Finishing of wooden furniture in Ghana (a case study in Accra and Kumasi)

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The survey was udertaken in Accra and Kumasi to assess the present methods, procedures and extent of finishing, to find the relationship between the various types of finishing as done by the different categories of furniture producers and to determine consumer preferences and extent to which their finishing demands are met. sixty furniture producers, 20 each from the large, medium and small scales were randomly selected and visited. The evaluation was based on discussions, questionnaires and observations carried out in their workshops/factories. The study revealed that there was no consistency in finishing of wooden furniture but rather finishing was done differently within the same scale and between the different scales of production. Finishing of wooden furniture was dependent on factors like wood species used, type of finish, skill and customer demands. Furniture items are produced with very wide variety of finishes to suit customer’s preference (the most preferred being stained and matt finish). The procedures for finishing in each scale were similar but the methods and extents differed greatly. The large and medium scale furniture producers used high quality and costly finishing materials to produce high quality and highly priced items for the higher income and commercial consumers, whereas locally made inferior quality finishing materials were used to produce items at lower prices for the lower income domestic consumers. Furniture items are usually ordered by consumers with their own finishing specifications or they had the option to choose from items with a wide range of finishing specifications. Only forty two workshops/factories had completely separate finishing sections with specialised facilities and skilled workers. Recommendations have been made to improve and further develop the existing situation by adopting measures such as frequent training schemes, provision of external finance or credit, acquisition of appropriate finishing machinery and equipment, provision of technical advice and assistance in finishing of furniture together with furniture production in general.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Wood Technology and Management, 1998