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Early Oak Reproductions - British handmade furniture.

 

Buy with confidence. Trading standards approved

"Whoever sees our living room loves the tables." Andree, Basel, Switzerland

 

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Early Oak Reproductions Frequently Asked Questions

Below are listed the most frequently asked questions. If you have a query not mentioned here please use the contact form or give us a call.

 

COMMON HURDLES!

I love the furniture, but it's a bit more than I was planning to pay?

The simple answer is; that whatever the product, nobody can offer you the lowest price and, at the same time, deliver highest quality and impeccable service. You have to ask yourself; what's most important to you? We have a very interesting article on our website about the value of great reproduction furniture, against other common household expenses. The figures may surprise you!

I'm nervous that your products won't live up to our expectations?

Firstly, we're members of Trading Standards - Buy With Confidence scheme. We had to pass a rigorous vetting procedure to be accepted and we are continually monitored to make sure our high standards don't drop. Secondly, a good look at our testimonials will allay any remaining doubts (if there are any!!). There, you will see the number of clients who have ordered from our website and read their genuine comments. If, in the very, very unlikely event you don't like what you've bought (and it's not bespoke), send it back and we'll refund your money. If you are planning something bespoke and you're still nervous, test us out and order something small from our standard stock first. If it doesn't reach your expectations, simply return it and we'll refund your money in full. It's very unlikely though. In the last twenty odd years of making furniture we have never had this happen. As a matter of interest, almost half of our testimonials are from clients who have ordered bespoke items from us.

We want to order, but can't wait that long for delivery?

Where time is important, we can occasionally fast track orders. For example, we have done this for clients who want something for an impending anniversary or as part of an exhibition or grand opening. This may be tricky with more complicated bespoke items, particularly where there is carving involved, but for smaller items and anything from our Berwick range, we can usually accommodate. In fact, at the time of writing this, we will be delivering one of our Berwick Potboard Dresser Bases within 2-3 weeks of our client placing their order.

FURNITURE

Do you compromise on quality to get the price lower?

Absolutely not. Our furniture is top end reproduction and, in this respect, you simply won't find anything better. Why not visit our showroom to see for yourself? You'll find almost 100 pieces on permanent display. We make and finish to a quality standard and our products are priced accordingly. The main reasons why our furniture is such good value, is that our showroom is farm-based, in a rural area, rather than on the high street. Also, we don't need to employ shop staff or sales people and we have a very efficient nationwide delivery service.

Is your furniture imported from Eastern Europe and the Far East?

No. Apart from some of our Berwick semi-bespoke pieces, which are made elsewhere in Europe to keep the costs down (but where we have strict control over quality and which are finished by us), all our bespoke furniture is craftsman made and finished in England. We are passionate about supporting small businesses and craft workshops based in the UK so, wherever possible, we source all our products from local/British craftsmen and women.

Is the oak used, properly seasoned?

Yes, up to 75-100mm (3-4 inch) thickness is air dried and then kiln dried down to approximately 8-12% moisture content. Over this thickness, it is not possible to successfully kiln dry, so well air-dried stock is used. 

Is the oak free from knots, shakes and cracks?

Not always. It is important to realise that we replicate antique pieces which bear all the characteristics of furniture that's been around for several hundred years. As part of our efforts to achieve this, we use character grade oak, which may have surface checks, large knots with cracks, pippy knots and a fairly wild grain. This tends to be more apparent on our Chalvington range furniture, whereas the oak on our Wilmington and Berwick ranges tends to be a bit 'calmer'. Even though it's kiln dried, the oak is still a live product so there may also be some movement as it settles into it's final surroundings (particularly with character grade oak as there are more stresses released as it's converted into furniture) and therefore the odd crack or gap may appear. This is not a fault with the product, nor will it affect the structural integrity of the piece, but is all part and parcel of the natural ageing of the piece and completely in line with the gradual ageing process of original antiques.

Do you use traditional joints?

All our bespoke cabinet frames (cupboards for example), and open framework (tables and stools for example), are joined with traditional mortise and tenon joints. We may employ different methods of jointing on some of the components on our Berwick range semi-bespoke furniture in order to keep manufacturing costs down. All dovetails, for drawers etc. are cut by hand (Berwick range uses machine cut dovetails).

Do you use American white oak?

No. This is widely used in furniture imported from Eastern Europe and the Far East and is a cheaper, bland and inferior version of character English/French oak (Quercus robur).

Is the oak joinery grade?

Surprising to some, the answer is no. Joinery grade oak is straight grained and generally bland in appearance, making it ideal for contemporary work. We use pippy or character grade oak, which has knots, minor shakes and splits and is far more appropriate for the early period style furniture we produce. However, if you are looking for pristine 'as new' finished pieces, without any surface ageing, you may want to request 'clean' oak at the time of ordering. This is probably the only instance that a surface, minus the natural defects and blemishes, may be more suitable. There may be a surcharge for selecting/sourcing premium joinery grade oak.

Is the furniture solid oak throughout?

Yes, with the exception, possibly, of carcase work, i.e. dresser bases, clothes press, side tables etc. In such work, the unseen backs and internal floor base may be in other woods and the drawer linings may be also be in other woods, such as chestnut or ash. This is entirely authentic with original period pieces, many of which were constructed with the 'not seen' surfaces in chestnut, ash, pine, for example. Any experienced early oak antique dealer will confirm this. If there's a high risk of panel shrinkage with solid oak, i.e. when using large flat panels in carcase work, then we may use our own oak veneered board. These are not bought-in boards with thin veneers. We veneer our own boards with 1.5mm thick oak veneer which can be hand scraped and spoke shaved, just the same as solid. We will only do this where possible stability issues makes it a better alternative and we only use this for flat panels in carcase work, never for framing or table components.

Can I adjust furniture sizes slightly?

Yes (apart from our Berwick range, although these can be changed, as a bespoke piece, if required). Most dining tables in both Chalvington and Wilmington ranges are available, as standard, in a range of lengths and widths to suit most requirements. If you have a specific set of dimensions in mind, for tables or any other piece of furniture in these ranges, please contact us. Around 50% of our customers want to change something, either size or design (or both) to suit their requirements.  We are always happy to do this.

Can you colour match furniture?

Yes. We would need you to provide us with a sample or component for us to copy. This may incur a small additional cost. 

Are you able to send colour samples to us? 

Yes, if you don't want to rely on web photos or can't get down to our showroom, we would be more than happy to send actual samples to you.

Does your showroom stock everything on offer?

No, we have around 500 items of furniture and many accessories available, which would need a huge warehouse to accommodate and this would attract high overheads which would push up prices. At our 1,000 sq.ft. showroom, we have thought very carefully about how we can show a good varied cross section of styles, in all three ranges, with sample pieces showing all the ageing and colour options.

Does your upholstery comply with fire regulations?

Yes. If we are supplying the fabric, we will check that it's FR rated and, if not, will arrange for treatment to ensure it is. Some fabrics can't be FR treated, so our upholsterers incorporate a barrier cloth under the top fabric for normal domestic use. Our upholsterers will also fix a compliance label to BS5852 Parts 1&2. Stricter rules apply to upholstered furniture used in public places, so we would need to be informed beforehand, if this is where the furniture is to be used.

ACCESSORIES

Do we have to buy furniture in order to purchase accessories?

No. You can purchase one candle stick if you want.

PRICES

I have seen similar items much cheaper. Why is this?

We've never been interested in trying to be the cheapest. If your main criteria is the 'bottom line' then we definitely aren't the people for you. We are well aware that there are seemingly 'similar' looking pieces offered out there at impossibly low prices. Unfortunately, the figures simply don't add up and there's always a massive trade off to achieve that unrealistically cheap price, something you'll probably only realise when it's too late. We have seen quite a few of these supposedly 'quality' handmade pieces and they are simply awful. There is obviously a market out there for this low end furniture, but not a market we're interested in.

Is VAT and delivery extra?

No, all our furniture prices include VAT and delivery anywhere within mainland England. Note that, as most of our beds require some experience to install, our published prices include delivery and installation by us, up to 100 mile radius (within mainland England) of our Sussex showroom. For additional costs to deliver (and install) in areas outside of these areas, please contact us. For accessories, delivery is included anywhere within mainland UK. Please contact us for overseas delivery costs.

Is the cost of upholstery included in the furniture cost?

Yes. We will automatically upholster to barrier cloth. We will also apply your own top fabric at no additional cost, providing it is available to us before we finish manufacturing. Most customers choose their fabric, let us know what it is and we can then work out how much is required, order it, get any necessary FR treatment done and have it delivered straight to our upholsterers.

Are accessories included in the price?

No. Some product photos show accessories and those accessories are not included in the product price, unless specifically stated. Typically, non-included accessories are ornaments, runners, mattresses, bed coverings, hangings etc.

ORDERING

We've seen items on your website we like, where do we go from here?

From the individual product pages, send your item (or items) of choice to our Basket Page. Once you've fine tuned your selection you can make your purchase either by contacting us direct or by using WorldPay's secure online payment facility. You can also print the basket page and bring it with you to our showroom. If you still need to finalise your choice later, you can also choose to save the page.

What are your payment terms?

For furniture we only ask for a deposit of 30% at the time of ordering, with the balance payable prior to delivery. Accessories which are custom made are paid for in the same way. Accessories not custom made are payable in full when you order. In all the years we have been in this business, we've never fallen out with anyone over these arrangements.

How do we pay?

By credit card or debit card (online, by phone or at our showroom), cheque (cheques require 10 banking days to clear) or BACS transfer. For personal callers to our showroom, we can also offer interest free credit over 12 months.

How long does it take for our order to be completed?

Furniture is custom made to your specification and, as a rough guide, takes about 8-12 weeks from the date of ordering. Quite often we finish items ahead of this period. More complex pieces and hand carved furniture tends to take longer for obvious reasons. Accessories which are custom made can take between 3 to 10 weeks depending on what they are. Accessories which are not custom made can be ready for delivery between immediate and 4 weeks. We will always endeavour to dispatch in-stock items within 0-3 days from order. Fulfilment of any bespoke order is largely dependent on our workshops workload at the time and availability of stock, so please do contact us if you require a more accurate and current forecast of delivery times for specific items.

What happens if we change our mind on the specification part way through an order?

You would need to talk to us to see if changes can be made after commencement of production. We will do all we can but it may or may not be possible. So, to be safe, you need to thoroughly check that everything is as you wish, on your order, immediately on receipt.

SHOWROOM VISITS

Do I have to book an appointment to visit your showroom?

It's not essential, but advisable, particularly if you're coming from some distance away. As part of our policy to keep unnecessary costs down, our showroom is not always staffed as per normal shop hours. So, just in case we are on-site fitting (or having a well-earned rest!), we would definitely recommend contacting us first, just to make sure you don't have a wasted journey.

The only time we can visit your showroom is at the weekend. Is this possible?

Yes, of course, Sunday is fine. Please let us know in good time beforehand, so that we can arrange something to suit you.

DELIVERY

Do you deliver?

Yes, and delivery of your furniture is FREE to any part of mainland England (please contact us for details of any additional costs for deliveries to other areas) and is either by us or our logistics suppliers. Either way, it will be a 1 or 2-man team, depending on the size and weight of the pieces, and they will unload, unpack and assemble if necessary, as well as place in the room of your choice (providing it's safe to do so). We normally install 4-poster and other similarly complicated beds ourselves and this is also FREE OF CHARGE, up to a radius of 100 miles from our showroom (within mainland England). We do, and are happy to install outside of this area and will quote separately for this if need be. Prices for accessories include FREE delivery anywhere in mainland UK.

Can you deliver on a set day?

We carry out most local deliveries ourselves and will usually be able to work with our clients wishes. For areas outside of our locality our carriers will usually combine your furniture with other freight and other drop-offs, in order to provide the most economical service, and they have set days for set areas. Consequently, they cannot change these arrangements for small loads, unless the client is prepared to pay a premium over and above our normal FREE delivery service. For large loads, where we can book a complete van, our carriers are able to be more flexible with days and times. 

How long does delivery take?

After collection from our workshops, our carriers expect to deliver within 10 working days (it is usually quicker than this). We will endeavour to let you know as soon as we can, what date they normally have scheduled for your area and they will telephone you a day or two beforehand, when they will be able to give you an idea of time of arrival. However, owing to unforeseen circumstances, such as traffic delays, they cannot guarantee a precise time, although in the main we have found them to be reasonably accurate.

Can I collect from your showroom?

Yes, although we would need notice of this.

Do you deliver overseas?

Yes, we do regularly deliver to other parts of the world. We use a long established furniture shipping company and they take care of everything, including packing and customs. For Europe, this is also a 'to your door' service. Unfortunately, we don't export to the USA.

We have tight access in our home for deliveries. Is this a problem?

If you have any doubts whatsoever about access into your home, do please talk to us first. Beds dismantle down to easier-to-manage components, but may still prove to be problematical negotiating old twisting staircases, for example. Wardrobes can be a nightmare too. As it is unlikely that we will have visited the clients' home for a survey, the client has to accept full responsibility for access.

AFTER-CARE

What happens if something goes wrong after we've purchased?

Our furniture is made to last generations so, in this unlikely event, we will do everything in our power to rectify the problem. Even just one dissatisfied client quickly undermines all our efforts to maintain an excellent reputation, so it's the last thing we want. In the very rare event that your furniture is damaged in transit, we will arrange for a competent local  furniture restorer to rectify the problem, at our expense. Always remember that you have your Statutory Rights to protect you.







All our prices include VAT and free mainland England delivery.   Details here of our UK and overseas delivery service

Easy ways to place your order and pay...

1. You can simply place your order here on our website by using our intuitive selection boxes (on any of our product pages) and then continue through to your basket page (you'll need to register with us first - see 'Login/Register'. This will then take you through to the secure server of WorldPay, where you can pay your deposit for bespoke pieces, or full payment for accessories.

2. Alternatively, you can email or phone your order through, or visit us personally at our showroom. Click here for contact details.  We accept BACS transfer, cheque, credit card or debit card payments.

3. You can also spread the cost of your purchase over 12 months, interest free. Early Oak Reproductions can provide you with the opportunity to take out finance on any of our products, with an order value of £1,500 and over, through Omni Capital Retail Finance. The application is quick and easy - the process taking just a few minutes, with a fast decision. Terms apply and credit is provided subject to age and status. Click here for more details.

However you want to order, we've made it both straightforward and safe (see our accreditation's below).

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