Abrasion Resistance : The ability of a textile or other surface material to withstand rubbing and/or abrasion without the loss of the original color or other physical properties.

Absorbency : A measurement of a textile's ability to absorb liquid, in terms of both the amount that can be absorbed, and the rate of absorption.

Across Roll Cutting : When a fabric is cut horizontally from the roll.

Acrylic : A manufactured or man-made fiber with low moisture absorbency and quick drying properties. It is resistant to the degrading effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays as well as a wide range of chemicals, but it has poor flame resistance compared to other fibers.

ACT Standards : Technical performance guidelines developed by the Association for Contract Textiles. These guidelines are for fire retardancy, color-fastness to light and crocking, physical properties and abrasion. There are five graphic symbols used to denote compliance with these standards.

After Flame : Refers to the burning of a fabric specimen after the removal of a flame source.

Analogous Colors : Colors that fall side-by-side on the color wheel. Unless values are very intense, the combination of analogous colors is relaxing to the eye.

Aniline Dyed Leather: The process of coloring leathers throughout in a rotating drum using non-toxic aniline dyes. The dye is transparent and therefore allows all the natural markings in leather to be visible.

Animal Fibers : Any natural protein fiber, such as wool or silk, that is derived from animals.

Anti-microbial : The ability of a textile to resist or inhibit the growth of bacteria.

ASTM : The American Society for Testing and Materials; a technical organization concerned with the performance of textiles and other materials.

ASTM Standards : Minimum standards established by the ASTM in testing upholstery fabrics:

  • Abrasion Resistance: ‘Heavy Duty' rating indicates no noticeable wear after 30,000 double rubs
  • Resistance to Yarn Slippage at Seam: 25 lbs. minimum
  • Tensile Strength: 50 lbs. minimum
  • Tear Strength: 6 lbs. minimum
  • Crocking: Colorfastness to dry = Class 4 minimum; Colorfastness to wet = Class 4 minimum
  • Colorfastness to Light: Class 4 minimum

Back : The side of a textile not seen in ordinary use; the side opposite the front or the face.

Backing : A material or coating on the back of a textile that is used to stabilize the weave, reducing fraying, raveling or slippage.

Back Painted Glass:  Clear or low iron tempered glass with solid color painted on backside:  may be specified for markerboard use on the glass side.

Blend : A yarn or fabric that combines two or more different fibers.

Bolt : A roll of fabric, typically 50-60 yards long.

Bouclé Yarn : A yarn that combines a looped yarn and a straight yarn, by twisting them together.

Book Matching : A veneering technique in which every other veneer sheet is turned over and aligned like the open pages of a book. This results in a symmetrical pattern with prominent vertical and horizontal repeating lines.

Carding : A process used in the manufacturing of yarn. Short fibers are manipulated to be parallel to each other, forming a ‘roving', which can then be spun into yarn.

Chroma : The intensity of a color or hue. High chroma means the color is very intense and dramatic; a low chroma means the color is more subdued and subtle.

Chrome Free Leather: Refers to not using chromium as an agent in tanning. Chromium is a heavy metal that will not bio-degrade.

Coating : A surface material that allows color to be supplied to metal and wood substrates.

Color : A combination of hue, value and chroma.

Color Level : The relative lightness or darkness of a color; also known as ‘color value'.

Colorfastness : A term used to describe a fabric's color retention when exposed to light, chemicals, cleaning fluids or abrasion.

Colorways : Colors or color combinations available for a surface material.

Color Wheel : A tool that demonstrates the relationship between colors. The colors are arranged like the spokes on a wheel and move from yellow to yellow-green, green, blue-green, blue, blue-violet, violet, red-violet, red, red-orange, orange, yellow-orange, and back to yellow.

COM : Customer's Own Material; this can be any material from fabrics to laminates to wood that are not a standard offering on products, but purchased separately, and applied to products in a custom fashion.

Commercial Match : A slight variation in production materials regarding color, texture or finish.

Complementary Colors : Colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. Using them together creates a bold, vibrant effect. The impact is softened when one color dominates the other, and the second color is used as an accent.

Corrected Leather: A new grain is printed or embossed on the leather surface after buffing. (See Embossed Leather)

Construction : Refers to the pattern in which yarns are interlaced to form a fabric.

Cotton : A natural fiber taken from cotton plants. Cotton fibers are strong and long in length; they accept color beautifully. Usually used in combination with other fiber(s) to meet contract industry standards.

Crêpe : A woven textile without a visible pattern repeat that has a pebbled or grained surface appearance.

Crocking : The transfer of color or dyes from one surface to another by abrasion.

Cross Dyeing : Refers to the coloring of a fabric woven of two different yarns by different dye stuffs.

Custom Color : A color created in a surface material to meet a customer's specific needs. Only certain materials, such as paint and some fabrics, can be custom colored.

Cutting Direction : The way pattern pieces are cut from a roll of fabric; i.e. vertically or horizontally across the roll.

Dobby Weave : A weaving method that produces very basic, small-scale patterns and geometric shapes.

Down Roll Cutting : The fabric is used vertically from the roll for cutting with selvages left and right. The fabric is used the same way it is woven; it is sometimes referred to ‘woven way', ‘warp vertical', or ‘right way'.

Double-cut Veneer : Also known as ‘Recon Veneer'. A wood cutting technique in which large logs (from Obeché trees) with little or no grain pattern are rotary sliced and cut into veneer sheets of uniform size. The veneer sheets are dyed, dried and stacked with a tinted adhesive between the layers; the glued layers are then compressed to create a solid, layered block. The block is cut at an angle into thin sheets that manifest a somewhat uniform grain pattern produced by the bands of tinted adhesive.

Double Rub : The term is used to describe how many abrasions can be applied to a fabric before it shows signs of wear.

Dye : A natural or synthetic soluble with particles used to color fabric.

Dyeing : The application of dye stuffs to fiber yarn or fabric.

Eco-Intelligent : The term used by Victor Innovatex to describe some of their 100% recycled content fabrics.

Embossed Leather: A process of altering the natural grain of leather by using plates or rollers creating a very uniform grain pattern.

End-matching : A veneer technique used to extend the length of a veneer so that it can be used for large or long surfaces. Veneer sheets are book- or slip-matched end-to-end, then side-to-side, alternating end and side. This produces a continuous grain pattern that repeats over the length and width of the surface.

Etched Glass:  Glass that has been processed with substances applied to the surface, resulting in the desired design.

Face : The side of a fabric designed to be seen in ordinary use; the front, or finished, usable side of the fabric.

Fadeometer : A machine that tests the permanence of a fabric's color when exposed to sunlight.

Fiber : Any tough, long, pliable substance that can be woven, knitted or matted into a fabric. The basic element of yarn; can be man-made or natural.

Fiberboard : A substrate made from the fine wood particles that are compressed and formed into sheets that can later be machined into usable shapes. Fiberboard is available in different densities with MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) and HDF (High Density Fiberboard) being the mot common.

Filament : Any continuous strand or fiber, either man-made (such as nylon) or natural (such as silk).

Filling : Refers to the yarns that interlace at right angles to the warp in a woven fabric; they lie in a horizontal direction. Sometimes referred to a ‘pick' or ‘weft'.

Film Thickness : A measurement of the thickness of a coating material, such as paint, usually given in millimeters.

Finish : Any mechanical or chemical treatment that alters the natural state of the fabric.

Flame- or Fire-Resistant Fabric : A fabric that resists burning because of its fiber content or weave, or because it has been treated with a flame- or fire-retardant finish.

Flammability Test : Used to determine a fabric's resistance to burning. The most commonly used tests in the contract market are:

E-84 Tunnel Test: Fabric sample is mounted on a tunnel ceiling and exposed to open flame.

Vertical Flame Test: Fabric sample is mounted in a vertical holder and exposed to an open flame for a specific length of time. Continued flaming time and char length of the sample are measured.

Flat Cut : Also known as Plain Cut. A wood-cutting technique in which a half-log is placed in a vertical slicer and sliced parallel to the flat edge of the log. This produces a cathedral pattern with elongated arches widening from the center.

Flitches : Bundles packages of veneer sheets, collated in consecutive order.

Full Grain Leather: Any leather in which only the hair has been removed while the grain remains in its original (uncorrected) state. The grain and natural markings, which many consider the hallmarks of fine leather, remain.

Grade Level : Another term for Price Group.

Grain Direction:  The direction or orientation of the tree growth rings on veneer. - does not apply to fabrics.

Grey Goods : Also known as ‘Greige Goods'. Fabric woven directly from a loom that is undyed, unbleached or unprinted.

Hand : A term used to describe how a fabric feels, i.e. soft, rough, stiff, etc. A fabric with a ‘good hand' usually soft and pleasant to the touch.

Heathered : A textile or other surface material that is created by blending multiple colors or values.

High Pressure Laminate (HPL):  A form of decorative laminates in which the layers of kraft paper impregnated with melamine resin are infused with decorative paper and protective overlay and the resulting laminate is attached to the substrates at high pressures and temperatures.

Hue : The name or label for a color such as Red, Orange or Blue.

Intensity : The brightness or dullness of a color; its purity of strength.

Jacquard Weave : A weaving method that produces a variety of intricate patterns and designs, utilizing a jacquard loom. This loom permits each warp thread to be manipulated independently, allowing it to produce textiles of a complex nature.

Laminated Glass:  Is a type of safety glass that holds together when shattered.  Consisting of two or more sheets of annealed glass held together by an intervening layer of bonding material.

Laminates : Durable materials comprised of layers of paper and phenolic resin, pressed into thin sheets. Laminates can be solid or patterned in nature, and can be applied on work surfaces or in some vertical applications.

Lightfastness : A color's resistance to fading from sun or light.

Loom : A machine used to weave fabric by interlacing vertical and horizontal yarns.

Low Intensity Color : Softer colors that bring subtlety to the aesthetics of an interior space.

Martindale Test : Used to determine a fabric's resistance to abrasion. The fabric specimen is rubbed with a rotating, fabric-covered abrader.

MBDC : McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, a leading firm in the area of green processes and methodology. MBDC Cradle to Cradle uses a scale of five to denote environmental compliance.

  • Basic
  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum 

Memo Sample (Haworth) : An 8 ½” x 8 ½” sample of fabric or other material.

Monochromatic : Refers to color schemes that employ one color in a range of values and intensities; these color schemes are generally the most restful to the eye as contrast is extremely low.

Monofilament : A yarn made of an untwisted, continuous strand of filament.

Natural Fibers : Fibers derived from an animal (such as silk or wool) or a vegetable (cotton, flax, jute or ramie).

Natural Veneer : Veneer that comes directly from an unprocessed log. Grain patterns are the result of natural tree growth and are not created in processing, as they are in Composite or Recon veneer.

Neutral Colors : Colors that have very little actual color. Neutral colors work well as a backdrop for other, more intense colors. They are soothing in nature for large spaces for long periods of use.

Non-Vinyl Wall Coverings:  Wall coverings which are durable and easily cleaned but do not contain the polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

Novelty Yarns : Yarns composed of a core thread into which a thicker, textured yarn is spun.

Nylon : A synthetic fiber known for its strength, abrasion resistance and stretching. Nylon's durability makes it especially useful in high traffic areas.

Obéche : A plantation-farmed, quick growing tree from Africa , used primarily for Recon Veneers, known for its straight graining.

Paint : A surface material that allows color to be applied to metal or plastic surfaces.

Palette : A given range or set of colors developed for specific reasons or applications.

Pattern : A design that is woven into the structure of a textile or applied after weaving by dyeing or printing. Can also refer to a printed pattern see on laminates.

Pattern Repeat : The measurement, in length and width, of a single unit of a repeating pattern. Some pattern repeats are very noticeable while others are much more subtle.

Piece Dyeing : The dyeing of a cloth, or grey goods, after it has been woven.

Pick : A single horizontal thread in a fabric. Also known as ‘fill' or ‘woof'.

Pilling : The abrasion-induced accumulation of fibers that look like ‘fuzzy balls' on the fabric's surface.

PLA : A yarn made from corn sugars, a renewable source. Highly environmental, it can be used to create plain and complex fabric designs.

Plain Weave : A textile produced using the simplest weave formation. This is done through a one up – one down of warp and fill creating a very simple, plain fabric.

Plastic : Molded, cast, extruded, drawn or laminated polymer materials. Plastics can be organic, synthetic or processed.

Plying : Creation of a single yarn by twisting two or more yarns together.

Polyester : A man-made fiber known for its strength and resistance to shrinking and stretching. Used throughout the contract industry.

Polypropylene : Also known as Olefin. A man-made fiber known for its strength, toughness and high resistance to mechanical abuse and chemical attack.

Post-Consumer Recycled Content : Material that has been recovered after its intended use as a consumer product. Examples include soda and water bottles. This helps eliminate the possibility of these items ending up in landfills.

Post-Industrial Recycled Content : Material that has been recovered from the manufacturing waste stream, such as scraps from fabric construction and trimming. This helps eliminate the possibility of these items ending up in landfills.

Primary Colors : Red, Blue and Yellow; the three colors from which all other colors are made.

Quarter Cut : A wood-cutting technique in which quartered sections of a log are sliced with a blade at an angle of approximately 90° to the growth rings of the log. This produces a series of stripes or bands, either straight or varied, depending on the wood used.

Railroading : The application of a fabric on furniture or walls so that the warp runs horizontally. The term comes from railroad tracks, with the selvages representing the long rails, and the ties representing the width of the fabric. Also called Warp Horizontal.

Ravel : The deconstruction or a woven or knitted textile; this can be caused by wear that makes the threads of the fabric separate or pull away from each other.

Raveling : The separation of yarns at the cut edge of a fabric.

Rayon : A manufactured fiber made in a wide range of types. It is used sparingly in the contract industry because of poor flammability ratings.

Resilience : The ability of a fabric to return to its original size or shape after being crushed or stretched. This also refers to the elasticity of the fabric.

Rotary Sliced : A wood-cutting technique in which a whole log is turned against a blade that cuts around the circumference and, in effect, unrolls the wood from the log. This creates a variegated grain pattern. Rotary-cut veneers are unusually wide.

Seam Slippage : The pulling apart of sewn seams due to loose fabric construction or weak yarns.

Secondary Colors : Colors obtained by mixing two primary colors together. For example, mixing Yellow and Red = Orange, or Yellow and Blue = Green .

Selvage : The narrow, reinforced edge of a fabric that runs parallel to the warp. Fabric width is measured selvage to selvage.

Semi-Aniline Dyed Leather: Leather that has been aniline dyed and then slightly pigmented to ensure color consistency and resistance to liquids. The pigments add not only color, but offer stain and fading protection. (See Aniline Dyed Leather)

Shade : A color to which black has been added, thereby lowering its color value.

Silk : A protein fiber produced in monofilament form by silkworms. Its strength, resilience, and elasticity makes it a popular choice for the contract industry.

Slip-Matching : A veneering technique in which veneer sheets are placed sequentially side-by-side. This results in a series of repeating grain figures of approximately the same width, but the joints do not show a grain match.

Slub : A thick spot in a yarn that may be an aesthetic feature or a defect.

SOL : Statement of Line Card, which shows colorways for a line of fabric, trim colors, laminates, etc. Also known as ‘swatch cards'.

Solution Dyeing : The dyeing of man-made fiber while it is still in the liquid state, before it is extruded. Fabrics made from solution dyed fibers are typically more resistant to fading than other dyeing methods.

Spectrum : The comprehensive range of colors in visible light.

Spinning : The twisting of staple fibers into a single-ply yarn, or the twisting of single-ply yarns into plied yarns.

Standard : The accepted or proprietary color and construction of a particular fabric.

Staple Fiber : A short length of fiber, either natural or man-made, which is spun into yarn.

Stock Dyeing : The dyeing of a fiber before it is spun into yarn.

Sunburst Matching : A veneering technique in which veneer sheets are trimmed into pie-shaped wedges, and the wedges are book-matched in succession. This results in a repeating grain pattern that fans out from a focal point in the center of the veneer surface.

Systems Fabric : Fabrics designed and colored for use on systems panels, tackboards and overhead storage fronts. Also known as ‘vertical fabrics'.

Synthetic Fiber : A man-made fiber that is chemically based. These include acrylic, nylon, polyester, acetate, rayon and glass.

Swatch : A sample of a surface material that is used as a specification tool and/or on presentation boards.

Taber Abrasion Test : A fabric wear abrasion test in which a specimen is rubbed by two abrasive wheels on a revolving platform.

Tempered Glass:  Glass consisting of a single sheet of  glass so treated in the manufacturing process that on fracture, the entire piece cracks immediately into very small, granular pieces.  Tempered is a type of safety glass.

Terratex ®: A term used by Interface Fabrics to describe some of their 100% recycled content fabrics.

Tensile Strength : A fabric's ability to withstand pulling or stretching without breaking.

Texture : The appearance and hand of a fabric based upon its fiber content, weave and construction. Texture can also refer to other finishes such as paint, and the fine ‘orange peel' appearance, or fine grained, matte finish of some coatings.

Thermally Fused Laminate (TFL):  TFL panels  are made by fusing a resin-impregnated sheet of decorative paper directly to a substrate.  Heat and pressure activate the resin in the saturated TFL sheet, creating a cross-linked bond with the substrate.

Tweed : A rough-textured, multi-colored weave of heathered woolen yarn.

Tint : A color to which white has been added, there by raising its color value.

Top Grain Leather: During the tanning process, a hide is split into layers and the top layer is referred to as the 'top grain'. This supple layer is the standard of upholstery leather.

Trim Color : A Haworth description for materials/finishes that finish off the edge of a product, such as painted trim on panels, worksurface edge trim, or seating frame colors.

Twill : A basic weave with a distinct, diagonal line, produced by passing filling yarns over two or more warp yarns in a successive progression, resulting in a distinct diagonal pattern.

Ultra Violet (UV) Stability : The fade-resistance of a textile or finish.

Value : A color's lightness or darkness in relation to black and white. The addition of more black lowers the color value; the addition of white raises the color value.

Vegetable Fiber : Any natural fiber of plant origin, such as cotton or linen.

Vegetable Tanned Leather: Leather that is tanned using vegetable extracts instead of chromium to make leather durable, but biodegradable.

Veneer : A thin wood layer of uniform thickness. Depending on its intended use, it may range in thickness from 1/20” to 1/50”. Veneers provide durability and decorative options for wood furniture.

Veneer Species : Refers to the type of tree from which a veneer is harvested.

Anegré : A veneer with a straight grain pattern and a light color that accepts many finishes. Anegré is a hard, durable wood that resembles natural maple in color, and cherry in strength. Originates in Africa.

Cherry : A veneer with a subtle, fine grain and a smooth appearance. When freshly cut, cherry is cream-colored or pinkish, but the wood color naturally deepens with age to a reddish-brown. Cherry readily accepts stains and may be specified with a variety of finishes. Grown and harvested in the United States.

Mahogany: A veneer with a narrow, ribbon-like grain pattern, and a warm, smooth appearance. Although its natural color range spans from light pink to golden brown, Mahogany is often a rich, red-brown color. Grown primarily in West Africa and Central America.

Maple: A hard, dense veneer with a close-set grain. Ranging in color from creamy white to reddish-brown, Maple is a strong, hard-wearing veneer perfect for wood furniture. Commonly found throughout the United States and Canada.

Oak : A veneer distinguished by its bold grain pattern and textured quality. Oak is a strong hardwood that ranges in color from light tan to deep brown, often displaying pinkish or yellow highlights. Abundantly available in the United States.

Walnut: A veneer offering a variety of grain configurations, including ribbon-like or cathedral patterns. While its natural color ranges from light gray-brown to dark purplish-brown, Walnut veneer can be stained to achieve a wide variety of colors. Walnut provides a strong, resistant veneer appropriate for use in high-quality furniture.

Vinyl Wall Coverings:  Wall coverings which are durable and easily cleaned and generally lower cost.  Vinyl wallcoverings contain polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

Wall Covering:  A flexible sheet of sized paper,  fabric, plastic, usually laminated an printed with a repeat pattern, for pasting on a wall as decoration and protection.

Warp : Refers to the yarns running lengthwise or parallel to the salvage in a fabric. Sometimes referred to as an ‘end' or a ‘woof'.

Warp Horizontal : See ‘Railroading'.

Weaving : The process of making textiles using a loom. Filling (horizontal) threads are run over and under warp (vertical) threads to make a length of woven fabric. Patterns can be created by manipulating the yarns/threads in different sequences.

Weight : Measurement of a textile per linear yard, expressed in ounces.

Wheatboard : An engineered alternative to particleboard, used for work surface substrates. Manufactured from sustainable, annually renewable agricultural fibers such as wheat straw and sunflower hulls, and formaldehyde- and emissions-free synthetic resin.

Wool : A natural protein fiber derived from sheep. It is resilient, dyes easily and beautifully, and is naturally soil- and water-resistant. Commonly used throughout the contract industry.

Woolen : Yarns characterized by bulkiness and softness, created by spinning fibers together using the woolen spinning system.

Worsted : Yarns characterized by smooth surfaces and luster, created by spinning together long fibers using the worsted spinning system.

Woven Wall Coverings:  Textiles which are adapted for use on walls generally with the addition of a backer and a stain repellent treatment.

Wyzenbeek Abrasion Test : Measures a fabric's resilience to abrasion. A fabric specimen is pulled taut and weighted while being abraded with a rotation cylinder covered with a wire screen or cotton duck.

Yarn : Fibers twisted (plied) into a single, continuous thread. Can be man-made or natural.

Yarn Dyeing : The dyeing of yarns before weaving, which makes it possible to create multicolored textiles.