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1. I am nervous to order online, how safe is it?
2. Why should I order custom made furniture?
3. Does Vintage-etc have a showroom?
4. How do I know what size to order?
5. How do I know what style to choose?
6. How thick should the table be, and what legs do I choose?
7. What timber do I choose?
8. What finishes can I choose?
9. What is powder coated metal?
10. What NOT to say to your furniture manufacturer!
11. Is Vintage-etc limited to Cape Town?
12. Does Vintage-etc offer soft furnishing as well?
13. How do I go about ordering timber furniture?
14. How long will it take to come?
15. How do payments on custom orders work?
16. Can I order bulk orders for my business?
17. How do I apply for a trade account and related discount?
18. What is Vintage-etc's return and refund policy?
19. Rustic or Reclaimed Wood - what can I expect ? 
20.  How to care for new timber furniture 
21. How to clean timber and Oak tables and furniture 
22.  Tell me about timber choices please 

1. I am nervous to order online, how safe is it?

The most important part of ordering online is trusting the company that you are ordering from. Here's how you know that you can trust us:
a.  We are an established business that has been trading since 2013. 
b.  We have an up-to-date website, including galleries and client feedback
c.  We have positive client ratings - see our Facebook ratings
d. We have well maintained social media pages - see our Facebook and Instagram
e. We have phone a phone number, an email address, and actual people that you can speak to personally about you order. Feel free to WhatsApp Amanda (the founder) on 072 902 5386 or email us via info@vintage-etc.com in order to make you feel more secure and sure about ordering your furniture with us. We will also send you progress photos and keep you updated about your order. 
Remember, time does not lie - if a company is dodgy, or has a bad track record, you will find it easily in the reviews. 

2. Why should I order custom made furniture?

The most important part of ordering online is trusting the company that you are ordering from. Here's what to look for:
a.   To begin with, and probably the most obvious, ordering custom made means that you can design your furniture piece exactly how you want it. You decide on your sizing, type of wood, style - everything down to the final seals, tints and washes.  Ready to order furniture does not give you this opportunity, you have to buy it as it is, which can be limiting. 
b. South Africa has a weaker currency, meaning imports are often out of our price range.  Not everyone can afford to shop at the three or four major retailers that dominate the furniture market in SA and have mark ups of more than 200%. So why not customise something similar, as you want it, for yourself - at a more affordable fee? Seems like an obvious choice! 
c  A big part of why our business introduced custom made furniture into our model, is because we want to do our absolute best to support local economy.  The hard working teams behind custom orders, are taking home their wages for school fees and feeding their families. As South Africa struggles with the effects of the pandemic, buying custom made furniture is providing local workers with a job, and children with an education. Not to mention that supporting local is far better for the environment due to the products traveling less air miles and having a lower carbon footprint on the environment. 

3. Does Vintage-etc have a showroom?

We do not operate a showroom, we keep our overheads and pricing down for our clients by keeping our business as an online interface only. We do however have a fabulous gallery and our social media pages showcase our new orders weekly.  Also, to note we have a Cape Town workshop and Joburg workshop, and transport nationwide. Having more than one workshop allows our National clients to save on transport fees by using the local beach to their own location.

4. How do I know what size to order?

Take some box or masking tape and mark out a space on your floor of your ideal sized table/sofa or item. Remember that you will still need space for chairs or benches or for a walk way, to get to plugs for example.  
Then measure the L x B x H of the item you want, and provide that as part of your brief, along with your reference images.

5. How do I know what style to choose?

An established furniture company should have a portfolio of products that you can review on their website and social media. Or find a picture on Pinterest or from another furniture company that you like.   A reference image is a must.
On Vintage-etc, you  can get inspiration from our Pinterest Inspiration collections, or from our picture gallery.These both showcases a lot of the products we have made and maybe you will be inspired by an item there.  
Once you find what you like, make notes on what you want changed (e.g. the size, the wood type, or the style of the legs) and communicate that to your manufacturer.  Don't be afraid to say what you like, and what you don't like - about a reference image.   The clearer your brief, the better the outcome!  We ALWAYS need L x B x H dimensions to quote. 

6. How thick should the table top be, and what legs do I choose?

LETS TALK TABLE TOPS : when ordering tables, the thicker the table top (or island or desk) , the more you will pay. Important to note, when you ask for a 50mm thick table, remember that you will be ordering 50mm in RAW wood, which is then planed and sanded down, so you will lose a few mm on the raw thickness on a finished item.   
You could start at 25mm, 35mm, 40mm,  50mm, 70mm or 80mm top, you can decide on which size you want - the thicker your wood, the more expensive the raw timber will be for your item.  But there is a way you can fake the thickness fo the table top without paying over the odds for it. 
What you could do, is  ask your manufacturer, to use a "build up" on the table edge. This means that on the outer edge of the table, there is a double slab - or a built up side (see reference images)  that gives the appearance of the whole table top being for example 70mm thick. 
This essentially means that that to the eye, the table looks chunky, but its only the outer edge that is thick - the inner inlay - is in fact only 25-30mm, which is not evident.  This could save you  up to 40% on your manufacture cost, because you are using less timber.  
Money saving tip when ordering bespoke tables, islands and desks - from Vintage-etc
MOVING ONTO LEGS:  There are so many leg options that you can choose between, for example, black metal legs, cross legs, straight legs, or turned legs. Please see the pictures below for just four high-level shapes and examples of each. 

7. What timber do I choose?

Certain woods have different grain patterns and the longevity can differ.   For the clients who want a more rustic and affordable option, we generally work in Rustic Pine - which has knots and it can be stained various finishes - it really is not "yellow" as now-days, the tinted sealants we can use are wonderful.  For more image and examples of wood finishes and the right timber to choose for outdoor vs indoor custom made tables, please read questions 20 and 21 on this page.   
Please also look at our gallery of all our custom orders installed for clients for finished items. 
Another cost effective option for shelving and desk top options, is laminated Birch Ply.  The reason it is affordable is that suppliers give it to us already planed and ready to use.  The edges are as noted in the image below. It is a super flexible timber - increasingly popular and a trending finishing edge. 

For a more upgraded, clean finish, we recommend Oak. We normally work in Grade A Oak, or Rustic Oak -  which has some variations in tones and also can be sealed in a variety of seals.

If you want no knots in your wood, the price per square meter goes up drastically for raw materials. 
Other timbers are available, which we can quote on per item - Prime Oak, Teak, Meranti, Beech, Mahogany or reclaimed Oregon; Veneer options, the choice is yours - but you should know that the pricing can differ from R5000 per square meter, to R50000 per square meter, depending on the timber choice.
See the BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE FOR MORE SAMPLES .  Teak and Mahogany are the best options for outdoor "exposed"  usage as they weather better outdoors. 


8. What finishes can I choose ?

We promote the use of UV protectant sealants, to limit the bleaching of the items that are exposed to light. Sealants (which is not a varnish) will also protect from spills and has a matt finish. The bonus is that they allow you to change the hue of the wood, if you want it darker or whiter.  Most reputable providers can offer you various tints and seals to your product to give a certain finish -  but remember that the sealant AND wood type, is what determines the final finish. Here are just some examples of how Oak can be tinted into different finishes, using a sealant. 
Vintage-etc used UV sealants for our custom order tables and bespoke furniture
When you receive your newly sealed item, keep it totally dry for at least 5 days to let the seal cure.  

9. What is powder coated metal?

As you can see from the example below, the left has a more matte texture and that is because it is powder coated. For our business, this process requires us to send your items to a third party to be powder coated, so there is a charge for this service.   In-house we offer a spray finish.

10. What NOT to say to your furniture manufacturer:

Gosh, we can't tell you how often we get these requests - DAILY!  Do not email a custom order manufacturer and say something like: 
"Please quote  an 8 seater table from Oak" - or   "Please quote an L-shape Sofa in grey".     
This is much too vague, and will result in a lot of clarifying correspondence which takes up your time, and also your provider's time. When you build a house or even an extension, you give the builder a plan, so he knows what to quote for.  
When it comes to making tables - the thickness of wood of the table top will vary, the width of the table will also vary; and one persons "8 seater " is not the same for other 8 seaters, as it depends on the size of the chairs.
When it comes to sofas, the depth and height of the sofa will affect the cost, as will the choice and "pull" of the fabric, as will the inners (feathers vs foam for example).
Take the time to put a proper brief together - to save you both to and fro and to get accurate costings back.  Yes, you should expect your manufacturer to be professional,  but know that their pricing and revert, is only as accurate as YOUR brief.
As you can see from the sample of products below, a table style (and thus the costing thereof) is greatly affected by the brief and specs.  
On the left is an Oregon cross leg table, on the right is an Oak turned leg table - and the price points depend on specs, cost of raw material and labour.  

11. Is Vintage-etc limited to Cape Town?

NO we are not ! Good news is that we are pleased to have expanded into Johannesburg in early 2021, and now can service our Johannesburg clientele (and surrounding areas) without the hefty transport fees from our Cape Town workshop.  We also deliver nationwide, as far as Namibia and surrounding countries for special orders. 

12. Does Vintage-etc offer soft furnishing as well?

Absolutely we do - YES! We just need a short brief to quote: 

a.  Find a reference image of what you need us to make.  

b.  Send us the dimensions (length x breadth x height )

c. Tell us what type of finishes and fabrics you want.  It helps us to have a visual reference

d. It helps to go to a fabric house like Hertex, Mavromac - or any other, and note the name and brand of the fabric you like, we can source it for you (look on the back of the sample and write down the fabric reference) - or order your own fabric if you know the amount you need.Contact us via email at info@vintage-etc.com for a free, no obligation estimate.

f. Once you have sent us a brief, if we feel it is necessary to meet on a more complex project  - we will make such arrangements with you directly.

g.  We offer trade rates for clients who qualify. Read more about trade here 

h.  Lead times are approx 5-7 weeks on soft furnishings, as the fabric often has to be shipped to us which can take at least 10-14 days.

13. How do I go about ordering timber furniture?

For our business, our clients need to fill out a custom order form - or email info@vintage-etc with your detailed brief.  

 We ask that our clients give us
a.  L X B X H dimensions
b.  Include a reference image (or description)
c.  It is even better if you can provide us with a high level sketch of your ideas, to make sure that we fully understand your brief. 
d.  Specify your wood type
I hope all that is helpful,  certainly if put into practise, it will be a great springboard to your successful decorating and self - furnishing experience. 

14. How long will it take to come?

Most good furniture manufacturers take  20-30 working days from receiving a signed mandate and payment to manufacture, or from sign off of technical drawings; and then a few days for transport. Lead times can vary if the workshop is at full capacity, if it is peak season, or when processing a special or  bulk order. Your lead time will be confirmed when you order your product. Make sure to ask for this and confirm the expected due date before you pay your manufacturer.    

15. How do payments on custom orders work ?

For orders under R25 000, we require full payment. For orders over R25 000 we request a 70% deposit. Items will be wholly owned by Vintage-etc until fully paid for. No partial refunds can be made for any items that are cancelled for any reason what so ever as the cost of manufacture is a sunk cost to our business.

16. Can I order bulk orders for my business?

Yes, of course you can and we also offer very competitive trade rates for trade buyers. Drop us a line at info@vintage-etc.com

17. How do I apply for a trade account and related discount?

We do a lot of bulk orders on custom made furniture (for restaurants, delis, bed and breakfasts, offices and hotels)   For custom orders and bulk orders, we can certainly offer competitive trade rates for orders over R50000-  please see our full trade policy.

18. What is Vintage-etc's return and refund policy ?

For imports, you will receive a full refund for items returned within 10 working days, if it is totally undamaged, and it its original packaging, so that we can sell it.   
For custom orders under R25000, we require a full payment.  This is because our margins are low, and if clients default, we can't recover the costs.
For orders over R25000, we mandate a 70% deposit - the balance is paid once we send you progress photos, and is due at least 5 working days before we dispatch your items.
Items are owned by Vintage-etc until fully paid with all funds having cleared into our account.  Vintage-etc does not offer partial refunds for any items that are cancelled once they have been started, or once materials are ordered - items will be sold to recover all costs if not paid for within 10 calendar days of being invoiced. 

Please see our full delivery and returns policy.


18. Rustic or Reclaimed Wood - what can I expect ?

 If you are choosing items made from Rustic Oak, cants or reclaimed wood, please note that each batch is different and unique, and that images shown are just guide images.   Every piece of wood has its own character and you will have to expect imperfections, knots, and marks due to the nature of reclaimed wood.  

19. How to care for new timber furniture 

Our wood has been tried to recommended moisture levels, but wood is a live product, and it is subject to changes with the elements and temperatures and moisture content in the air so changes to the wood surface, and swelling and cracking (especially if placed outdoors). These changes are beyond our control once all protocols for manufacture and sealing have been followed. Vintage-etc is unable provide any guarantees on longevity of tables due the nature of live wood, where they are placed, and how they are cared for (this is in our terms and conditions ).  Here are some high level tips.  
  • Do not place any hot items directly on the surface 
  • Do keep it covered for the first week or two , especially  if outside  - as they adjust to extreme temperatures / moisture content
  • Do not clean it with detergents , just use a slightly damp cloth 
  • Do not let your table sweat by wrapping it in plastic - as wood is live.  If you want to wrap in a plastic sheet, ensure you cover it with cloth or towels first. 
  • Place away from radiators, fireplaces, and heating ducts.
  • Position your timber items and chairs out of direct sunlight or adjust blinds to avoid hour after hour of direct sunlight.
  • Try and control humidity in your home as best you can. In winter consider using a humidifier, in summer why not try a dehumidifier or air conditioner.
  • When first putting new tables outside, give them the best possible chance to adjust by covering when not in use
  • Use coasters with non-scratching bottoms.
  • Use padding under all sharp, hot, or cold objects.
  • Store table leaves in close proximity to the table or in the same humidity, avoid storing leaves in damp basements where the leaves may swell.
  • Avoid using nail polish remover, alcohol, and other solvents near or on the table.

20. How to clean timber and Solid Oak Furniture 

  In order to keep your furniture looking in fine condition, you should wax it every 6 months, this may seem like a bit of a chore, but it is worth it if you like to keep value in your furniture and keep it looking fresh. Wax or polish with a high content of beeswax is ideal for treating and polishing your solid oak dining table and chairs. Waxing protects the grain and makes the wood crack-resistant, keeping any finish in the best condition. It’s a good idea to test the wax you’re going to use on a part of the furniture not in plain sight, like underneath the table, just to check you’re happy with the finish. If you’re happy, apply the wax to the rest of the piece in the same direction as the wood grain. Leave it for five minutes, then remove the wax by buffing, again following the direction of the grain. 

When cleaning solid oak furniture is extremely simple and all you will need is microfiber cloths and clear dish soap. Start by wiping down your wood furniture with a barely damp microfiber cloth to remove dust and grime. You never want the water to sit on the wood, so quickly wipe it down with another dry microfiber cloth. 

21. Tell me about timber choices please? 

Timber per square meter, is astonishingly expensive, and customers are generally surprised when they know what the price per meter is of RAW wood.   When choosing the right timber for the right purpose, it is important to go beyond just the aesthetic finish of the wood.   See some examples below. It is however a good idea to research wood finishes before ordering your custom order item.  

If choosing  wood (example Oak, Oregon, Pine, Ash)  for our outdoor area, then it is highly recommended that it is only put in well covered patio area with no direct exposure to sun and rain.   Vintage-etc does not recommend you put softer wood in your outdoor area, rather pay a little more per square meter and opt for very hardy wood for longevity purposes.  

OUTDOOR FURNITURE : Cypress, Redwood and Cedar are three softwoods that have natural moisture-wicking properties and make a fair choice for outdoor furniture. It is however suggested that the better wood for outdoor furniture comes from top-of-the-line hardwoods such as Meranti, Ipe, Mahogany, and Teak, but this comes with a price to match per square meter. 

Ultimately, it is the client's responsibility to choose the right wood for your phsysical space/elements and to ensure you follow the care instructions for that item.  There is a plethora of published information online, to help you make informed, safe choices.  


What wood type to choose for custom order furniture in South Africa

What type of wood to choose for custom order tables in South Africa

What wood types to choose for custom order tables in South Africa, Cape Town and Johannesburg

What wood type to choose for custom order tables in Cape Town and Johannesburg