Hardwood Dining Table and Chairs | Cherry
This hardwood dining table, buffet and chair set is made of American black cherry wood.  Mortise and tenon joints are used as well as dovetails in the drawers of the buffet.

Shopping for top quality hardwood furniture? We encourage customers to take their time and learn to enjoy the details that make fine wood furniture an heirloom you family will cherish for generations. This short guide tells you what to look for in your fine wood furniture, including types of hardwoods, joinery and finishes.

America’s Top Hardwood Choices for Fine Furniture

The American Hardwood Information Center lists 23 different species of American hardwoods including alder, ash, aspen, basswood, beech, cottonwood, hickory, sassafras and elm.  The following are time tested favorites for American made hardwood furniture.

American Black Cherry

Cherry wood is a reddish brown hardwood with a smooth, fine grain.  It’s perhaps the most prized furniture hardwood in America. People are often surprised to learn that natural cherry wood furniture changes colors over time– quite a bit actually. It starts out as a light-toned wood and darkens as it is exposed to light.

Top Quality Hardwoods include American Cherry, Maple, Walnut, Oak
These top quality hardwoods are favorites in the world of American made furniture: Cherry, Maple, Walnut and Oak.

Sugar or Hard Maple

Sugar Maple Wood (aka: hard maple) is usually light reddish brown in the center or heartwood but sometimes considerably darker (dark maple is often mistaken for cherry wood). Maple sapwood is typically white with a slight reddish-brown tinge. Maple is heavy, strong, stiff, hard, and resistant to shock.  It has a fine, uniform texture with generally straight grain, but variations such as curly, wavy, rippled, birdseye, tiger, flame or fiddleback grain occur and are often selected for specialty custom artisan furniture.

Oak

Oak has been the wood of choice for many of America’s most beloved mission and craftsman-style furniture makers, like Gustav Stickley, Greene and Greene and Frank Lloyd Wright.  Oak is a solid, sturdy and very durable hardwood with generally uniform coarse texture and prominent rays in the grain.  Oak wood may darken slightly over time, taking on more amber tones however the change is very subtle, unlike the significant color change with cherry wood.

Black walnut is North America's only chocolate brown hardwood
This hardwood bed, night stand and chest set is made of black walnut wood.  Black walnut is North America’s only chocolate brown hardwood.  It’s relatively rare and typically carries a 20-40% price premium.

American Black Walnut

Black walnut wood is the only dark North American wood. It’s prized by woodworkers for it’s strength, grain and color which is a rich chocolate brown– with occasional purple tones. There are over 20 species of walnut trees but it is the Eastern Black Walnut tree (aka: American Walnut) that is native to North America and is used for our American made walnut furniture.

If real top quality American hardwoods are important to you, be aware that imposters are everywhere.  Much of the “maple”, “walnut”, “oak” and “real cherry furniture” on the market today is actually made from cheaper woods like rubberwood, poplar, alder or other fast-growing wood alternatives.  They are often illegally clear-cut from the world’s rapidly disappearing rainforests, then bleached, texturized and stained to look like American hardwoods. When considering a purchase of wood furniture from large  “American furniture companies” like Bassett, Broyhill, Lane, Lazy Boy, Kincaid, Ethan Allan, Thomasville, Pennsylvania House, Drexel, Heritage, American Drew and Pottery Barn– be sure to ask what the wood species is and where it was grown.  You may be surprised by the response.

If you’re in the market for solid hardwood furniture, what’s your favorite wood?  Let us know on Facebook or in the comments section below.

Next up: Quality Hardwood Furniture Buyers Guide, Part II: all about fine furniture finishes, joinery & solid wood vs veneers.

 

 

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

In Stock Furniture
A representation of the beautifully crafted furniture available for quick ship at Stonehurst.

Shopping for custom crafted wood furniture can be a long process. From the decision making about sizes, stains, and all of the other options that go into our furniture, to the time to actually make and deliver the furniture–the process can take several months. While the wait is well worth it (considering the furniture was made just for you by an expert craftsmen), if you’re in a hurry for something beautiful, our in stock furniture is the perfect option.

The furniture pieces available in stock reflect our our current inventory at Stonehurst, our Vernon, VT furniture gallery. We strive to have representative works from all the Vermont workshops we carry. Showroom pieces are available as cash and carry or they can be shipped to your home (shipping charges may apply! The in stock furniture available at Stonehurst represents all four rooms (bedroom, dining room, home office, and living room) plus a great selection of outdoor furniture.

Our in stock furniture pieces are just as beautiful and well made as the rest of our furniture available online, and we’d love for you to make the visit to Stonehurst to see it yourself, take pictures, and experience it’s beauty and quality before you buy.

If you’re looking for something quick and not custom, feel free to browse our in stock furniture items and find something you love.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Hundreds of Solid Wood Beds with Unique Features; Which Bed Style is Best For Your Bedroom?

We have over 70 beds in our online gallery with countless option choices. This gives our customers the ability to customize their bed to fit their bedroom style!  The heart of a bedroom is, of course, the bed. No matter it’s style, size, age, or wood type– the framework consisting of a headboard, foot board, rails and slats is the absolute foundation of your dream bedroom. Let our guide help you choose a bed style that is right for your space: 

Slat Beds

Slat beds have wide wood boards (slats) that are evenly spaced on the headboard and footboard. The straight slats make clean lines, creating a traditional style bed. Slat boards paired with subtle curves (as seen on the Patti Smith Wide-Slat Bed shown below) gives the bed an artistic flair.

Slat Bed Style
Bennington High Footboard Bed (left) and Patti Smith Wide-Slat Bed (right) are two examples of the beds with slatted headboards or footboards in our online gallery.

Spindle Beds

Spindle beds can be identified by the thin pieces of wood evenly spaced on the headboard and footboard. Our online gallery features spindle beds that have footboards, and spindle beds without footboards. The spindles create a light, airy look to the bed. It is a great option for people who love the minimalistic look, but want a little bit of the arts and crafts style too. Spindle beds work both in contemporary and traditional homes.

Spindle Bed Style
The American Grand Mission Bed (left) and the Modern Shaker High Footboard Bed (right) are examples of spindle beds.

Platform Beds

Platform beds have a low profile because there is no need for a box spring. Stylistically, platform beds are extremely minimalistic. These modern beds have simple headboards, and most platform beds do not have footboards. These beds are perfect for a contemporary or modern home.

Platform Bed Styles
The Vergennes Platform Bed (left) and the Contemporary Craftsman Platform Bed (right) are examples of platform beds.

Sleigh Beds

Sleigh beds are named exactly for how they look- like a sleigh. They are identified by the elegant slanted headboard and footboard. Our online gallery has modern sleigh beds, like the Castleton Incline Sleigh Bed and the Copeland Sarah Sleigh Beds. More traditional sleigh bed styles in our gallery include the Vermont Shaker Sleigh Bed and the Classic Sleigh Bed. The difference between our modern and our traditional sleigh beds is that the traditional sleigh beds have more dramatic curves.

Sleigh Bed Styles
The Classic Sleigh Bed (left) and the Castleton Incline Sleigh Bed (right) are examples of sleigh beds.

Panel Beds

Panel beds are sturdily constructed, and feature a robust styled look. Our online gallery features two types of panel beds: flat panel and raised panel. The flat panel beds feature level wood panels on the headboard and footboard. Raised panel beds feature headboards and footboards with beveled panels, creating a more 3-dimensional look. These traditional style beds are perfect for those who enjoy solid headboards and footboards.

Panel Bed Styles
We feature two types of panel beds in our online gallery: flat panel and raised panel. The Cherry Moon Panel Bed (left) is an example of a flat panel bed, and the New England Shaker Bed (right) is an example of a raised panel bed.

Poster Beds

Poster beds are identified by their distinct tall columns, and in history have been associated with royalty or wealth. We have two different four-poster beds in our online gallery: Renfrew Pencil Post Bed and  Vermont Shaker Four Poster Bed. The Renfrew features slender, fluted posts that can be connected by a fabric canopy. The Vermont Shaker features clean lines with a canopy frame. The frame, unlike the Renfrew, is connected at the top. Poster beds are perfect for Colonial homes.

Poster Bed Styles
The Vermont Shaker Four Poster Bed (left) and the Renfrew Pencil Post Bed (right) are examples of poster beds.

Storage Beds

Beds with storage offer convenient, inconspicuous storage. The under bed storage can save some floor space in your bedroom by eliminating a dresser or chest, or the extra storage can free up a portion of your jam-packed closet. We covered storage beds in more detail in a previous blog post.

Copeland Storage Bed Styles
The Copeland Moduluxe Storage Bed and the Copeland Monterey Storage Bed are two examples of beds with storage.

Which of these beautiful solid wood bed styles fits your bedroom? Personally, I love storage beds! Let us know in the comments section or send us a tweet!

Love what you saw in this blog? Browse dozens more beds!

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

addams-family-3

Our POLYWOOD Nautical Bench: Furniture, Stage Prop, or Newest Member of the Addams Family?

The versatility of our POLYWOOD furniture was shown in a recent local theater production. Our Nautical park bench took a supporting role in a production of The Addams Family musical presented by Ja’Duke Productions at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls, MA. The Addams Family is a dark, humorous show that highlights the ghoulish Addams family and their ancestors (one of which was played by our very own Michelle Rooks)!

In the play, a huge house was built where the Addams family tree had been planted to protect the ancestral graves from annoyances such as sunlight and tourists. The Addams Family, including Gomez, Morticia, Fester, Grandma, Wednesday, Pugsley and Lurch (played by Michelle’s husband Chris) have gathered at the family graveyard to celebrate life and death in a yearly ritual to connect with their past. Little does the family know, daughter Wednesday has grown up and wishes to marry the very normal Lucas Beineke. The two families meet over dinner. Chaos ensues and the climax of the show has Morticia leaving her family. Gomez finds her at the train station…seated upon the POLYWOOD bench. Love triumphs and the family is reunited.

Post-production the bench now serves as outdoor seating at the Ja’Duke Center for the Performing Arts in Turners Falls.

 

Addams-Family-Bench
5 Points if you can spot Michelle!

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Modern Craftsman furniture, handmade in Vermont. Quality USA made!
Vermont is America’s last great bastion of consummate craftsmanship. The Green Mountain state boasts over 2000 small furniture making companies. They’re keeping the spirit of American craft alive! Commission Vermont made furniture from one of the masters in The Guild and you’ll enjoy your investment everyday as it’s value appreciates over time.

New flash: the stock market’s volatile and the price of gold just took another tumble.  Here’s an idea… invest a portion of your money in something you can literally appreciate every day:  handmade Craftsman Furniture!  I was looking on the Stickley Museum website this morning and noticed that Gustav Stickley’s “Columbus Ave Sideboard” which he crafted in 1900 for his own home was sold by Stickley’s heirs to Barbara Streisand in 1988 for $363,000. Eleven years later, Barbara re-sold the sideboard to an un-named buyer at a Christie’s auction for $596,500.  $233,500 in appreciation just over 10 years– that’s not a bad rate of appreciation is it?

Bedroom furniture: Craftsman and Shaker style. Made in Vermont, USA
It’s not Gustav Stickley and it’s not going to sell for half a million dollars at Christies.  But it is high quality, solid cherry wood furniture, made in the USA by Vermont craftsmen and women.  And it’s guaranteed for a lifetime of service.

The Stickley museum website highlights other antique arts & crafts, mission and craftsman furniture pieces that have shown tremendous appreciation in value, including:

Now… original antique furniture is not for everyone.  Most of us would probably prefer to have beautiful, high quality furniture that we’re not afraid to use.  Which brings me to Vermont.  It is America’s last great bastion of consummate craftsmanship.  The Green Mountain state boasts over 2000 small furniture making companies.  The cream of the crop are members of an elite association of master level furniture makers, The Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers.  Tomorrow’s antiques can be commissioned from Guild members today, with a good bit of certainty that their value will increase over time.  Check out The Guild’s website and visit one of their shows or tour their workshops for an up close and personal view of truly fine craftsmanship.

Mission Style Buffet Sideboard
This Vermont made Mission style buffet & sideboard, is handcrafted of real solid cherry wood and guaranteed to last a lifetime.

We have a selection of craftsman furniture for sale at Stonehurst, our furniture and home decor showroom and we can also help you map out a tour of Guild members studios, focusing on those best suited to the type of furniture you’re looking for.

When you invest your money in tomorrow’s Vermont made antiques, you are also investing in American jobs and in the future of American craft.  What other kind of investment could give you this kind of appreciation?

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.