You walk into a friend’s home and see a beautiful rocking chair or dining room table. But do you ever really stop to think how it was made. In a day and age where so many furnishings are mass produced and quality takes a back seat, to see a handcrafted, solid wood piece of furniture will make you stop and appreciate the time and craft that went into the production of such a fine piece.
One of the finest craftsmen of solid wood furniture is the Amish carpenters. The Amish furniture first took America by storm in the early 1900s. The simple lines and solid construction set the Amish made furniture apart from the elaborate and ornate styles of the late 1800s. They began making furniture out of the need to outfit their homes. With very little contact with the outside world, they relied on themselves to craft furniture that would last for decades.
The Amish community have a few core values that are very apparent in their craftsmanship: simplicity, hard work and harmony with nature. The traditional methods of Amish furniture makers have been passed down through generations. They take pride in their work and never take shortcuts. The Amish do not utilize electricity in their workshops or homes, which makes it even more impressive that they can produce such solid pieces of furniture.
It All Starts With The Wood
Amish craftsmen start by hand selecting each piece of wood that will be used to complete a furniture project. They will only use solid wood and never a wood substitute like particle board or veneers. The most common woods that will be found in their workshops are oak, cherry, hickory and maple. They are extremely particular about the wood that they choose for your furniture. If a piece of wood has too many flaws, it will be rejected. If there are just a few flaws that can be carefully sanded, it will be considered suitable. Careful consideration is given to grain and cracks, as this will determine the overall appearance of the final piece.