Pelican Sofas : How use of precise engineered frames affects longevity and comfort?
Sofas come in a variety of styles, colors, textures, and sizes, but have you ever considered what lies beneath the surface?
The internal frame and materials used in construction determine a sofa's longevity and comfort. Typically, sofa frames are constructed from either wood or metal, both of which are durable and offer comfortable seating.
Pelican's precision-engineered sofa frames are made from high-grade galvanized steel, but many other reputable furniture brands and designers use wooden frames.
At Pelican, we believe in providing an honest comparison of metal and wood sofa frames to help you make an informed decision. In this article, we will evaluate the sustainability, affordability, and durability of both materials.
How do metal and wood sofa frames compare on sustainability?
Like all Pelican Sofas, our Palo sofa range is made with Pelican steel to provide flexibility and lasting support.
Metal is a widely used material that is primarily mined from the Earth's crust, making it a non-renewable resource with high emissions. However, metal can still be considered sustainable due to its high recyclability and ability to be repurposed for various uses. Steel, for example, is made from iron ore and is entirely recyclable, allowing for infinite reuse.
Recycling steel has a significant positive impact on the environment, as it saves around 950 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, according to research by the Bureau of International Recycling.
While the mining of raw materials for metal production is energy-intensive and releases greenhouse gases, scrap metal and advanced land rehabilitation techniques can make metal mining more sustainable.
Compared to wood, metal is more durable, fire-resistant, and not susceptible to rot, termites, or mould. The metal industry is one of the largest producers of CO2 emissions, as two billion tonnes of virgin steel are produced annually, accounting for around 8% of global CO2 emissions.
However, for every tonne of scrap used in steel production, 1.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions are avoided, indicating the crucial role of scrap steel and metal recycling in reducing emissions and natural resource consumption.
Wood is a popular and versatile natural resource that can be both renewable and recyclable. However, it's important to note that not all wood is created equal in terms of ethical and sustainable sourcing.
Sustainably sourced wood comes from responsibly managed forests that prioritize the regeneration of ecosystems, wildlife habitats, and wetlands. Sustainable harvesting practices often involve replanting ten trees for every one that is cut down, ensuring that the forest remains healthy and intact.
On the other hand, wood from unsustainable sources is often obtained through illegal logging, which can have devastating consequences for both the environment and local communities. Illegal logging practices can lead to deforestation, conflicts with indigenous populations, human rights abuses, loss of biodiversity, and the emission of greenhouse gases. Unfortunately, only a small portion of the world's forest area is legally protected from destruction.
If you're interested in buying wood products and want to ensure that they come from sustainable and ethical sources, look for the logos of leading certification bodies like Responsible Wood or the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). These organizations are recognized under the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), which also regulates the use of illegal chemicals and encourages conservation efforts.
How do metal and wood sofa frames compare on durability?
All Pelican sofas are engineered from a high-grade galvanised steel frame and backed by a 10-year steel frame warranty.
Metals offer several advantages over other materials in furniture design, including superior strength and lifespan. Common metals used in furniture design include iron, aluminium, and stainless steel. However, the quality and durability of metals can vary based on factors such as chemical compounds and heat treatment. For example, iron furniture may be more susceptible to corrosion from moisture and air compared to galvanised steel furniture, which is often treated and sealed to resist humidity and erosion.
At Pelican, we use high-grade galvanised steel to create our precision-engineered sofa frame, which comes with a 10-year warranty. Additionally, we spot weld the frame at key stress and weight-bearing areas to enhance its strength.
Although wood is known for its natural durability, not all wooden sofa frames are created equal. Cheaper and softer woods tend to be less durable, more prone to warping and splintering, and more likely to break compared to a metal sofa frame.
However, wooden frames constructed with traditional carpentry techniques such as mortise-and-tenon joinery are typically stronger and more long-lasting than those held together with nails and glue. The durability of a wooden sofa frame largely depends on the type of wood used and the construction methods employed. Unstable joints can lead to a wobbly and unstable sofa that can break.
While composite woods like MDF, particleboard, and plywood are not as strong and robust as hardwoods, hardwoods such as walnut, maple, birch, oak, and bamboo are commonly used in furniture construction.
Kiln-dried hardwood, in particular, is typically the most durable and suitable for furniture. Kiln-drying removes 70-80% of the wood's moisture, which helps prevent warping and bowing, making it more long-lasting.
How do metal and wood sofa frames compare on affordability
Palo is designed to suit your lifestyle. True to the Pelican vision of flexible living, modular components allow us to offer this sofa in numerous configurations.
The price of a wood frame sofa or a metal frame sofa will depend on the quality of the materials, as well as the methods used in construction.
Typically the price should reflect the quality of the sofa, the materials used and its expected longevity.
Yes, sofas engineered with a metal frame are typically more expensive.
While you might pay more for a metal frame sofa up-front, you will make up for the cost in its long lifespan. Metal frame sofas are built to last a lifetime, Pelican sofas come with a 10 year frame warranty.
Factors that influence the price of a metal frame sofa include the quality of the metal, the percentage of scrap metal used, the origin of the raw materials, the powder coating and construction methods. Pelican uses industrial grade powder coating and highest quality cold rolled steel for construction.
You can expect to pay more for a quality metal frame sofa, but at Pelican our efficiency in manufacturing allows us to deliver our sofas at price on par with MDF and wooden frame sofas because of the prevailing inefficiencies in the industry.
When it comes to a wooden sofa frame there are several factors that influence the price including the raw materials and whether traditional joinery methods were used.
Low-to-mid priced sofas often use glue, staples, and nails more than traditional labour-intensive techniques. While this can help reduce costs, it can also impact the quality and durability of the sofa. A sofa made with less durable and low-quality wood or MDF can cost as low as INR 12,000.
A more expensive and higher-quality sofa will typically rely less on the nails and staples and more on traditional carpentry such as mortise-and-tenon joinery which is not available in India.
Mortise-and-tenon joinery connects two pieces of wood at a 90-degree angle. One piece of wood has routed tabs (tenons) that fit perfectly into the carved holes (mortises) on the other piece of wood.
Certain types of wood are also more expensive, such as mahogany, teak, or oak. Sofas engineered with high quality and durable wood can also set consumers back lakhs of rupees.
Metal vs wood sofa frame: which is right for you?
Pelican Sofas are widely considered most sturdy and our frames allows them to assembled and disassembled in 10 mins. Now lifts/stairs are not a problem for our customers.
While exterior aesthetics visually separate one sofa from another, the craftsmanship and engineering will lead to the most significant divide in quality, longevity, and comfort.
When looking at the internal structure of a sofa, consider:
- The origins of the materials
- Harvesting or mining practices
- If the materials are recyclable or sustainable
- The expected longevity of the sofa
- Construction methods and finishes
Another thing to consider is your lifestyle and what you require from your sofa. If you have kids or host guests regularly, a modular sofa that can easily convert into a bed would be more suitable.
If this is the case, you will need a metal frame sofa. High grade cold rolled steel gives Pelican Sofas the strength required for modularity.
If you are concerned about the wood harvesting methods, you should research sustainable wood furniture or choose a sofa with a metal frame.
But, what makes a piece of furniture sustainable, and how can you ensure the furniture you are buying isn't destined for the curbs or landfills?