August 14th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Because most of our fine furniture is bought online, we’ve written a lot on our website about the natural characteristics of real wood furniture. We don’t want to have any surprises when we deliver your furniture. Wood is organic. Just as each tree in the forest is unique, so is each board in your furniture. As our friend, woodworker Greg Goodman says, “wood is like people. What makes it interesting is it’s flaws”.
Different styles of furniture require different types and grades of wood. For example if you were buying Shaker furniture or Craftsman furniture, you would rightly be expecting the highest quality wood with minimal character or “flaws”.
But if you were shopping for a live edge, claro walnut table, for example– like this gorgeous one made by Dan Mosheim of Dorset Custom Furniture you would be expecting plenty of organic characteristics. Have a look at Dan’s blog and you’ll see how an artful eye, combined with detailed knowledge of wood grain, shrink, swell and overall movement can transform a rustic “old” slab of wood into an elegant dining table fit for a king.
Turth is– the value of handcrafted real wood furniture is not just in the wood, but also in the craftsmanship. A less experienced craftsman could have taken this same slab of wood and created a table that looked “flawed” and also performed poorly. At Vermont Woods Studios we design all of our furniture to last a lifetime. It’s a thing woodworkers have. If the tree took a lifetime to grow (this walnut tree was probably at least 100 years old at harvest), then the furniture should last equally as long.
I think what sets Vermont’s furniture artisans apart from others around the world is their reputation for excellence in both style and craftsmanship. At Dan Mosheim’s workshop and other custom furniture makers throughout Vermont you’ll find experts who understand the characteristics and “flaws” of wood and design their furniture to leverage the best the wood has to offer– whether it’s a refined Shaker piece or an organic live edge table.
Want to see Vermont woodworking and meet furniture artisans in person? Put September 28-29 on your calendar– the 10th Annual Vermont Fine Furniture Festival is just around the corner! Details coming soon.
Interested in the mechanics of wood movement? Brian Boggs, a woodworker in North Carolina has a great blog post about grain orientation in furniture making. And for those seeking a less detailed approach, check out our website for the quick and dirty details on characteristics or our favorite North American furniture making-woods: