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Outdoor Furniture Story

Our founder began his entrepreneurial career in 1985 by purchasing home recreation retail stores. By 1996, the growth of the stores and his desire to improve the quality and style of the products that the marketplace had to offer, led him into manufacturing. As a raw material manufacturer, our team designed, engineered and built from scratch many of the finest game room furniture pieces the world has to offer. Quality was paramount in our quest to succeed from the very beginning and we felt that it all started in the design and engineering stages to ensure that the furniture would be built to stand the test of time.

The greatest challenge in manufacturing is the quality execution of the process from start to finish. We followed a few simple rules to help ensure the process could succeed;

  1. Select only the finest raw materials
  2. Gather a team of skilled artisans that take great pride in their work.
  3. Provide the artisans the tools they need to succeed in building the furniture the “old-fashioned” way, with great attention to detail.

Our team’s commitment to our core beliefs quickly made our brand, American Heritage Billiards®, the world’s largest game room furniture manufacturer which enabled us to expand our resources globally to specialized artisans that further enhance our opportunities for greater quality, detail and style.

The entrepreneurial spirit of the team gave birth to a new vision in creating a unique retail experience to enhance consumer’s lives by providing greater inspiration to gather more often in homes with families and friends. To build memories with those we cherish and share more quality time with the ones we love. And so the concept of GreatGatherings® was born in 2005. By 2008 the dream had become a reality in Washington, D.C. with the opening of the new GreatGatherings® retail stores.

As direct-to-consumer manufacturers, we at GreatGatherings® feel a tremendous obligation to continue to design and build only the very finest of furniture. We take great pride in evolving our styles and designs to today’s consumer’s tastes and trends to create a truly unique outdoor/indoor entertaining experience while never sacrificing the foundation of quality of which our company was built upon. All of our outdoor furniture is designed and engineered to withstand the harsh elements of Mother Nature. Like all of the furniture we build, it begins with the selection of the finest raw materials. We have the finest specialized artisans in the world create every piece of furniture with the greatest attention to detail every step of the way. We then provide them with a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility to utilize…..the very same philosophy we have manufactured by for more than 20 years.

Please feel free to read more about our manufacturing philosophy to get to know us a little better.

take a seat and relax

We have utilized our vast experience in manufacturing millions of chairs and stools over the last 20 years to make our outdoor furniture feel as comfortable as the furniture inside your home. We pay special attention to the ergonomics of each chair, specifically the comfort of the seat buckets and the incline and the curvature of the chair back. So please be sure to take a seat in what we believe to be the most comfortable chairs you’ll find and be prepared to make your next Great Gathering the best ever. As you relax, you read more about what makes us unique as a manufacturer.

HOW IT ALL BEGINS

Our designs start with a sketch inspired by furniture or architecture from around the world, created by incredible artisans that have left their mark in time over the course of centuries. From there, one of our CAD specialists brings the sketch to life in the form of a 3-D CAD drawing.  The CAD then gets tweaked relentlessly by our designers and engineers until all parties believe they have achieved what they were looking for in the design. 

The CAD drawing, as scientific as it is, is then interpreted into art. Once the engineered drawing is printed into a full scale pattern, an Artisan carves each individual component by hand, out of wood, to match the original drawing. Each carved component is then masterfully assembled to create an exact, full-scale replica of the chair or table. Once the replica is complete, the design and engineering team jumps back in to make all of the required adjustments to achieve the originally planned visual appeal, comfort, strength and scale of the furniture. Every detail is scrutinized. The model is filled, re-carved, sanded and re-built until every last detail is deemed to be perfect. Then the furniture is deconstructed in order to make the initial casting of the first sample utilizing the wooden carvings.

Our designers, engineers and artisans work in harmony to ensure every final adjustment is made to the furniture prior to creating the permanent molds required for production. Production molds are typically referred to as “match plates” and they are made from steel or resin. The match plates are pressed into silica sand molds (resembling two sand boxes), then lifted, leaving a perfect reference in relief. These “reliefs”, or cavities, are refined in preparation for the casting, covered with talcum powder, and put back together.  (There are two sides to the sand molds and the talcum powder keeps them from sticking together when matched back up.) We’re now ready for the aluminum. 

WHEN YOUR GOAL IS TO CREATE THE FINEST OUTDOOR FURNITURE AVAILABLE IN THE WORLD, YOU MUST FIRST BEGIN WITH THE FINEST OF RAW MATERIALS.

The selection of raw materials is critical to yielding products that meet the high quality standards GreatGatherings® has established and relentlessly enforces.

We have selected A356 Aluminum Alloy as our raw material of choice for all of our cast aluminum collections. This specific material is paramount in creating top-quality Cast Aluminum outdoor furniture. Cast aluminum is without a doubt one of the finest raw materials available today for manufacturing high- quality outdoor furniture for a number of reasons:

  • It can be used to create intricate detailing options, enabling the furniture to be designed with a dynamic, yet elegant style and feel.
  • It does not rust so it is virtually maintenance free; no more orange rust stains on your patio!
  • It is light-weight but still very durable. Cast aluminum pieces are substantial enough to withstand high-wind weather conditions, yet light enough to be moved easily when entertaining.
  • Because of its ability to dissipate heat, aluminum is cooler to sit on than iron. (Aluminum is used in cooling fins on everything from computer hardware to automobiles.)
  • It is environmentally safe. Aluminum is one of the few raw materials that can be 100% recycled without losing any of its original properties.
  • Its weight-to-strength ratio is remarkable, allowing us to create solid castings with high levels of detail without making the piece too heavy to be handled on a daily basis.

LET’S CAST A CHAIR

Once our molds are prepared, our A356 aluminum alloy is heated to molten temperatures and poured into the mold cavities and left to cool and harden. Once the aluminum hardens, the molds are separated and the aluminum pieces are removed, cleaned and trimmed. Each piece is then filed and diligently sanded by our artisans to remove any blemishes created from the casting process.  Next, all of the casted parts are loaded into a precision engineered jig to be welded together into a single chair frame.  This jig ensures that once welded, every chair is exactly the same. The chair is then removed from the jig and all welds are meticulously inspected and tested for strength.  All weld points are then filed and sanded smooth to complete the chairs preparation for its final process.

OUR PAINT FINISH

The last step of the manufacturing process is the just as important as the first step! 

The finish gives the furniture its beauty while at the same time; it protects the aluminum from the elements. In preparation for the finish, the furniture is sandblasted to “etch” the aluminum, which allows for maximum adhesion of the basecoat. We now begin the “G-Pure” process (Purification Process).

Once sand-blasted, each piece of furniture travels on an automated conveyer belt through 9 different, proprietary, pre-wash baths that clean, etch, and rinse the furniture to remove all impurities from the manufacturing process and human handling. The conveyor then moves the frames through an oven for preheat prior to the painting process. From the oven, the furniture continues its automated travel into the powder-coating booths, where “G-1000” (a specially formulated polyester powder) is sprayed onto the frames to become the finish basecoat.  Powder-coating is an electrostatic process, which requires the frame and the powder to be charged with opposite charges.  In this case, the furniture is charged negatively while positively-charged polyester powder is sprayed on the furniture.  The two opposite charges attract each other and cause the powder to evenly cling to the frame; covering every detail on the piece. Once the powder has been applied, the furniture travels back through the oven for the second time to cure the powder and permanently bond it to the frame.

Once the base paint has cured and cooled, the furniture moves to the hand-finishing department where it receives a second, third and sometimes fourth or fifth coat of paint depending on the final finish color.  These coats help create the unique look and style of the furniture and are all hand-applied by our artisans. Each individual coat can take as long as 45-60 minutes to apply, so our multi-color finishes take hours to achieve. But as you can see, it is time well-spent.

The finishing touch…

The final finish coat of the paint process achieves the luster, feel and durability associated with all “GG” furniture finishes. Our final protective finish coat is an ultra-violet inhibiting clear coat capable of withstanding wide temperature and precipitation variations, formulated to protect your furniture just like auto manufacturers protect the finish of your car. This final step creates a beautiful finish surface that is very durable and easy to clean so it can be enjoyed for years of GreatGatherings®

Our Fabric Selection

There are many types of fabrics available for use on outdoor furniture, GreatGatherings® cushions are manufactured using only fabrics that meet or exceed industry standards for outdoor use. They are typically solution died acrylics with color fastness that will last for years and years. In fact, the materials are so imbedded with the color (dye) that they can be cleaned with a light bleach/water solution. (See cleaning instructions for more detail later in this document.) This material and process is the same that is used on store awnings and boat canvases throughout the world. It can withstand the harshest of environments and can be easily cleaned to look great year after year if properly maintained.

Thank you for your consideration, we hope you enjoyed our quick journey through our manufacturing process and can now make a more informed decision on your outdoor investment.

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PROTECT YOUR OUTDOOR FURNITURE INVESTMENT PROPERLY

Now that you know what goes into manufacturing GreatGatherings® outdoor furniture, protect it.

Proper Care and Maintenance of you Outdoor Furniture Investment

GreatGatherings® outdoor furniture is manufactured to enhance your outdoor entertaining experience for a very long time. The life and enjoyment of your outdoor furniture can be greatly increased if you use protective furniture covers when the furniture is not in use. We recommend the following simple care and maintenance instructions to protect and add years to your thoughtful investment.

Consider the specific conditions and usage to which your furniture is exposed so appropriate maintenance can be provided. Product failure caused by a lack of reasonable and necessary care and maintenance is not covered by the product warranty. Mildew can form on dirt or other substances deposited upon the frame and fabric. Regular cleaning of your outdoor furniture will help to prevent its forming. Failure to follow these guidelines when cleaning your furniture can potentially void the warranty.

Use of furniture needing care and maintenance or use of damaged furniture can result in injury. Also, minor repair issues can become major repair and service issues, and create potential safety issues.

Periodically and carefully inspect all of your furniture pieces for breakage and/or indications of wear. Inspections must include, but not be limited to, spring assemblies and the weld areas of product seats, arms and legs. If any cracks should appear on the product or at welds, the item must immediately be removed from use until repaired.

Inspections must include all bolts (on all seating pieces and tables). The hardware on swivel rockers, swivel rocking lounge & balcony chairs, and swivel bar & balcony stools should be regularly checked to make sure it is tight. Should any loose or missing hardware be detected, the item must be removed from use immediately until the hardware can be properly tightened and/or replaced.

Adjustable glides on chair and table legs are for residential use only. Take special care to ensure that these glides are not adjusted to more than 3/16 inch of exposed threads as this can cause damage to the glide or leg. Regularly check the glides as they can unscrew when moving products.

Extension table slides should be cleaned regularly. A lubricant such as a silicone spray can also be applied to assist in the smooth operation of the glides.

Painted Finish Maintenance and Care

Painted finishes are used on your cast aluminum seating, tables and fire pits. Periodically clean the finish with a sponge or soft bristle brush using a cleaning solution with 1/4 cup (2 oz.) mild, biodegradable liquid soap in a gallon of lukewarm water (100º F / 38º C). Rinse thoroughly.

Avoid using abrasive cleaners.

For gloss finishes, we recommend periodic waxing of the frame with a high grade automotive liquid wax or the use of a commercially available protectant to help maintain and/or restore the luster of the finish.

Protectants can be purchased at most casual furniture retailers.

Caution: Seaside and or indoor pool area use

In seaside use, salt can accumulate on the finish, leading to finish failure. In indoor pool areas, chlorides can accumulate on the finish, leading to finish failure. In both of these environments, repeated cycles of condensation followed by evaporation cause build-up of these aggressive corrosives. Regular cleaning with mild biodegradable liquid soap and water will remove the concentrated deposits and help protect the furniture finish per the above instructions.

Maintenance and Care of your Fabric

The life of your furniture fabric largely depends on its care. Clean all spills promptly. Fabric life can be extended by simply rinsing down the furniture regularly with water. Certain suntan and sun block products may permanently discolor any fabric. This possibility can be minimized by immediately cleaning

After contact. In addition, storing the cushions when not in use will extend cushion life. Prepare a cleaning solution with 1/4 cup (2 oz.) mild biodegradable liquid soap in a gallon of lukewarm water (no warmer than 100º F / 38º C). Clean fabric with the solution using a sponge or soft bristle brush. Rinse thoroughly with clean water. Allow to air dry. Note: Standing a cushion on its side will help it drain faster.

Caution:

Certain suntan and sun block products contain "PABA". PABA is harmful to fabric and can permanently discolor it; therefore, contact with cushions should be avoided. If contact is made, cleaning the fabric immediately with a non-abrasive, mild biodegradable soap and water solution followed by a fresh water rinse may minimize the possibility of discoloration. Laying a beach towel over the cushions of the outdoor furniture whenever you are using the furniture will prolong the fabric life.

  • Do not use a bleach solution unless specifically listed as a cleaning agent for the specific fabric, such as for solution dyed acrylics.
  • Do not submerge or allow cushions to lie in standing water.
  • Do not put cushions into the dryer.
  • Do not use harsh detergents or stiff bristle brushes.
  • Do not use Pine Oil cleaners or abrasive household cleaners.
  • Do not use heat or hot water.

Mildew may form on dirt or other substances deposited upon the fabric. Regular cleaning of the furniture will help to prevent its forming. If mildew does develop, add 1 cup bleach to the cleaning solution. Apply to the affected area and allow to soak in. Scrub with a soft bristle brush, then rinse thoroughly. Repeat if necessary. For stubborn mildew stains, use a household mildew remover (be sure to test in an inconspicuous location first). AND FOLLOW THE MANUFACTURER’S INSTRUCTIONS.

Great Cleaning Videos to Reference

Dried Blueberry Topping Stains 

Dried Ketchup Stains

Fresh Salad Dressing Stains

Roof Runoff Stains

Salt Residue Stains

Fresh Sunblock Stains 

Dried Chocolate Stains

Dried Red Wine Stains

Sunbrella® videos provided by Glen Raven, Inc., owner of the Sunbrella registered trademark.

Paint Surface Repairs

Please follow these important required steps to prepare your painted frame surfaces for touch up.

Touch-up paint to match the frame color is available directly from GreatGatherings®.

1. Wash the scratched area to remove any dirt or grease.

2. Rinse thoroughly with clean water. Dry.

3. Remove cushions. Protect fabric, frame, and all surface areas that are not to be painted.

4. Sand the scratch lightly to "soften" the edge with fine grit sandpaper so that the touch-up paint will  blend in easily. Sand as small an area as possible so you don’t create additional work.

5. Clean with rubbing alcohol.

Repairing Small Nicks

Follow steps 1 through 5 above and then:

Spray touch-up paint onto a flat plate or dish. Use a small artist's brush to transfer the paint from the plate to the aluminum outdoor furniture.

Repairing Scratches on a Gloss Finish Surface

Follow steps 1 through 5 above and then;

Hold spray can 4 – 6 inches away from surface to be painted. Spray a thin coat and let dry. Spray a second coat and let dry. Repeat until desired coverage is achieved.

Repairing Scratches on a Textured Finish Surface

Follow steps 1 through 5 above and then;

Hold spray can 4 – 6 inches away from surface to be painted. Spray a thin coat and let dry. Spray a second coat and let dry. Repeat until desired coverage is achieved. Do not let the paint fully dry. Wait 3 – 5 minutes for the paint to become tacky. Pat with a damp (not soaking) cloth to create texture (a dry cloth will pick up too much paint). Make sure the damp cloth is lint free.

Proper Winter Storage

The life and enjoyment of your outdoor furniture can be greatly increased if you use protective furniture covers when the furniture is not in use. Do not allow covers to freeze on the furniture as this can damage the finish.

GreatGatherings® furniture is certainly intended to be used outdoors. In milder climates, the furniture can be left outdoors year-round. Each piece has drain holes built into the frame to minimize any water build up inside the frame material.

Caution: Do NOT EVER store frames upside down. If you live in an area that experiences freezing conditions, store your clean and dry GreatGatherings® outdoor furniture right side up in a dry, protected place. Be aware that WATER can collect and/or condense inside the frame components – if exposed to freezing temperatures; this water could freeze causing the frame component to crack or burst. This damage is NOT covered under your warranty.

Fire Pits-Caution of Installation and Use

Fire Pits are designed and intended for outdoor use only. Never install or operate indoors. Burning gas (both Natural and LP) produces fumes which can be dangerous if inhaled. Always insure there is proper ventilation when using any fire products.

Gas fire pits should always be operated by an adult only and with extreme care, especially when lighting the burners. DO NOT light the fire pit burner in the high gas setting. Only light the fire pit in the low gas setting. Place a lit match on the glass stones before turning the gas on.

Never leave this product on when unattended. Educate all persons, including and especially children that may come in contact with this unit of the danger of the high temperatures produced when operating, including surface temperatures. Clothing and other flammable materials should not be placed on or near the fire pit.

GreatGatherings® recommends that all gas products be installed by professionals that are licensed by the local authority having jurisdiction in gas piping. GreatGatherings® recommends that all gas products installed in the USA and Canada be serviced and maintained by professionals that are certified by the National Fireplace Institute (NFI) as NFI Specialist or by the Wood

Energy Technical Training (WETT).

15/3 YEAR LIMITED RESIDENTIAL consumer WARRANTY

Click here for Warranty Details.

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