Helpful Info from Urban Grain
How do I kick off the design process and how can I be sure I’ll be able to confidently visualise my commission before approving the design ?
All the items listed in our Etsy shop are examples of pieces previously commissioned… we photograph them and list them to give new clients ideas of what kind of things are possible and for what price…
Some people just want slight variations of what they see, and others want something totally different, and that’s how our range has grown over the years !
There are a few ways to start the process…
1. Send us a quick description, sketch or a visual of what you want…
2. Send us photos of your room and your other pieces of furniture and we’ll come up with some ideas for you…
3. Check out the relevant boards in our Pinterest Account and if any designs or details catch your eye, let us know which they are and we can propose ways to turn these ideas into a reality for you !
4. You can also call, skype or facetime to chat through everything and bounce ideas back and forth…
We’ll advise you of the prices of the different designs and we can up or down spec the designs if required until we hit on the perfect design and price for you !
Once a design is agreed we’ll send you an invoice (for the full amount if your order is under £1000, or for a 50% deposit if it is over £1000)… you’ll then be booked into our production schedule, samples will be sent out and artwork will be prepared for you to sign off or amend as necessary…
What kind of timber do you use?
Unless otherwise specified, all timber is reclaimed pine scaffolding board from a local scaffolding yard – it has varying degrees of wear and tear from it’s years spent on building sites… This wood has unique character and we do not use a 4-sided planer or mill the wood to remove the original salvaged patina on the wood and make the surface look perfect and square on all edges. Your furniture may have nail holes, saw marks, staining and natural curves and bowing in the wood… It may have nicks and dents and texture, stains and splits. We can sand the wood to create a functional smooth writing, dining, or seating surface whilst maintaining the original aged aesthetic as much as possible or supply almost as it comes from the yard (minus the dirt of course). However, we never use really badly damaged or bowed pieces which would affect its overall performance. What we are saying is that this wood has some character and soul to it. If you aren’t positive that is your style and/or you are looking for a very modern, highly finished, milled perfectly squared surface you may be at the wrong place. Additionally, there is variation in the colour of the boards and some are lighter or a bit darker. All pieces are unique and will vary slightly in character and colour from the exact pieces on our website. The boards are never square or flat… they are twisted and bowed in all directions possible… they are a nightmare to work with ! We have grown to understand them and embrace their quirks – we have to… without doing we’d have to become a run of the mill furniture producer and use mdf ! If we have any severely warped or bowed boards we reject them, but we have to pass tolerances of 2-3cm here and there… if we didn’t, we simply couldn’t do what we do because this is the nature of the boards and we can’t take new/perfect wood and re-create the aged, distressed aesthetic which these boards have…
What other component products can be sourced ?
The majority of furniture we make uses the reclaimed scaffolding boards described above, but we have also worked with plywood, glass, sheet metal, dismantled vintage furniture and machined new timber… and we are open and keen to source anything else our clients might want us to use… our team in multi-faceted, multi-disciplined, multi-talented, multi-capable, multi-skilled !
What are your lead times?
The typical lead time is 6-8 weeks. This means your furniture typically ships out within this time frame. Time in transit varies depending on where in the world you are and how much you choose to spend on the delivery method…. But generally we use UPS and they generally deliver within about a week. If you need furniture by a certain date, please submit a request prior to purchasing. We do our best to accommodate but do not make any guarantees…. or if you do have a incredibly tight deadline we can apply rush fees (to cover our overtime and sleepless nights!) and make it happen !
Who does Urban Grain sell to?
We sell directly to home and business owners, interior designers, architects and restaurants etc.
We can sometimes offer discounts on volume orders depending on the products selected. Enquire for more info.
Why is your furniture so expensive if it’s made from tatty old scaffolding boards ?
We don’t get asked this a lot, but it has been raised as an issue a few times, and we can understand why… there are quite a few companies making products from similar components and they can be cheaper, and it’s no secret that reclaimed scaffolding boards are cheap to buy. The cost incurred in making our furniture is a result of the high cost of the skilled labour employed… the team are highly qualified designers and craftsmen and women who spend hours and hours ensuring that the quality of the finished pieces is second to none, making Urban Grain the market leader in reclaimed wood furniture design and production. The scaffolding boards are cheap, but that’s because they aren’t perfect in anyway and traditionally totally unsuitable for cabinet making… they are of uneven thicknesses, bowed, warped, twisted, they are made using the most unstable part of the pine tree, the central area, and therefore working with them requires kiln drying, a high level of knowledge, hours of necessary preparation and also after treatment… other companies selling cheaper products simply can’t be as reliable as Urban Grain and their products of much lower quality. We offer a lifetime guarantee on all our furniture, and our clients can be assured that if any problems do arise, which is highly unlikely, they will be rectified swiftly.
How is the wood finished ?
We use a range of eco- friendly finishes depending on the look the client requires – Our most popular finishes can be seen on the Timber Finishes page of our website.
What maintenance and care is needed for the timber?
The best method for general cleaning is simply a warm soapy water soaked cloth.
What care or maintenance is needed for the steel components of my piece?
Our galvanised; powder coated (polished and distressed finishes have a clear powder coat top layer as standard); and chromed steel will not rust at all and require absolutely no maintenance – just a quick buff with a cloth if it gets dirty.
Our dark steel is susceptible to rusting if exposed to any moisture, including human contact – if this is likely to be the case we apply clear sealants (either clear powder coat, wax or lacquer depending on the product’s end usage)… we recommend that top up waxing be carried out by the client every now and again if they have a waxed finish product (the frequency totally depends on the usage the item gets).
Does Urban Grain’s furniture ship assembled and if not how do I assemble it ?
If you have the access, the overall weight isn’t an issue and you’re based in the UK we can send products fully assembled.
We establish any weight or access issues with our clients when discussing their commissions at the very start of the design process and design their commissions accordingly…. the steel fixings we generally use, and which you can see examples of throughout the shop, are perfect for self assembly and adjustment – everything just screws and clamps in place – we often describe it as Meccano for grown ups ! As a result most of the furniture we make can generally be supplied flat-packed (only welded options can’t be)…
Assembly is really straight forward and it’s generally fairly obvious how to do it – sometimes it’s just a case of screwing some legs onto a table top, or building up a shelving unit in the right order… if it’s more complicated than that we can guide our clients through the assembly by phone or on Skype (because everything is bespoke we can’t produce written assembly instructions as it would just be so costly) and we also make assembly videos, for examples of these visit our Assembly Guidelines page. Generally all that’s required is an extra pair of hands and an electric drill if ceiling/wall/floor mounting anything. For large units clients will definitely need a friend to help with the assembly, and installation, if required. All the components are very heavy and will definitely cause damage if they fall over whilst unsecured, so we urge our clients not to attempt to undertake assembly and installation of larger units by themselves !
All hardware required to assemble the furniture is supplied and all holes are pre-drilled. We do not supply wall/floor fixings though because we cannot assume full knowledge of a clients’ walls/floors and can’t be held liable for any mistakes made with installation – if clients are confident or competent in this area we suggest hiring a local handyman who will be able to assess the walls/floors and be qualified to know what fixings to use. We’ve written a little guide here – http://www.urbangrain.co.uk/installing-an-urban-grain-shelving-system/ – to help explain how we’d do it though !
Does Urban Grain take care of any costs associated with importing furniture for overseas clients ?
We don’t – all international buyers are responsible for import sales taxes, duties and any legislation which might affect the importation of their order.