When you’re designing a product, you need to keep in mind the materials that you’re planning to use for it. Materials can play into its practical uses, its reliability, its sustainability, and even its aesthetic brand. Plastics are common, thanks to injection molding and other modern manufacturing techniques. However, if you want a more traditional and natural approach, could wood be the right material for you?
It needs to be protected
Depending on your choice of which type, wood can be a very sturdy, resilient material. However, as a natural material, it is also susceptible to a wide range of factors that occur in nature. This includes the deterioration of wood through moisture, sun exposure, mold fungi, bacteria, and even insects. While the end-user has to be responsible for some of the care and storage of the item, you should look at what treatments you might need for wood to protect it, at the very least, from moisture and fungi.
Know the specific quirks of manufacturing with wood
Like any other material, wood has its own properties when it’s on the production line, which can manifest, for instance, in some manufacturing processes. For one thing, wood can respond oddly to pressure and heat, leading to visible marks that can affect the overall look of the product. As such, you should make sure that you know how to reduce planer snipe and other little imperfections that can arise. Thankfully, wood is one of the oldest materials used in production so there are plenty of solutions out there.
It’s good for the world
Aside from the challenges that come with using wood and how you can face them, we should, of course, be talking about the benefits of using wood, as well. To that end, there is one that makes it particularly attractive compared to its contemporaries: its environmental friendliness. Wood is sustainable, meaning that its sources can be replenished. What’s more, wood can be recycled, meaning that your products can have a life well after they have been used. You can even use recycled wood to make your own products if their properties suit you as well.
The unique appeal of wood
There’s a good reason wood is still a popular choice for things like toys, furniture, certain tools, and the like. Aside from all of its practical purposes, people simply like the look and feel of wood. It helps us feel a little more connected to the world around us, letting us enjoy a simple, more natural feel and look than the plastics, metals, and other man-made materials that we are constantly surrounded with. If you’re making a lifestyle product, then you should know the aesthetic and emotional appeal of wood.
Of course, whether a material is a good fit for your product depends on the product, how it is to be used, and how it’s manufactured. You can always try creating a prototype or two to see how easily it can be made and how it performs after.