Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions


   1. Why is the company called aegistra?


   2. What are your benches made of?

   3. What should I do about Ground Fixings for benches?

   4. How long will my bench last?

   5. How should I care for my bench?

   6. What should I do about positioning and fixing my bench?

   7. What can I do if the bench is damaged?


   8. What are your chairs made of?

   9. How long will my chair last?

   10. How should I care for my chair?

   11.  Which chair should I choose?

   12. How can I move my chair to avoid damaging it? 


   13. What are your tables made of?

   14. How long will my table last?

   15. How should I care for my table?

   16. How can I move my table to avoid damaging it?

FSC & Sustainability

    17. What is the Forestry Stewardship Council?

    18. Can I ask for FSC certification?

    19. What is aegistra’s policy on sustainability?


1. Why is the company called aegistra?

An aegis (pronounced “e-gis”), from Greek mythology, is a shield or cape worn in ancient times to display the protection provided by a high, often religious authority. The wearing of the aegis and its contents show sponsorship, protection, or authority derived from yet a higher source or deity. The name has been extended to many other entities, and the concept of a protective shield is found in other mythologies, while its form varies across sources.

The concept of doing something "under someone's aegis" now means doing something under the protection of a powerful, knowledgeable, or benevolent source. The word aegis is identified with protection by a strong force with its roots in Greek mythology and adopted by the Romans; there are parallels in Norse mythology and in Egyptian mythology as well, where the Greek word aegis is applied by extension.

We want you to feel that working with aegistra means working with a trusted, knowledgeable source - furniture pieces hand-picked by experts with years of experience of working with architects, interior designers and project managers, a through understanding of logistics, delivery and installation of furniture for business. And, by enabling you to shop on-line, we can share the savings of reduced sales cost provided by aegistra’s Internet channel.


2. What are your benches made of? 

The Wales & Wales Bench range of benches utilises a combination of hardwoods (primarily European oak and Iroko) for seat and back slats, cast aluminium for leg sections, and for small or special components, stainless steel. Metal components are usually powder-coated with cellulose enamel similar to that used on cars. 

Bins are constructed in sheet stainless steel with galvanised mild steel liners; both liner and outer shell are normally finished with powder-coat enamel. Occasionally, however, the stainless steel outer bin is specified in either polished or brushed stainless steel. 

Metal components

Chico is the only all timber bench in the Wales and Wales range. All other designs rely upon metal castings for base, arms and back supports. 

All the castings are made in Aluminium to BS1490 spec. LM6. The components are sand-cast and then powder coated with a cellulose enamel to colour reference RAL9007. Other colours are supplied to special order. 


3. What should I do about Ground Fixings for benches?

Ground Fixing components are required for all benches. 

There are two basic types of fixing kit:

a. We offer stainless steel plates that attach to the underside of the castings or legs and provide bolt holes through which a ground anchor bolt can be fixed (normally a chemically bonded bolt or a Fischer type expansion bolt, both supplied by the site contractor depending on the type of substrate in use). 

b. The second option is in the form of stainless steel spigots, and this is available on request from Luke Hughes and Company. These can be fixed in to a concrete or stone substrate using a bored hole and chemical adhesive. The top ends of the rods pass up into the legs or base castings with concealed locking screws through the sides of the bases. 


4. How long will my bench last? 

As long as the maintenance instructions are followed, our benches will mellow gracefully with age; attempts to treat the surfaces in any other way than those indicated can cause permanent and irreversible damage. If the instructions are followed the furniture will give many years of trouble-free service.


All woods are photo-sensitive and are expected to change shade in the first twelve months or so.


Iroko is a close-grained strong stable timber with a reddish appearance. Exterior longevity is in the region of 25 years plus, however, this timber has not achieved FSC accreditation yet. The timber generally shows little detrimental effect when exposed to the outdoor elements. 


Jatoba is another durable timber with similar properties to Iroko although a little darker in colour. This timber is available from legally sustainable sources with FSC or equivalent certification. 


European Oak is a traditional coarse-grained timber with great strength. Exterior longevity is around 15 to 25 years. When exposed to the elements ‘checking’ can occur to the surface of the timber (opening and closing of the grain), this is a natural process caused by changes in the weather and does not affect the structural integrity of the timber. Checking may appear almost as soon as the furniture is put outside and will stabilize over the first few years. Using prime grade fully seasoned wood in sensible sized (not overly large) sections ensures checking is reduced to a minimum. 


5. How should I care for my bench?

Due to the simple design and construction of the benches and their rugged nature, maintenance is a very simple process. Regular cleaning with a mild detergent and warm water is recommended. Where severe marking has occurred, as a result, for example, of vandalism, a jet washer can be used. 

Solvents, chemical cleaners and abrasives should be avoided. 

If the timber components were originally specified with a finish then light sanding and re-oiling with proprietary teak or Danish oil should be carried out annually in the summer months when the components are completely dry. 

The metal components are made from corrosion resistant aluminium and are very durable needing little in the way of maintenance other than occasional cleaning as described above. 

Caring for Timber Finishes & Tannin Leaching

Oak, Iroko and Jatoba in the majority of cases are supplied in their natural state without lacquers or varnishes, the end grains of the timber sections are simply waxed to avoid the ingress of moisture.

The timbers are naturally durable due partly to the tannic acid in the wood. For the first few months new timber is left out in the elements, rainwater may cause the tannin to leach from the wood, which can sometimes mark pale stone paving beneath the bench, and cause temporary watermarks on the wood itself.

If staining to paving does occur, after a year or so it will be bleached out by the effects of the sun and rain, but for quick removal a proprietary stone cleaning agent can be used such as Hagesan Patio Cleaner from HG System:

Finishing with a lacquer (Sikkens or similar) will reduce the effects of tannin leaching from the timber, but adds substantially to the cost of ownership as most sealant type products require re-applying annually, it will also prevent the timber from weathering naturally.

In most cases if a surface finish is required we only recommend the use of proprietary Teak Oil or Danish Oil.

Caring for metal components

Apart from the occasional wipe with a duster, stainless steel needs no cleaning, nor does anodised aluminium or powder-coated mild-steel.


6. What should I do about positioning and fixing my bench?

Most damage is likely to occur to furniture when it is in transit or being positioned, and so care is needed when handling benches and locating them into their final positions.

Generally speaking 2 people can move a bench, but particular care should be taken with benches in the larger sizes and it may be beneficial to use a purpose-made trolley.

The benches are delivered to site fully assembled and it is important that the units are not dropped as this may damage the cast leg sections. Chipping or scratching will occur to the metal finishes if allowed to come into contact with abrasive or sharp objects. 

Benches should be secured down with either Fischer type expansion bolts or chemically bonded bolts.

Where Ground Fixing rods are being used the foundation should be laid (concrete/asphalt or paving), holes should then be bored (slightly oversize to allow some tolerance), and then the rods fixed into position using a suitable chemical adhesive compound.

It is imperative that the holes are bored into the substrate perpendicular to the ground surface and that the rods are attached to the bench before they are bonded into the holes. It is advisable to leave the drilling of these holes until the bench is delivered so that it can be used to check that the setting out is correct. An installation guide is available.


7. What can I do if the Bench is damaged?

If damage does occur to a bench, most components are easily repaired or replaced, for example individual bench slats can be renewed, and it is usually possible to re-finish or replace the metal components. 

For service issues please contact us.


8. What are your chairs made of?

Timber Chairs

Timber chairs are normally made in oak or beech; staining is optional.

Flame Retardancy

Combustion Modified High Resilient (CMHR) foams are standard, so that the chairs meet BS 5852 Part 2 Ignition Source 5 and BS 7176 (Medium Hazard) for contract furniture.

Section being updated.


9. How long will my chair last?

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10. How should I care for my chair?


Virtually all consumer complaints with upholstery leather arise through well-intentioned but improper over enthusiatic cleaning.

The principal cause of deterioration is dust worked into the pores.

For regular cleaning, simply vacuum and take a soft cloth, wring it out in a warm, mild, soap solution (but not detergent); wipe the leather using a light circular motion taking care not to soak the leather; repeat using clean water.

Do not attempt to 'feed' upholstery leather in any way; spray polishes, saddle soaps, waxes and so-called 'hide foods' may create a sticky surface attracting dirt and causing irreversible damage.

Wool Fabrics

As a rough guide:

Weekly vacuuming greatly extends the life of wool fabric.

Annual cleaning can also help; in the absence of professional help, use only reputable brands of upholstery shampoo and be sure to test the solution on an inconspicuous part; never use soap, ammonia, bleach or other cleaners intended for hard surfaces.

Spots and stains - Act quickly! Most will vanish if they are treated immediately and not allowed to dry in. Mop up excess liquid with white absorbent tissues or a clean cloth; scoop up solids with a spoon or blade of a knife. Use small amounts of cleaning fluid at a time and blot between each application; avoid pressing liquid through the fabric.


11. Which chair should I choose?

While our chairs can be used in many different settings, it is helpful to know how other people have used them to help decide which chair is best suited for your purpose:

Academy: Council chamber, Dining room, Ecclesiastical, Lecture halls, Seminar room

Downing: (side) Council chamber, Dining room, Library, Desk, Meeting room, Seminar room

Downing: (stacking) Cafeteria, Dining halls, Dining room, Lecture hall, Seminar room

Fitzroy: Easy chair

Napoleon: Dining room

St Hugh’s: Boardroom, Council Chamber, Dining hall, Dining room, Library Desk, Meeting room Seminar room

St Swithin’s: Dining room, Meeting room


We supply chairs in both Beech and in European Oak. If you need your chairs to last a very long time (e.g. more than 15 years), then European Oak is likely to provide better value for money.


12. How can I move my chair to avoid damaging it?

Most damage occurs to furniture when it is moved, so:

Beware dragging chairs; they should be lifted clear of the floor.

Avoid dropping the corners of chairs onto the floor and beware door architraves when moving furniture from room to room.

Purpose made trolleys and storage racks greatly help extend the life of chairs that are moved regularly.


13. What are your tables made of?

 Section being updated.


14. How long will my table last?

 Section being updated.


15. How should I care for my table? 

Wood and lacquered surfaces

a) Protection: 

Table tops are resistant to but not proof against moderate heat and limited exposure to alcohol.

Heat - Tables should be protected from hot, damp items (such as the unglazed bottoms of coffee cups). Keep the furniture out of direct sunlight, the colours of all timbers will mellow with time and exposure to UV, but it is wise to periodically move desk accessories to allow equal exposure.

Alcohol - Alcohol is a solvent; it is imperative not to leave the surfaces exposed to it for long periods.

Vinyl Compounds - Prolonged contact with vinyl compounds (such as a polythene-covered ring binder left in the sun on a table-top or bookshelf) may also react with the lacquer (since we use acid-catalysed lacquer when we use finish for furniture).

b) Cleaning

The only cleaning necessary is a wipe with a slightly damp cloth followed by a soft, dry duster.

For more stubborn marks (in the lacquer and which have not affected the timber below), rub in the direction of the wood grain with a soft cloth and small quantities of either hot water and vinegar, soap and warm water, or industrial alcohol; another polishers’ trick is to use ‘0000’ wire-wool (but nothing coarser than this).

Spillages, especially of alcohol, should be wiped immediately with a damp cloth and should never be left for long periods or overnight.

Do not use abrasive cleaners; they will scratch the surface.

BEWARE of silicon spray polishes, such as ‘Mr Sheen’! These build up an unsightly film and will react with the lacquer and cause irreparable damage; the only remedial action is to strip the whole top and re-spray - even then, the results are unpredictable.

Glass tops

Proprietary glass cleaning fluids are most suitable but avoid contact with the wood or lacquered surface.

Metal components

For brass and other non-ferrous metals a proprietary cleaner is ideal, but avoid contact with the wood or lacquered surface. Apart from the occasional wipe with a duster, stainless steel needs no cleaning, nor does anodised aluminium or powder-coated mild-steel.


16. How can I move my table to avoid damaging it?

Most damage occurs to furniture when it is moved, so:

Beware dragging your table; it should be lifted clear of the floor.

Disconnect the sections of large tables and lift the tops clear of their bases.

Ensure handling of folding leg tables is done by two people and that the table is turned upside down on a carpeted floor or protective blanket before dismantling.

Avoid dropping the corners of tables onto the floor and beware door architraves when moving furniture from room to room.

Purpose made trolleys and storage racks greatly help extend the life of tables that are moved regularly.


17. What is the Forestry Stewardship Council ?

Many organisations are now implementing timber specification policies, to ensure that all timber specifiers within an organisation are clear about what timber is acceptable for use.

The following is a sample policy from the FSC website. It could be adapted for use in different areas:

“Forest management can be environmentally appropriate and socially beneficial, but it can also be environmentally and socially damaging. This policy recognises the responsibility of this organisation as a consumer of forest products to ensure that we have a neutral or positive effect on the worlds’ forests.

We will give preference to timber and timber products that have been independently certified by a credible, globally applicable forest certification scheme and can demonstrate that the products are derived from well-managed sources. 

The following criteria must be met within the certification scheme: recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights, longterm economic viability, protection of biodiversity, conservation of ancient woodland, long-term responsible management, regular monitoring and chain of custody, showing the timber (tropical, temperate or boreal, hardwood or softwood) or timber product is from a credible, responsible source.

If independently certified timber proves to be unavailable, contractors will, as a second resort only, use timber from a known source, and will attempt to gain as much assurance as possible that the forest is well-managed and will provide documentation of proof. Documentation must be provided to prove that every attempt has been made to obtain certified sources before exploring alternatives - flexibility in terms of species specification should be pursued.

Under EU procurement legislation, you may not specify a named certification scheme exclusively, but you can ask for specific criteria such as those listed above to be met. This does not apply to the private sector, where you may be as specific as you like."


18. Can I ask for FSC certification?

European Oak can be supplied with FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) accreditation or equivalent verification that the timber has been obtained from sustainable sources. 


19. What is aegistra’s policy on sustainability?

Every company working with timber has a simple duty to recognise and contribute to the protection and conservation of the world's forests. This is both a profound moral duty, protecting one of the earth's global resources, and simple enlightened self-interest - no forests, no trees, no timber business.

Yet using timber does not automatically lead to deforestation or environmental damage. First, forests can be - and are being - well-managed to achieve both trees grown for logging and trees re-planted for the future. Remember, timber is one of the very few renewable resources. In addition, in many countries, the loss of forests is caused by economic development or agriculture. The forests are seen to have little value so they are destroyed and the land cleared. Using these trees gives them a value. 

Finally, what are the alternatives? Plastics, metals, concrete - all the alternatives have major environmental consequences and, as research is proving, on a true 'whole life' basis, timber is one of the greenest materials of choice.