Plastic laminate or Formica is made of many layers of paper impregnated in phenolic or melamine resin. All laminate sheets have three fundamental parts:
- The inner layer consists of one or more layers of kraft paper and it characterised by a brownish colour with blackish lines. It forms the back of the laminate sheet onto which the glue is applied to fix it to the rough panel;
- An overlay impregnated with melamine resin;
- A decorated or coloured sheet of paper, also melamine resin impregnated.
Laminate is the ideal lining material for rough wood panels. It can be used on particle board, honeycomb, plywood, MDF and so on. Its high resistance to aggressive chemical elements, including acid, boiling water, domestic cleaning products and ammonia, make it the go-to product for making furniture doors, structures and worktops for desks, kitchens, bathrooms, etc. It also displays outstanding resistance to rubbing.
Phenolic or melamine resins are heat-setting materials, meaning that they become harder after undergoing a heating treatment. Some types of laminates can be modelled when they are heated to a temperature of 180°C. This allows two types of processes:
- Preforming – The wooden panel already lined with a laminate sheet is carved so that laminate in excess protrudes from the edge of the panel. The protruding part of the laminate is then heated, curved and glued onto the side edge of the processed panel;
- Postforming – The rough wooden panel is appropriately milled to curve the side edges. A laminate sheet is applied on the surface which protrudes from the edges by the designed amount. The protruding part will be heated, appropriately modelled and then glued onto the side edges of the wooden panel.
Nespoli Cucine uses all types of postformed doors procured from highly specialised vendors.
We can apply veneer to all types of furniture. This technique consists in covering a common wooden panel with a thin sheet of high quality wood obtained by slicing. The method of this operation is shown in the figures below. The fine wood sheet – oak, teak, ash, cherry, mahogany, for instance – is sliced either along or against the grain or in the root. Veneering was originally used to make a piece of furniture made using coarser material appear finer.
Reconstituted veneer may be used instead of fine wood slices. These are made from common wood slices. These resulting leaves are then stained as required by immersing them in steel vats at controlled temperature. The stains are organic and non-toxic as a consequence. Staining is followed by forming
during which the various leaves are appropriately stacked to obtain the desired pattern. The leaf pack is then glued together to make it compact. Furthermore, different types of glue can be used to confer particular finishes to the leaves. After gluing, the product is passed under flat or shaped presses according to the decorations to be impressed on the block. Flat presses apply lined patterns, while shaped pressed convey particular streaking or brier-like patterns. Pressing produces a block, which is sometimes called a trunk, which is a few metres long and about one meter high and wide. The resulting parallelepiped is appropriately squared and smoothed ahead of slicing. The final product, consisting of wood leaves from 0.3 to 3 millimetres thick, undergoes painstaking quality checks before being marketed. Industrial production has promoted
the use of this type of veneer because it can be obtained from controlled plantations. This reduces the environmental impact and maximises efficiency and reliability of the veneer. Reconstituted veneer mimics the particular features of fine wood eliminating its faults. The uniform and reproducible colours of this product, in addition to its size and remarkable resistance to fading, make it the perfect product for making hand-crafted or mass produced furniture.