’t even tell that wood pieces have been glued up. We want the pieces to match perfectly, and that’s our goal. We really go out of our way to make sure that it's exceptionally well done.
As a brand, we tend to do everything differently and try things that aren't typical in the industry. We engineer our own equipment and create our processes to maintain uncompromising quality.
If we have to redesign things to make them work, we will try and do it. This falls into our value of striving for the better even when it is different. If anything, this is what really distinguishes us as a brand and as craftspeople.
Distinguishing Our Solid Wood Beds, Tables, and Dressers
So, again, what distinguishes our furniture in the market? This is a succinct rundown of the things we’ve shared with you so far.
The quality of the wood we use is a critical detail in our process. We use the highest grade of lumber possible and ensure that it remains consistent in each piece we’re making.
For example, when we create headboards, we'll go through an entire stack of wood just to select one headboard worth of material. We want you to have the best color match and the best grade there is.
We have designed and built machines to produce our bed frames, tables, and dressers, as with the rest of our signature furniture, in a better and more precise way. With our equipment, we can refine the tiniest bit of detail in each piece.
Even when sanding our furniture, we make sure that the process is right. Many manufacturers use120 to 180 grit sandpaper. With us, we take it up to 600, sometimes up to 2,000 grit, to create a smoother and finer finish.
The way we put our bed frames together is definitely unlike anything else on the market. We created a joint system that uses a bed bolt from hundreds of years back and incorporated it with our improved design. They’re easy to put together, but they’re stable and durable.
A lot of beds use metal connectors that are then screwed onto the wood surface. They’re reasonably sturdy for the first five years, maybe 10 at best. But we stay away from this joinery method. We stick to our design, for efficiency’s sake, and also to maintain the beauty of the wood.
Lastly, and it’s something we haven’t tackled anywhere else in this article, one of the things that make our furniture distinctive is our wood finish. It’s made with food-grade, certified organic ingredients.
We drew inspiration from age-old ingredients that have worked for thousands of years for a similar purpose. It’s not that we reinvented the wheel, but we modernized the process and produced a special blend.
The product, our signature wood finish, seeps into the wood, down into the grain, and then solidifies. This penetrating finish protects the wood fully, this process highlights the natural colors in the wood and allows the wood textures to shine naturally, in ways most people have never seen or experienced before.
The amount of work that we pour into our furniture speaks volumes of who and where we are as a brand. We don’t compromise quality and we always strive to do better.
Each piece of furniture is an embodied experience from people who are passionate about their craft. We wish to share such an experience, along with the hope that the furniture helps breathe life into the homes of our clients.