Thonet - Commercial Furniture
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Introduction

Thonet takes great care to deliver high performance products that will provide many years of beneficial use. All furniture is subject to normal wear and tear and may even be subject to intentional or unintentional abuse, all of which could cause a product to fail and result in property damage or personal injury. Therefore, it is very important to conduct regular care and maintenance checks at the point of use to minimize risk and ensure a safe operating environment for the general public.

Our products are intended for use in commercial applications where it is good business practice, and usually a legal obligation, for an owner, a manager, or members of staff to maintain a safe and clean public space. This obligation includes the care and maintenance of the building, equipment, and furniture, which may be used by employees, and members of the public. Failure to perform regular care and maintenance will void the Company’s warranty.

If you notice anything wrong with the furniture you are using, or furniture available for use by the public or employees, you should immediately bring this to the attention of appropriate management, preferably in writing. The failure of any wear and tear item could result in product failure and damage to property, or injury to an employee or member of the public.

This guide is not intended to be a comprehensive maintenance or repair manual, nor is it intended to replace any organization’s specific checklist, code of practice, or any building code or legal obligation. This guide has been developed to provide some basic principles and advice that will be useful for anyone who is responsible in any way for the care, maintenance, and use of furniture in a public place.

This guide is not intended to replace professional care and maintenance procedures, or regular after sales maintenance and cleaning services provided by experienced professionals, which are all considered to be essential in maintaining high performance furniture in a public place.

Products which use an electrical power source should be installed and regularly checked for safe use by a qualified electrician. Most jurisdictions have codes for the specification, installation, and use of these products in a public space and the reader should seek professional advice in these matters.

Who needs to read this guide?

Facilities management personnel, anyone who specifies furniture (such as an interior designer or architect), anyone who buys or sells furniture (such as an independent sales representative or professional furniture buyer or dealer), anyone who provides furniture for use by members of the public or employees, and anyone responsible for the care, cleaning and maintenance of furniture in a public place should read this guide.

Why should I read this guide?

This guide will help you prolong the useful life of furniture, prevent damage to the product during normal use, identify damage caused by wear and tear or abuse, and significantly reduce the risk of product failure, and possible injury, to yourself and others.

How do I ensure good furniture care & maintenance?

There are a few basic principles, which will help ensure excellent service from furniture designed for use in a commercial application:

  • Check the furniture upon delivery at the point of use. Make sure that all of the parts have arrived in good condition and the product is assembled correctly. It is wise to obtain the assistance of a professional installation crew to help with this task and to conduct a post delivery check shortly after the furniture has been installed and placed in use. Immediately report any issues that are observed from these checks and remove from use any product that does not seem to work properly or meet the specification for that product.

  • Establish a care and maintenance procedure, which has daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual check steps clearly documented for all members of staff who are responsible for regular cleaning and maintenance. The daily steps can be as simple as a visual check during daily cleaning. A small maintenance item that is attended to in a timely manner will prevent more significant damage or personal injury, which may result if the issue is ignored.

  • Establish clear accountability and a sign off process, which documents the successful completion of the tasks assigned to management and staff, and records the activity, the date, and location where these tasks were completed.

  • Maintain good quality, date stamped records, and checklists of all care, cleaning, and maintenance activity, as this helps to avoid missing an important step and may be vital in the event of a warranty claim or a product liability claim.

  • Immediately remove from service any item which appears unserviceable or which may result in further damage to the item itself or other property

  • Use only the manufacturer’s recommended parts and equipment for repairs or maintenance, use only the manufacturer’s recommended equipment to move furniture.

  • Ensure that the product is only used for the purpose intended and is not subject to abuse.

  • Check that the furniture has been placed on a level, stable, and smooth floor surface. On many occasions, what appears to be a defect with the furniture is actually the result of good quality furniture being placed on a poor quality, uneven, or unstable floor surface. Adjustable glides may help level the furniture in certain situations but can never compensate for a floor, which is in bad condition.

  • Many furniture surface materials such as wood and metal finishes, veneers, laminates, wood edges, plastics, etc will be subject to color fading and physical deterioration when exposed to sunlight or artificial UV sources. You should not use or store furniture in these conditions unless it has been specified for such use.

General cleaning tips.

There are many excellent cleaning products, including some very effective natural and environmentally friendly products, available today, but due to the multiplicity of materials used in furniture manufacturing it is wise to seek the manufacturer’s advice for the specific products and materials used on your products. If you are unsure, seek the advice of an experienced and recommended commercial cleaning professional. You should never allow anyone to use harsh detergents or abrasive cleaners, or soak materials in water, this will almost always result in product damage and may even void your warranty. Here are some tips for specific materials commonly used in furniture manufacturing, but you should always seek professional advice from qualified professionals;

  • Wood: use a liquid cleaner such as a wax polish combination to clean wood finishes. Use a wax repair stick to remove minor scratches. Wipe off any water spills immediately. Never expose to extreme temperatures or moisture, avoid exposing wood surfaces to bright sunlight. Coat wood with a hard wax paste every three to four months during the first year of use and apply less frequently after that.

  • Metal: remove dirt and fingerprints from plated finishes with a non-abrasive glass cleaner or damp cloth. Apply furniture polish once every six months to maintain the surface. Wipe down powder coat finishes with a damp cloth and use a light soap and water mixture for stubborn stains and grease marks. If the finish is chipped, a touch up paint should be used to prevent further chipping and corrosion. Remove dirt from textured powder coat or hammer tone finishes by brushing with a soft bristle dry brush.

  • Fabrics: a professional service is highly recommended for all fabrics since cleaning methods vary greatly depending on the type of fabric and the surface treatment which may have been applied to deliver performance features. Protective coatings such as Scotchgard, Zepel, etc must be reapplied every year to maintain protection. It is important to note that most flame retardant treatments are salt solutions and cleaning these treated fabrics with water or water based foams will result in salt ringing. You should test any proposed cleaning method on a small portion of the fabric before proceeding with the entire installation. Dirt and crumbs can be gently brushed or vacuumed off the surface of the fabric. Spills should be soaked up with an absorbent paper towel and wiped off immediately with a cloth before the spill dries in.

  • Vinyl and fused edges: wipe off all spills to prevent stains. Use a light liquid detergent, suitable for cleaning vinyl, and wipe the surface with a damp cloth after cleaning.

  • Laminates: apply self-cleaning wax every three months. Remove stains by wiping the surface with a damp cloth and soap, or liquid detergent. Remove stubborn stains with a damp paste of baking soda, which you should leave on the stain for a few minutes and then blot away. Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning their products.

  • Plastic shells: clean with warm water and a light household detergent, use a soft brush for stubborn stains.

What types of maintenance issues should I look for?

All products in a commercial application should be visually inspected daily and examined more closely every 30 days. Remember, the longer the product has been in service, the more likely it is to have some maintenance issue and there will be a need for more frequent checks. Here are some typical wear and tear items, although this is not meant to be an exhaustive list:

  • Loose screws and component parts

  • Missing hardware

  • Damaged, missing, or worn glides or casters

  • Torn, frayed, or excessively worn fabric

  • Splintered wood

  • Cracked / fatigued welds or joints

  • Loose or wobbly joints, legs, or columns

  • Cracked or chipped laminate and edges

  • Instability or structural failure of parts or the whole product

  • Unable to use for normal purposes

  • Failure of mechanisms and build up of waste around

the mechanism structural failure or abuse should be taken out of service immediately to prevent complete failure or personal injury. Most early stage deterioration of parts or products is apparent to users and staff, who should be encouraged to report any item which they feel is unserviceable or which shows signs of wear and tear or abuse, as this can be a precursor to failure.

What are the issues which require immediate repair?

We highly recommend professional service for all structural repairs or repairs which may require specialized tools, materials, and equipment. If you have any concerns about a product, please immediately remove it from service. Some facilities have maintenance crews who can tackle tasks of varying degrees of difficulty and here are some examples;

  • Protruding nails, screws, and fasteners should be removed or replaced and wood splinters should be cut off, sanded smooth, and refinished to avoid tears and lacerations

  • Locking pins, screws, bolts, and fasteners should be periodically tightened, taking care not to over tighten or strip out the threads.

  • Lubricate all swivels and mechanisms; avoid putting grease or oil on materials other than the relevant parts. Take special care to prevent oil or grease spreading onto plastic components, fabric, laminates, and wood materials.

  • Replace missing screws, bolts, fasteners, nails, glides, and casters to prevent instability or damage to floors.

  • Repair cracked or broken welds, loose rails, stretchers, joints, seat pads, cracked or chipped laminates, edges, feet, etc.

  • Columns must be seated properly on the hub of the base.

Storage & moving tips

Most furniture is designed to be static and should not be moved without proper handling equipment and adequate numbers of experienced movers. Even furniture which is designed to be regularly moved requires careful handling to avoid damage. All furniture must be stored in temperature and humidity controlled environment or there is a serious risk of damage, which might range from wood products splintering in very dry, low humidity climates, fabric becoming moldy, and metal oxidizing in salty or high humidity climates. Some other important points worth noting are;

  • Never slam the top and base together on flip top tables and do not drop, rack, or bounce on the top surfaces or edges of tables.

  • Do not stand on furniture or rock backward on chairs.

  • Stacking chairs should not be dropped, slammed, or dragged when being stacked, stored, or placed in use, this will damage glides, backs, seats and frames, and tear fabric.

  • Freestanding booths must not be dragged across the floor; this will loosen the joints and cause instability.

  • Do not drag tables across uneven or carpeted floors and do not move or reposition by pulling or lifting on the modesty panel.

  • Tables over 30”x 60” long, or with wood edges, should be set up and stored by two (2) or more people.

Where can I obtain additional help and advice?

There are many excellent web sites, bookstores, college courses, and professional service providers where you can find additional advice and information. It is very important to note that in situations where you are providing a service to the public which includes the provision of furniture, there is no substitute for seeking professional advice with regard to the purchase, maintenance, and general procedures associated with furnishing a safe and comfortable experience for all.