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Quality Explained

Outside Edge – Our Manufacturing Process

To produce garden furniture for you that lasts and is maintenance free, Outside Edge has to pay particular attention to the raw materials and each part of the manufacturing process. When you view other outdoor furniture websites, why is the manufacturing process not explained? Many retailers have no in depth knowledge of their suppliers’ production methods!

Cast Aluminum Garden Furniture

Virgin Aluminium – we only use virgin aluminium because reclaimed aluminium contains impurities that can cause cracking and corrosion. Reclaimed aluminium is also very difficult to weld correctly since inconsistent recycled aluminium will melt at varying temperatures making it almost impossible to decide at which temperature to weld. In contrast, the melting point of virgin aluminium is constant. Virgin aluminium outdoor furniture that is welded at a constant temperature will not fail.

Stainless Steel Fittings – such as on cast aluminium tables and sunloungers. It is vital that the assembly fittings are manufactured from stainless steel to avoid any possibility of corrosion. We specify stainless steel grade 316, the standard ‘marine grade stainless steel’.

Nylon Feet – all of our metal garden furniture has adjustable nylon feet. This is essential because otherwise:

  • unprotected metal legs would chip allowing the elements to attack the bare aluminium
  • metal feet can cause scratching on paved or decked patio areas
  • rubber feet mark and wear quickly

Sand Casting Our Aluminium Garden Furniture

  1. Mold-making – A sand mold is formed by packing sand into each half of the mold. The sand is packed around the pattern, which is a replica of the external shape of the casting. The cavity that will form the casting remains when the pattern is removed. Most cast aluminium garden furniture factories will use a cheap mdf pattern, Outdoor Edge uses a much more expensive resin pattern that achieves a cleaner and sharper surface finish
  2. Clamping – Once the mold has been made, it must be prepared for the molten metal to be poured. The surface of the mold cavity is first lubricated to facilitate the removal of the casting. Then the mold halves are closed and securely clamped together.
  3. Pouring – The molten metal is maintained at a set temperature in a furnace. After the mold has been clamped, the molten metal can be ladled from its holding container in the furnace and poured into the mold. Many of our competitors use a charcoal furnace, whereas Outside Edge uses an electric furnace. Consequently, the temperature is constant – avoiding bubbling within the cast. Bubbling – think of Aero chocolate, causes metal fatigue, shrinkage, cracks or incomplete sections.
  4. Cooling – The molten metal that is poured into the mold will begin to cool and solidify once it enters the cavity. When the entire cavity is filled and the molten metal solidifies, the final shape of the casting is formed.
  5. Removal – After the predetermined solidification time has passed, the sand mold can simply be broken, and the casting removed. At Outdoor Edge this step, sometimes called shakeout, is performed by a vibrating machine that shakes the sand and casting out of the flask.
  6. Trimming – During cooling, the material from the channels in the mold solidifies and is attached to the cast part. This excess material is trimmed from the casting via a trimming press.

Welding – apart from correct, constant weld temperature the bare aluminium parts must be thoroughly cleaned before welding. Aluminium is a very reactive metal, within minutes pure aluminium will combine with oxygen to form aluminium oxide, which forms a very thin, whitish bloom. This coating prevents the metal from reacting further with oxygen and protects the metal from further corrosion (rusting). Aluminium oxide melts at 3 times the temperature of pure aluminium, so if the oxide is present the weld will eventually fail.

Painting – Outside Edge uses powder coating which will last approximately 15 years. Many producers just use normal paint which starts to flake and peel off after a couple of years. Again, it is crucial that the aluminium is scrupulously cleaned, otherwise the aluminium oxide will prevail and a white bloom will eventually appear through the powder coating.

Quality Control

  • every aluminium garden chair is measured
  • every aluminium garden table is assembled to check bolt alignment
  • every metal sunlounger is assembled to check bolt alignment
  • all powder coating is checked for any blemishes or cracks

Packaging – it is astonishing that some manufacturers skimp on packing to reduce product costs. Why go to the effort in producing high quality garden furniture and then have a high return rate caused by inadequate packaging? Outside Edge only uses grade 1 mail order packaging.

  • parts are secured with cable ties
  • bubble wrap protection
  • further protection with polystyrene and cardboard
  • 5 ply cardboard box
  • carton banding

Rattan Garden Furniture

Also known as resin weave or woven wicker, rattan outdoor furniture is basically extruded polypropylene fibre, woven onto a metal frame. Polypropylene was first used in the 1980s in the garden furniture industry to manufacture stacking resin chairs and garden tables.

Virgin Aluminium – Outside edge only uses virgin aluminium frames to ensure the strongest welding. The extruded polypropylene is woven to the powder coated aluminium frame, unlike some manufacturers who use a less expensive steel frame which is prone to rusting.

Grade A Polypropylene – we use only grade A polypropylene weave to ensure over 15 years of outside use. Tested to +40°c and -40°c, our polypropylene is frost proof and will not rot.

Finished Feet – all the legs on our rattan garden furniture have a finishing aluminium cap which eliminates unravelling and minimizes wear.

Glass Table Tops – except the 90cm Ø table, all resin weave garden tables have 8mm glass tops. The British Standard thickness for a tempered glass top above 100cmØ is 8mm. This is a safety measure, but also has aesthetic appeal – making the rattan garden table look far more substantial.

Table Frames – underneath the tempered glass, our rattan garden table tops have tight aluminium banding, this is important to keep the resin weave in place as the polypropylene expands and contracts as the weather varies. This extra support stops any weave sagging.

Security Fixing – each item of wicker furniture has a security ring attached to the aluminium frame so that the furniture can be tethered to the floor – great for pubs and hotels, or if you have to leave your furniture in an exposed spot.

Nylon Feet – to stop chipping and marking.

Packaging - all of our rattan garden furniture is mail order packaged to eliminate carrier damage.

Patio Furniture Image Gallery