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“What is my Desk Made from?”

General Comments August 25th 2011

Office desks and workstations, are used in almost every commercial area and are now are creeping into our homes with most people having one. The question is do you really know what they are made from? Manufacturers use words such as MFC/melamine or ABS protective edging, but do you know what this means? I am guessing that the answer is no.

Most office desks are constructed from a man-made product called melamine or MFC. Melamine is actually a resin that we use to cover chipboard or sometimes medium density fibreboard to prevent the chipboard from warping, breaking or absorbing water. As well as this it is also heat and scratch resistant so is perfect for general use around the office. The process of applying the resin to the chipboard has to be carried out under high temperatures and is a process called polymerisation. Before this however, in order to get the finish of the desk to look like wood grain, paper is placed on the chipboard, it is then cut to the required shape before the polymerisation process.

Sadly, even more expensive desks that do use veneer in the construction of a desk also use chipboard as well to “bulk up” the wood. It is very rare these days that you will see a desk made entirely of wood, however if you do, be sure to notice its huge price!

When it comes to the framework of the desk, there are usually two materials used. The first will be the same MFC as the top, used to create panel sides. The other is a metal framework that provides strength and also in most cases a cable management system. Metal to metal fixings offer a lot more strength that metal to chipboard, making them more resilient to being moved around the office when creating new configurations.

Finally it is important to note that a lot of desks are now being manufactured from recyclable materials, so if you are environmentally friendly, this is something to look out for.

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