November 16th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
I’ve been looking for a widely accepted definition of “solid wood furniture“. I’m finding the same thing as when I looked for a definition of “American made furniture”. Anything goes. Here’s an example of what I found on a popular reference website (About.com),
”Solid walnut wood furniture means that all exposed parts of the piece are walnut. But the frame and inner parts may be of other, less-costly wood. Thin layers of fine, decorative wood can be bonded to the face of low cost wood pieces. This is called veneering.”
Now does that sound like solid wood furniture to you? I don’t think so. If you’re shopping for high quality furniture and solid wood construction is important to you, try asking your salesperson these 5 questions to help clarify things:
When you take a look at the edge of a solid wood tabletop you can see if the graining on the top carries through on the edge – the way marbling does in a piece of steak. If this is not the case, you are looking at the “banding” on a veneered piece. Another way to tell solid wood is to look at the underside of the piece. Does the grain look like the same as the wood on the table top? If not, then it’s probably veneered.
In North America, typically the best quality solid wood furniture is made of native hardwoods, such as cherry, walnut, maple, oak, ash and birch. Although hardwood is more expensive than softwood, it has a higher density and is therefore usually harder and heavier. Hardwood grain is closed, tight and non-resinous as opposed to softwood grain that’s loose and resinous, thus it splits easy.
You can buy plenty of solid wood furniture that’s of poor quality. For example, I just searched for “solid hardwood furniture high quality” and Google shopper’s first result was a solid wood bed for $68.98. What good does it do to have solid wood construction when poor workmanship is going to limit the life of a piece to a couple years? Check for solid craftsmanship, top quality joinery and meticulous finishes in your furniture. A salesperson should be able to show and tell you about construction details such as mortise and tenon joints, dovetails, miter joints, finger joints, splines, biscuits, dowels, butts, dados, rabbets, tongue and groove and more. Durable, robust joinery is critical to the life and usefulness of a piece.
Finish is important too. Most imported furniture is finished with cheap coatings that contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde and benzene) which can cause asthma and allergies especially in young children. Ask your salesperson to explain what’s in the finish and how many coats have been applied to protect the furniture over time.
Are you wondering why imported furniture is so much cheaper than American made furniture? It’s not just that Chinese wages are about 1/10 of American wages. It’s about where the raw materials come from. In the USA, wood furniture is made from sustainably harvested wood that comes from well managed American forests. With imported furniture, the wood is typically clear cut from the world’s rapidly disappearing rainforests. Although imported furniture often carries labels that it’s made of American cherry, walnut, oak or maple woods, that is rarely the case. These labels are trade names used to describe woods of suspicious origin that are stained to look like familiar American woods such as cherry and walnut.
Top quality solid wood furniture is inherently expensive, so you’ll want to be sure you’re getting the best value and price. Find a local craftsman or retailer you can trust. Try to purchase your furniture as a set, rather than piece by piece if possible. Purchasing furniture sets not only creates efficiency in the craftsman’s workshop, it also saves money in shipping and delivery.
For more tips on purchasing top quality solid wood furniture with the best value and price, visit our Facebook and join the conversation.
November 2nd, 2012 by Kelsey Eaton
Are you bummed that you missed out on our Fall Bedroom Furniture Sale? It just ended this week. It happens to us all when we’re making big purchases- we keep telling ourselves, “I’ll buy it tomorrow.” Then, when it’s finally “tomorrow” the sale is over. This time you’re in luck; we’ve extended your “tomorrow” so that you can still get a great deal on new solid wood bedroom furniture. We have decided to add a bonus bedroom sale for the next two weeks! This special bedroom furniture promotion will run concurrent with our American Made Dining Furniture Sale.
Until November 13th when you purchase one of our hardwood beds, you will save 20% on two high end nightstands to go with it! Copeland Furniture pieces are excluded from this promotion; however, we have the lowest prices guaranteed on their furniture!
With this special bedroom furniture promotion, over half of the items in our online gallery are on sale! This is not the time to tell yourself, “I’ll buy tomorrow.” Start shopping for your new fine wood bedroom furniture today. Our heirloom quality furniture features timeless styling and sturdy construction, so you will enjoy your hardwood furniture for years to come (lifetime guaranteed). Every piece is crafted right here in Vermont with sustainably harvested woods, and made just for you! Your new bedroom furniture can be made in your choice of natural Cherry, Maple, Walnut, or Oak woods. With a wide range of bedroom furniture styles, from shaker style to modern, you will find pieces to perfectly compliment your home.
This bedroom furniture promotional sale ends at midnight on November 13th. Conveniently, securely, and easily shop from your home by visiting our online gallery. Feel free to speak to our furniture specialists through our Live Chat option if you have questions about our furniture, the styles, or the woods. You can find the Live Chat option in the top right corner of our online gallery. Or, if you prefer, give us a call at 802-275-5174* to order by phone or to discuss your questions about our Vermont Made, solid wood furniture.
*Please note that this not our toll free number. Our toll free number is currently out of service due to Hurricane Sandy. We are working to correct this issue as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.
October 25th, 2012 by Loryn Dion
Here at Vermont Woods Studios, we enjoy getting out of the office from time to time to work with our neighbors on good causes that help the community. We are involved with many nonprofit organizations to lend our support for projects promoting sustainable forestry and the protection of endangered forest species. One of those organizations is the Bonnyvale Environmental Educational Center (BEEC). That’s why we are holding a BEEC Benefit Sale this Friday, October 26th.
BEEC is a member-based non-profit organization founded in 1991 with the mission to develop a more ecologically informed citizenry through education and action in order to enhance and sustain the vitality of southern Vermont’s bioregion. BEEC organizes and leads many community-based environmental research and conservation programs, including watershed stewardship, reptile and amphibian conservation initiatives, and biodiversity planning and protection.
Patti Smith, Director of Conservation Initiatives and Public Programs for BEEC, organizes volunteers to brave cold, rainy nights every Spring in a passionate effort to protect, preserve and guide Vermont amphibians as they cross busy roads on their annual migration. In honor of her efforts, we named our Smith Natural Vermont Furniture Collection after her.
For tomorrow only, 10% of our overall sales will go to benefit the programs of the Bonnyvale Environmental Educational Center. By purchasing any of our handcrafted bedroom, dining room, living room and home office furniture, you will help to secure the future of BEEC initiatives for years to come. You can also rest assured that all of the furniture pieces you buy from us are crafted from sustainably harvested hardwoods right here in Vermont. We’ll even make the deal better by offering you our lifetime guarantee and free shipping.
Don’t forget, our American-made Bedroom Furniture Sale is still going on. Save up to 20% on all beds, nightstands, dressers, chests, armoires and mirrors. Buy as an American-made bedroom set and save even more. Or you can save big on our Patti Smith Natural Collection and support one of our favorite Vermont naturalists.
October 24th, 2012 by Kelsey Eaton
We just finished adding a new contemporary bedroom furniture collection to our website! It’s called the Contemporary Cable Collection. This beautiful contemporary bedroom furniture is paving the way for a brand new trend to break through the furniture industry: wood and metal. We have already begun to see this trend with tables (see our furniture fashion blog post about it), but this bedroom collection is the very first of it’s kind.
The Contemporary Cable Collection blends traditional Vermont style craftsmanship with an industrial flair to create an elegant, distinctive design. This collection includes five dressers, four chests, a night stand and a bed. Look at the drop down menu for the Contemporary Cable 10-Drawer Dresser #2, because we offer it in two different drawer configurations. The case pieces in this contemporary collection feature solid hardwood construction, traditional joinery and unique cable style drawer pulls. Each drawer also features recessed aluminum accent bars adding a sleek, modern look to the traditional wood case.
The Contemporary Cable Platform Bed uses stainless steel cable accents to add a contemporary touch. The stainless steel cable accents perfectly match the drawer pulls on the case pieces in this collection. Available in two headboard sizes, you can customize this bed to match your aesthetics. This bed is the best of both modern styling and traditional craftsmanship.
All of the bedroom pieces in the Contemporary Cable Collection are made in America and available in your choice of natural Cherry, Maple, and Walnut woods. An eco-friendly, non-toxic, handrubbed oil finish tops off the artistry of this design. All of the pieces in this collection are backed by our lifetime guarantee, and will be delivered with White Glove Shipping.
September 22nd, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Handmade, real solid wood bedroom sets are a significant investment so if you’re shopping for one, you’re no doubt looking for the best overall value in terms of quality and price. Comparison shopping is hard work. It takes days, weeks and even (for many of our customers) months to research all the design and style choices for fine hardwood bedroom furniture sets.
And the price comparisons can really get tricky. Pricing can initially look like it’s all over the place but once you start to narrow down the level of quality you want you begin to see that, with high end, American made furniture, the pricing falls into a very narrow range. That’s because there’s just not a lot of room for mark-up. Handcrafting fine wood furniture takes extraordinary amounts of time to create and when that work is done here in America (which is probably important to if you made it to our blog) it needs to be compensated with a livable wage.
So when it comes to offering the best value for American made fine furniture, retailers like us (Vermont Woods Studios) have the greatest opportunity to save you money by being smart about the way we ship furniture (it turns out that shipping 3 or more pieces of furniture isn’t much more expensive than shipping one) and do our administrative work. With our solid wood bedroom furniture sets we’ve focused on both and are able to discount these sets a full 20%.
Just so you know, this is the best price and lowest discount we’re able to offer at anytime, all year long. While others might mark up to mark down by 70% or so routinely, we do not. Our prices accurately reflect the cost of creating your furniture and getting it to you safely via the best fine furniture shipping specialist in the country. So check out our solid wood bedroom sets today and let us know what you think on Facebook. To find out what others are saying, check out our testimonials page and the Customer Review section of our blog.
June 1st, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
Manjula finished posting our new American Made Bedroom Furniture Sale this morning.
This week's sale offers up to 20% off, depending on how many pieces of furniture you buy (minimum is 3 for the 20% discount).
If you've been thinking about indulging in a new bedroom set that will look gorgeous and last forever, check out the sale!
May 14th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
I guess most people don't really think about where their furniture comes from. We do at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture, and we're pretty persnickety about it.
Our furniture is handcrafted of sustainably harvested solid wood, ie., the wood is harvested in America from local and regional forests that are professionally managed such that they will still be around for generations.
Why do we care?
We actually got into this business as an offshoot of a non-profit I started 10 years ago, Kids Saving the Planet KSP. It's a project designed to make environmental education fun and engaging. I soon learned though, how difficult it is to secure funding for non-profits so I started to think about creating a business that would one day be able to significantly contribute to KSP. Vermont Woods Studios is what evolved. The common thread is sustainable forestry– what I feel is one of the top 3 most important environmental issues of our time.
November 4th, 2009 by Peggy Farabaugh
Isn't this a beautiful bed? Our friend and colleague, Robin came out with this simple, elegant design recently and it's been our best selling bed ever since. The headboard has a subtle incline– just enough to make it comfy for reading or watching TV in bed.
It's shown here in natural cherry, that has had a few months to ripen and reach the rich, reddish brown color cherry is known for. We're calling it (what else?) the Modern Incline Bed.