Wooden products are one of the hardest materials to work with as you need to have the best of vendors who know about wood.
Working with wood materials can be very hard for factories in China. This is because when wood is wet it will not allow any glue to stick well and when it is too dry it will start cracking all over. So in order to control the humidity of wood or the dryness of wood the Chinese factory has to have a lot of experience in working with it.
Even though China has wood to use for manufacturing wooden products many Chinese vendors bring in wood from Malaysia or Vietnam. These sources are not necessarily better wood but offer much desired variety and cost savings.
What to Ask A Chinese Vendor About Wood
There are several things you will want to check into or ask a potential vendor:
- Do they have at least 10 - 15 years' experience working in the wood making industry?
- How do they treat the wood? Many vendors will rely on the primary manufacturer who supplies the wood to treat the wood. This is not good enough.
- How do they store their wood? Ask for pictures.
- How much water is retained in their wood upon delivery? Wood has to have some moisture and cannot be totally dry upon manufacturing of the product because it will crack.
When a factory delivers a wooden product, it must have varnish. If there is no varnish the moisture retained in the wood will start evaporating when the product is exposed to high temperature, say for example when shipping overseas in a container. The varnish does not have to be glossy but it must have at least 2-3 coats of varnish to give it that protection.
Health/Legal Issues Related to Wooden Products
Most countries (due to health issues) expect wooden products to be treated and fumigated such as Australia’s Department of Agriculture.
To ensure that you adhere to your local laws and to protect yourself from future lawsuits, Arcadia Sourcing suggests that you have all your wooden products fumigated 4 days prior to shipment. You should also request a certificate of this issued by the Chinese Government.
Real Wood vs MDF
Finally, please note that a lot of companies purchasing products in China now opt out of wooden products due to the quality and are now using MDF (medium density fibreboard).
MDF is an engineered wood product made by breaking down hardwood or softwood residuals into wood fibres, often in a defibrator, combining it with wax and a resin binder, and forming panels by applying high temperature and pressure. This has properties that will not crack or warp like wood can and will form to shape.
Wooden products manufactured in China are great as long as you are vigilant with whom or with which factory you are dealing with. It is critical to perform an audit of the factory with pictures and have someone visit the factory to check out their capabilities as well as equipment.
Need someone to take care of this for you? Contact Arcadia Sourcing at 1-888-659-1018 to learn about our factoring auditing process and the rest of our all-in-solution for sourcing wooden products from China.