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Onske Blog
Buying Reproduction Furniture Online

 

Loved by architects and designers for their sculptural looks and aesthetics, mid-century and early 20th century styles remain an ever-popular choice as they fit equally well in period properties as in modern and open-plan spaces.

Some cheap imports over the past decade gave reproduction furniture a bad name, however, like any marketplace there are “the good, the bad and the ugly” so selecting a good quality reproduction online is often a tricky process. Our buying guide below gives a brief outline of what to ask and look for when choosing your favourite piece:

Frames and Construction
Good quality pieces will be made with solid wood frames or high quality stainless steel. They will adhere to the original design style in terms of  construction, ensuring that details such as joints, screws, and frames match up correctly.

Cheaper options often cut corners, for example, by bolting steel pieces together rather than paying the cost of tooling to manufacture a seamless piece, or using cheaper wood in sections, such as arms, of a sofa frame.

Tip: Check the finer details and ask questions on frames and how they are constructed.


Upholstery
When choosing leather, check that the upholstery is full leather throughout. Some cheaper copies will use PU on panels or trim parts like piping.

Type of leather: Semi-aniline leather is fine to go with as a general rule, Italian method is better than Asian leathers and semi-aniline will have a top protective coating to protect from stains and spills so a good all-rounder for family life.

Full aniline is more expensive but it will age more gracefully with the patina and creasing and wear of a premium hide, so check what type of leather it is.

Internal cushioning and filling should adhere to fire standards and regulations and reputable manufacturers and retailers will ensure that this is adhered to.

Tip: Request samples and swatches from the retailer to see the actual colour and feel and ask them what type of leather it is.

Overall Aesthetic
Like any furniture, there is a market for cheap and cheerful at one end and high quality at the other end.

Cheaper pieces tend not to care as much about dimensions, sizing and adhering to the original design style. They need to create a piece as cheaply per unit as possible for mass market selling, so hence why you sometimes see lounge chairs that look taller or out of proportion, or chairs that sit at a slightly off angle and so forth.



Tip: Check dimensions and sizing, (allowing a 3cm tolerance which is normal)

You are paying for the labour costs in the build quality and finishing processes along with material costs and the retailers import and storage costs are then added to these with a margin for sale. At the high end, you should receive a piece of furniture that is  as close to the original remit as it possibly can be and for such, be prepared to pay a fair market price for that quality, taking into account the production, import, storage/handling and delivery costs.

Delivery Time
Some online sellers, may be located on a different continent and may put delivery and lead times in very small print, so if you want something by a certain date, it is worth speaking with the retailer and checking if they have the physical stock in-house or if there is a reasonable lead time. Remember, large items do not go via air-freight and so you need to allow for manufacture time plus sailing schedules and sea-freight times. 

It is normal for bespoke items, certain finishes and colours to be manufactured to order, and generally lead times for delivery on such items should be 2 to 3 months (8-12 weeks) as this allows approximately one month for manufacture and a further four weeks for shipping from the factory and allow an extra week for delays in this process.

Container shipping and transport

Tip: Check delivery and lead times directly with the retailer

Some unscrupulous sellers in the past, have extended lead times to months and months providing little communication. It is always preferable to be able to speak with a retailer directly and get answers from them over the phone or via personal contact email, rather than a generic or automated response.

Overall, like any purchase, a combination of good retailing practices, good communication and trust between buyer and seller will often give a less stressful experience than getting a cheap price, no contact and no customer service should an issue arise.

If you need any further advice, feel free to contact us at sales@onske.co.uk

Copyright: Onske Interiors Ltd. 2017
Buying tips for a Herman Miller style lounge chair
Over the past few years we have tried to provide as much information as possible to potential customers who call us enquiring about Eames style lounge chairs. We have summarised below some of the questions we are most frequently asked, which may be of some help if you are currently researching before purchase.

What type of leather are the chairs upholstered in and what is the difference between aniline and semi aniline leather?
Ignoring cheap copies (which tend to be made in faux leather or PU or have PU trim), for good quality chairs, the upholstery and cushions should come in a choice of leather finishes from semi-aniline to corrected and full aniline. The type of leather used generally determines the price point more than any other component part.

Semi-aniline leather is the standard for many furniture items, as the leather hide has been treated with a protective coating thus making it a popular choice for households where there are children or pets. The plus side is that it does not stain so easily and is robust. The downside is that it tends to have a slightly harder feel and less of a sheen and it will not age with a patina or worn in character look. Italian leathers tend to be thicker and of higher quality than Asian leathers.

Corrected (Aniline) - this is again popular with most furniture retailers. The hide is very lightly sanded to remove any natural marks or scratches and an imprinted 'corrected' fine grain is applied to give the upholstery an even look throughout.  A light protective top layer is also applied, so again for households where leather needs protection, this is a popular choice. Softer than semi-aniline but not as silky or with the sheen of aniline.

Aniline - this leather sits at the expensive top end in price for manufacturers and thus for purchasers. The leather hide is left untreated and not given a protective topcoat. It tends to be very supple, soft to touch with a luxurious sheen. Due to no protective coating, it will quickly absorb natural oils to develop a rich patina and thus will age over time with a worn-in creased appearance giving that vintage leather look so often sought after. (think old Chesterfield sofas). The down-side is that it requires more maintenance to protect it and stains can soak into the hide.

Waxed Aniline - usually available as a bespoke order only due to the high price. Pure aniline is given a further process with a blend of wax and oils, giving it a vintage soft waxy finish. (Dark tans and caramel colours look great in this super-premium upholstery).
 
Where are these chairs made?
Much of the general high street ranges you see online and in stores, as well as commercial and reproduction furniture is manufactured in Asia. The main reason is labour cost. It is simply cheaper to have goods manufactured there than it is in Europe/UK.  This stands true for most consumer goods, from electronics to household appliances and furniture is no different.
Like businesses in Europe, in Asia there are different levels of expertise, quality control and international manufacturing experience. A number of companies there have earned a reputation for consistency in their quality and have been supplying retailers worldwide for over the past fifteen years. They are fully aware of what is expected in terms of finish, workmanship and also in terms of good quality materials that adhere to fire and safety standards required in UK/Europe/North America and Australia.
Retailers can specify to these manufacturers the level of finish they wish to have and the manufacturing cost per unit is determined by what selection is made by the retailer in terms of upholstery, veneering, assembly and components used.
Obviously, if the retailer is at the cheap and cheerful end with their pricing, they will most likely specify the cheapest options. Conversely, if retailing at the mid to higher end, they will request more expensive components and more finishing with the added labour costs of these involved.

Is it a comfortable chair?
We are asked this question regularly and our answer is 'this is very subjective'. If you are 6 ft 4” you may find that as it is a low profile chair, designed to be used in tandem with the ottoman and a chair to sink into and stretch out on, it may not give you neck support if you always want to sit upright in it. Generally, yes, they are very comfortable. They also have quite a wide and deep footprint, so measure up the area you intend to use it in and allow space in the area for the ottoman also.

What options are there on veneers/wood/legs?
The original chair in the 1950's was manufactured using Brazilian rosewood. This is now an endangered species. Most furniture manufacture requiring rosewood veneering today uses Santos Palisander (from the rosewood family), a richly grained and sustainable wood.


We find that the most popular choice by a long shot is the traditional combination of black leather with a rosewood (palisander) veneer and a black shadow base as per original design. (The latter means the base is black powder coated die-cast aluminium with a chromed silver finish on the top flat part of the legs).

Walnut veneer is often chosen with an ivory white leather upholstery and  silver base for minimalist or predominantly white settings whilst brown leather and walnut veneer may suit certain décor schemes as the walnut veneer is a slightly flatter brown hue than the deeper hues of the palisander.

I've read that shock mounts should be rubber. What does this mean?
To avoid the use of bolts and screws showing through on the exterior veneer shell in the original design, the chair back ply was attached to the seat/base ply with rubber shock mounts behind the steel arm plates which allow flex and strength.

 


In the original Herman Miller Eames lounge chairs this component was seen as the Achilles heel of the design as, over years, the worn rubber perished and shock mounts needed replacement. Today these tend to be made from neoprene (a synthetic rubber that maintains stability and flexibility over a wide temperature range).  Due to the ingenious design of the chair, which can be broken down into individual sections, (it can even be disassembled to fit in a suitcase), replacing a part is not a difficult job if required in the future.

Does the Chair recline?
No, they were never designed to recline, however, they should swivel 360 degrees and be permanently set at a 15 degree tilt back. The ottoman remains stationary without swivel action.

Are they correct in proportions and detail?
Dimensions should remain within the remit of the original design at 82cm high x 83cm wide x 83cm deep and seat height of 38.2cm (A tolerance of 2 to 3cm is allowed for most furniture).

The European silver base versions tend to be smaller in size and there are also larger and wider options that are popular in some European countries.


The bases should be a '5 star' for the chair and a '4 star' leg/base on the ottoman. The end of each leg should be rounded and there should be an adjustable round glide pad on the end of each leg. This allows for individual adjusting of each leg for uneven floors etc.

There should be no visible screws anywhere except on the underneath the armrests and these should be black screws. The armrests should curve inwards and are not squared all round. They should have a tubed piping around the edges.
On the back of the chair there should be two aluminium arms that connect the middle and top veneer shells together.  These arms should have thick round rubber cushions between them and the ply which allows a little flex motion. The seat and middle ply shells are held together by the armrests which have  shock mounts inside.
Vintage original chairs were made with five layers of ply. Today they are made with seven layers of ply. Finally, the edges of the ply all around should be rounded and smooth with no sharp corners.


We hope you have found this guide helpful and if there is any other question you would like to ask, feel free to email us at sales@onskei.co.uk or view our range of loungers at www.onske.co.uk

Copyright: Onske Interiors Ltd. 2017
Buyers Guide to Eames Style Lounge Chairs

One could argue that Eames was to furniture design what VW was to car design - functional, durable, aesthetically pleasing and to be affordable to the masses, with the exception of their lounge chair and ottoman which has always commanded a premium price.

For most of us, purchasing a licensed reproduction Eames chair, from Herman Miller in the USA or Vitra in Europe carries a hefty price tag (over 5k on average) and yes, I say 'licensed reproduction', as unless you are lucky enough to find an authentic vintage chair in a garage sale or via Ebay then it is, technically, a reproduction, under license, of the original design.

Fuelled by demand and by the hefty price tag of licensed versions, the replica Eames lounge chair market has grown in recent years. Design purists have (begrudgingly) accepted that some of the reproductions available are pretty exact to the specification and quality of the original design, but how does one choose a good reproduction from the minefield of poorer copies and cheaply made imitations?

First and foremost, it would be wise to dismiss anything under circa five hundred. Just ask yourself, would you really get a good quality leather lounge chair and matching ottoman, properly engineered and finished in high quality upholstery and real wood veneers, at that price level? The old adage of "if it's too good to be true, then it probably isn't" remains.

There are mid-priced ranges, which all vary in finish and detail. Some of these will have veneering only on the outside to save on material costs, or may use PVC for the piping trim to save on leather costs.Some are better than others in overall aesthetics.

You then move up to the high-end reproductions which aim to be as close as possible in terms of quality of materials, attention to detail and the overall finish and build.

Here is our buyers guide for choosing a replica Eames lounge chair:

    • Read descriptions VERY carefully when shopping online.
    • Does it say leather? Not 'leatherette', 'faux leather', 'leather seat' or 'leather pad'. Be wary also if it says Piping in PVC as therefore the piping trim on seat edge may not be full leather. If it says 100% leather upholstery throughout, tick OK
    • What type of leather is it? Like any material there are variations in quality. For example, Chinese leathers are often thinner and not as supple as Italian. Aniline leathers tend to be at the premium end on price and will age with the worn in look and patina acquired over use, associated with a quality leather.  Again, take note that it does not say 'Italian Style' Leather. Wording is paramount and unscrupulous sellers will try and pass off cheaper chairs by masking the description with carefully chosen words. If it specifies the leather, tick OK.
    • Does it have a die-cast aluminium base?  Cheap copies often have alloy metal bases with plastic connections. These are not strong enough to last the everyday actions and movement of such a chair, therefore making them very much NOT fit for purpose. If it says die-cast base tick OK.
    • Real wood grain veneer? The Eames lounger was originally created with between five to seven layers of ply. The Rosewood external veneering used in the originals is no longer a sustainable wood and since the early 1990's the furniture industry now uses Palisander (from the rosewood family) for any rosewood veneering.
    • Cheap copies often use laminate. Quality reproductions will use real quality woods for veneers and therefore each varies and is a unique item in its own particular grain and piece of wood used. Again carefully check the wording. If it says real wood veneer tick OK.
    • Visible screws. None should be visible, especially on rear shell braces. This is a real giveaway of poorly made copies.
    • The shock mount Check that this is rubber. Not plastic or metal.
    • Does it require assembly?  If you want to be driven completely mad, then order a flat-packed imitation. Any Eames lounger replica worth its salt should arrive to you assembled.
    NB: sometimes very minor assembly of attaching  a base upon delivery may be required and this is usually for packing and shipping purposes to protect legs in transit or for more efficient box sizes during production.
      • Does it include the Ottoman. Take note on this point, some sellers advertise the chair and ottoman separately thus making the initial price look attractive. It is possible to buy them separately but generally they should retail as a matching unit.
      • Look at the overall aesthetic. Good reproductions will stay true to the original in terms of the angle of the chair and base, (it was designed to sit at a slight tilt backwards of approx 15deg), the shape and size of the armrests, the bolt arms on the reverse of the chair back, the thickness of the cushions, the piping and trim.
      • Last, but not least, purchase from a company that you can call up and speak with someone and discuss any aspect in greater detail as required.

      There were manufacturing variations to the chairs over the years and different bases were designed for the US and European markets and slight differences were designed on US and European models so dimensions of models varied and some were produced slightly wider and larger.

      There is a wealth of information available online about the history of these chairs so it is also worth doing some research on the different styles and the design history  to help with the decision on choice of base, leather and veneer you would like.

      You can also view further details and specification here on our standard model Eames style lounge chairs or the full aniline Ultra Luxe version

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        Caring For Your Marble Table
        A natural material that has created some of our worlds most beautiful sculptures and architecture, marble remains timelessly desirable and durable, blending equally as well into modern contemporary homes as it does within formal surroundings. The word, 'marble' is derived from the Greek meaning 'shining stone
        It is flawed in its natural beauty. Inconsistencies in the veining and colour are normal and part of the charm. Older tables have chips and dents that often tell the story of a good dinner party.
        Marble is a porous rock from the limestone family and it will quickly absorb water and liquids. It will also fracture from heavy blows, crack with extreme changes in temperature, and stain from acids in natural dyes and food colourings, therefore, it needs to be cared for and maintained adequately, so that it can age gracefully.
        Prevention is better than cure, so most importantly ensure that the table top is sealed. A sealant fills in the pores in the stone and repels liquids. Your local hardware shop or local stonemason should be able to advise on the different sealant options available with the different finishes, from polished to matt. (See links at end of this article for details of some sealant options).
        A marble sealant should create a waterproof barrier and prevent stains from setting in and allowing you time to mop up any spills. Sealants normally will last up to three years, however, it is prudent to re-seal once a year, if the table top is in regular use. You can check how well the sealant is holding up by splashing a little water onto the marble top. If it stops forming beads of water, then it is time to apply a fresh coat.
        Avoid using wax polishes on marble tops as over time it may yellow the stone. There are a number of specific marble polish products available at most large supermarkets or hardware shops, that will maintain the stone's lustre and shine better.
        Marble has more pores and dents more easily than granite, so scratches and pitting can show up. Inspect the table top regularly as any dent or pitting can allow water or acids to get into the stone. Dents and scratches can be touched up using Cif, Ajax, or other very mild abrasive. For deeper scratches, use an acrylic-laquer touch-up product similar to one you would use for car scratches.
        For daily cleaning, don't use an abrasive or ammonia based cleaner . Warm water and a little washing up liquid is the best option and dry off the table top with a kitchen towel or microfibre cloth immediately after.
        Everyday use – the do's and don'ts
        Water, wine, coffee, juices, dressings and condiments can contain acid, which, if splashed, can leave a flat or cloudy patch etched out, so use placemats and coasters always so get into the habit of using these from the moment your table arrives.
        Don't leave a potted plant on the table for long periods of time, as it is potentially corrosive. Similarly, flower arrangements in vases, should have a mat beneath. The calcium and minerals in the water will etch into the surface and can leave permanent stain rings which are very difficult to remove without sanding off a top layer of the marble.
        Never put a hot saucepan, bowl or pan directly onto the marble. Use suitable mats that can conduct extremes of heat or cold away, plus stainless steel pans could scratch the surface.
        Mop up any spills straight away – this is probably the golden rule for marble tables. Mop up, wash off and dry off.

        Stubborn Stain – First Aid for your table using a home-made poultice

        A poultice is a cleaning paste that is applied to a stain for a period of time to draw it out of the material it has stained. A similar process as putting salt on to soak up wine stains. The type of cleaning agent depends on the composition of the stain.

        Making a poultice

        Use flour for the poultice base, and then add:-
        hydrogen peroxide for food stains
        dishwashing liquid with oil-based stains,
        household bleach for mold or mildew
        sodium hydrosulfate for rust stains.
        Mix the flour with the appropriate additive above until it forms a smooth paste.

        To apply ; Spread a 1/4-inch thick layer of the poultice over the stain using a plastic knife. Extend the coverage a 1/2-inch around the outside edges of the stain.
        Cover the area with a sheet of clingfilm attached to the surface of the table with masking tape. Put several small holes in the clingfilm to allow air to flow. (The clingfilm prevents the the poultice from drying out before acting on the stain, while the air holes allow it to draw out the stain slowly as it dries).

        Allow 24 hours for the poultice to be absorbed fully into the stone.

        Remove the clingfilm, and then scrape away the poultice with the plastic knife. Wipe the surface clean with a dry towel. Once dry, examine the marble for any further signs of the stain. If staining remains, repeat the process as needed until it disappears.

        Seal the marble area where the poultice was applied.

        Marble sealant products in the UK:

        Here are just a few suggestions on where to gain further information on the types of marble sealant products on the market;-

        http://www.stoneandtilesealershop.co.uk/info2.cfm?info_id=202486

        http://www.sealer-seal-sealant.co.uk/info2.cfm?info_id=222148

        http://www.homecareessentials.co.uk/acatalog/Rustins_Stone_Seal_Impregnating_Sealer_250ml.html?gclid=CNjbwufZ3ccCFcUcGwodKfYPFQ

        http://www.pureadhesion.co.uk/lithofin-mn-stain-stop-natural-stone-impregnator-sealer-250ml.html?gclid=CKvon4_Z3ccCFSQFwwod1igFVw

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