Behind the scenes: Ercol factory tour

In an age of mass consumerism, it’s easy to forget how much skill and thought can go into a piece of furniture.

I recently had a reminder of this when Ercol invited me to look around their Buckinghamshire-based factory.

While the timber comes from outside the UK, all the hard work transforming it from planks to beautiful chairs, tables and more, is all done there by a mixture of machine and long-serving craftsmen.

But first I had to don some sexy specs…

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We started by watching pieces of timber being cut:

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Then some seriously expert sanding…
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Next came my favourite bit: bending wood. Beech is best for this as it doesn’t crack like oak. It’s steamed before the bending begins…
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Then put in a metal contraption, with ‘end pressure’ at either end to stop splintering.
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Finally, we saw some staining, which can be pretty tricky as the company only uses water-based paints, and then a chair being constructed.

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So perhaps, as you’re sitting here reading this, especially if you’re on a wooden chair, you’ll have a better idea of how much work went into it.

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