Vermont Woods Studios Handmade Furniture

custom furniture

Defining Fine Furniture: Type of Wood

December 13th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

Fine-wood-furnitureSimilar to the term American Made Furniture, there's no standard definition for "fine furniture".  But a customer brought this up yesterday so I thought I'd take a shot at it.  At Vermont Woods Studios we specialize in fine wood furniture, rather than upholstered furniture so I'll keep the discussion confined to that. 

This may seem odd, but I'm going to put style aside for another subject because I think each creative woodworker has his or her own ideas about style.  Naturally there has to be a strategic blending of form and function, but making a judgement about that is personal and subjective– you could write a library of books about it and still not reach a conclusion.  I'm not sure style belongs in a definition for fine furniture.

So for now I'll stick to tangible perameters like craftsmanship, uniqueness, joinery, type of wood, type of finish, sustainability and durability– plus one intangible which I'll call karma.  Today let's look at the type of wood a piece of furniture is made with first– then we can consider the other characteristics in the next few posts.

Fine-wood-custom-furnitureFine wood furniture starts with hardwood (like cherry, maple, walnut and oak) as opposed to soft wood (like pine and other coniferous woods).  Furthermore, in today's world (by my definition anyway) those hardwoods are grown sustainably in America as opposed to imported woods that are clear cut from the world's rapidly disappearing rainforests (like ipe, rubberwood, mahogany, jatoba and teak–this ties into a karma discussion).  You can learn more about American hardwood species here:  cherry wood, maple wood, walnut wood, oak wood.

It's not just the wood species that sets fine wood furniture apart.  Once a species is selected, fine woodworkers go to greath lengths to carefully select each board that goes into a piece of furniture, depending on where the board is being placed (like in a drawer front, part of a table top, an accent piece or part of the frame). 

Woodworkers select boards based on things like grain, color, texture, shape, character and whether it's part of the tree's heartwood (inner circles of the tree and dark in color) or sapwood (outer circles of the tree and light in color).  There are different levels of attention to detail in wood selection and they are reflected in the price of a piece of furniture. Many of our woodworkers in Vermont are aligned with the philosophy of George Nakishima who felt that wood selection is an almost sacred art that honors The Soul of a Tree. Others are more practical but both philosophies on wood selection can be the foundation of a great piece of "fine furniture" depending on what the customer is looking for.

Later we'll talk about how craftsmanship, origin and sustainability add to the definition of fine furniture.

 

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Vermont Made Furniture To Be On ABC World News

November 18th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

Abc-world-newsDear Readers,

Thank you so much for attending our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge!  Today (I think it's because of your support) we got a phone call from ABC World News telling us they are sending a camera crew up to Vernon, Vermont on Tuesday to film some footage for their November 30 nightly news show.

They want to learn more about our pledge to buy American made holiday gifts at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture and also tour around the town of Vernon.  They'll visit all the BIG attractions in town:  the elementary school, the town hall, the general store, the fire station, a farm or two and Chad Woodruff's custom furniture workshop.  What could be more cool for the evening news than that?  They'll be interviewing people along the way and asking them about any plans they might have to "buy American" this holiday season.

So we're pretty excited about this and we're grateful to you for all your support, as always.  By the way, what are you buying for Christmas this year?  If you haven't taken the challenge yet, it's not too late.  We figured that if everybody in the country bought everything "American made" over the holidays, it could generate almost 5 million jobs! Who needs politicians, right?

 

For local Vernon and Brattleboro area residents– if you'd like to be on TV or just see the camera crew in action, you can keep up with their schedule as it evolves by joining this Facebook group or checking our website.  Here's a clip of a similar segment in the ABC series.  People in the crowd scene at the Vernon Town Hall will all have a chance to be interviewed and present visuals to feature on the national show.

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Vermont Furniture: A New Showroom and Office

February 13th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

Bedroom-furniture We've been busy lately at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture– finally moving into our new showroom in Vernon, Vermont.  Yeah!!!  It's taken over a year to recover from the fire last Christmas Eve that took our wonderful friend Annette's home and farm– and along with it– our showroom. 

But Douglas and Rebecca have been working the last few weekends– moving all or our electronics and office systems to our new space.  Ken and the boys helped move new desks and bookshelves in.  This week we hope to wrap up much of the process by moving our first shipment of furniture.

The new office and showroom is located next to the Post Office in Vernon, Vermont at 2531 Fort Bridgman Rd Vernon, VT.  Drop by and see us!

 

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Vermont Furniture Designer, Bruce Wilkie

January 3rd, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

Custom-maple-cabinets We're proud to welcome Bruce Wilkie, one of Vermont's best fine furniture makers to our family of artisan woodworkers at Vermont Woods Studios Custom Furniture.  Bruce was featured at the 2010 Vermont Fine Furniture Festival in Woodstock, VT and this is the signature piece he displayed at the show. 

The Custom Collector's Cabinet is handcrafted of solid maple wood with solid black walnut drawers and beaded doors.  Bruce is a seasoned expert at this, after working with wood and furniture for more than 30 years.  I love to feel the smooth finish on this piece and open the drawers and doors because they are so perfectly fit.  Bruce's pieces are surprisingly well priced too.  I've never seen a piece with this much detail and craftsmanship offered at such a value price.  Someone is going to be very lucky.

Thanks Bruce for adding your fine furniture to the body of work we have at Vermont Woods Studios.  And welcome to the family!

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Vermont – The Fine Furniture Capitol of America

October 21st, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh

Vermont-fine-furniture Looking for authentic handmade wood furniture, made in the good 'ol USA? It's not so easy to find it anymore, is it?  Most Americans think of North Carolina as the fine furniture capitol of the USA, but over the past 30 years, that has changed. The furniture companies we think of as being quintessentially American — for example Thomasville, Broyhill, Ethan Allen and Lane — no longer make much, if any furniture in the USA. Instead they outsource their furniture to factories in China, Vietnam and other third world countries.

So where does one go to find authentic, high quality, handmade wood furniture? It turns out that Vermont is now considered to be the fine furniture capitol of the country. By unofficial count, some 2000 small wood furniture makers dot the rural Vermont countryside, taking advantage of the heavily forested nature of our state for supply of natural, eco-friendly raw materials.

At Vermont Woods Studios Furniture we represent many of these craftsmen, providing a low cost venue for the marketing and sale of their work.  Our mission is to collaborate with Vermont's fine furniture makers, enabling them to spend more time in their studios doing what they do best:  making beautiful, solid wood furniture.   At the same time we can focus on our expertise: customer service– thus creating greater efficiency and the best possible prices for your heirloom quality handmade furniture.  Give us a call to learn more about Vermont's many fine furniture makers and how to bring their work into your home or office.

 

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Handmade Wood Furniture: Decreasing The Lead Time

October 7th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh

Walnut-buffet
Everyone wants to have handcrafted, American made wood furniture in their home.  Why not?  It's beautiful, lasts for generations and adds warmth and richness to your space.  But at Vermont Woods Studios we do understand that not everyone is able to wait 8-10 weeks to have their furniture custom crafted.  Often customers come to us as they are preparing for guests for Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas, a birthday celebration or other holiday and they need their furniture fast.

Well lucky for us, Vermont furniture makers are working hard to meet those needs. We are currently able to offer many dining tables and dining chairs with a lead time of just 2-3 weeks.  Give us a call or email us regarding lead times for the furniture pieces you're interested in.  Believe it or not, it's still possible to have a dining room furniture set crafted just for you with delivery in time for Thanksgiving dinner!

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The Vermont Fine Furniture Festival

September 27th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh

Burce-wilke
Ken managed to get me on his Harley this weekend and we drove up to Woodstock to see our friends and colleagues at the Vermont Fine Furniture Festival.   If you haven't been yet, you are missing out!  It's well worth the trip, especially on a beautiful day like we had this year. Here are some pictures of the festival and our trip. 

Here's Bruce Wilkie of On Vermont Time – Beautiful handcrafted clocks and custom furniture.



Harlow's Farm 

Vermont's beautiful Fall produce and flowers are available at farm stands everywhere.  Sadly we had no room to carry any home ;)

 

 

Walnut-table
Many of the finest furniture makers in the state and indeed the country
were at the Festival showing their latest works of art, demonstrating
their craft and offering fabulous deals on handcrafted, Vermont made
solid wood furniture.

Scott Duffy of Rockledge Farm was showing this beautiful walnut table.  It has a soft live edge you can barely see, but it's absolutely gorgeous.

 

Jim-becker
Jim Becker makes incredible windsor chairs, barstools and lots of other beautiful furniture as well.

Craftsman-bed
This is a new Craftsman bed we're just beginning to carry at Vermont Woods Studios.

Neal-albert
Neal Albert of Shelburne Fine Woodworking makes high end custom kitchen cabinets and a line of custom tables with secret compartments.

Wooden-guitar-case
A wooden guitar case from the Vermont Woodworking school.

Vt-farms
More fabulous produce at Harlow's Farm on the way home.

If you were unlucky enough to miss the Vermont Furniture Festival this year, put it on your calendar for next year.  It's always around the last weekend in September.  It's a great destination and the perfect excuse to get outside and enjoy Vermont's colorful Autumn scenery.

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Buying Furniture Online

September 17th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh

Vermont-shaker-sleigh-bed
Five years ago who would have ever even considered buying high end furniture online?  Probably not many but several factors have been changing that. Today you can buy almost anything online and the process for buying furniture just keeps getting better and easier.  Here are a few things to consider if you're shopping for fine furniture online:

  


handmade bed  
Quality, Style and Price
– Shopping online opens up a whole new world of choices when it comes to furniture quality, style and price.  Even if you're planning to buy your furniture at a local brick and mortar store, you'll benefit from researching these options online and learning how they affect each other.  You can also get an idea of what prices are fair and reasonable, as prices for the same piece of furniture can vary unbelievably from store to store.

 

 


Custom-table
Customization
– Big box stores don't typically offer customization but smaller local stores usually do and so do many online furniture stores.  A lot of our customers who live in Boston, Manhattan and other cities need to have their furniture customized to fit small spaces and we're happy to accommodate that.  Custom furniture is not necessarily any more expensive than catalog furniture, especially if we're working off an existing design that just needs to be sized up or down to fit into your space.

 


Satisfaction Guaranteed
Lead Time
– Buying furniture online often means factoring in additional lead time for crafting and/or shipping.  For example, at Vermont Woods Studios the average time between order placement and delivery to your home is about 6 weeks.  That can vary depending on the particular pieces of furniture ordered, the degree of customization and the customer's location. 

One last thing:  online furniture stores have had to really focus on customer service in order to survive.  The Internet provides such an accessible forum for reviews of our quality that there is no room for mistakes or less than stellar customer service.  This is a great thing for both customers and the industry.  It raises the bar for online and brick and mortar stores alike.

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Vermont Fine Furniture Festival- Mark Your Calendar

September 1st, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh

It's hard to believe September is here already.  The kids are back in school and even though it's a beautiful sunny 90F day here at Vermont Woods Studios, our minds are turning to Vermont's Autumn season and our many Fall fairs and festivals.

My favorite is the Vermont Fine Furniture Festival in Woodstock, VT.  This year the dates are September 25-56, 2010 and it's in the Union Arena in Woodstock, VT.  Many of Vermont's finest furniture makers will be displaying their work and giving you an insider's view of how authentic handmade wood furniture is crafted. You'll be able to meet the furniture makers and purchase handmade wood furniture off the floor or order affordable custom furniture to be crafted just for you and delivered directly to your home.

If you've ever been inclined to visit Vermont to enjoy the Fall weather and take in some leaf peeping, consider combining your trip with a visit to the Furniture Festival.  While you're there, let the craftspeople know if you believe as I do, that Vermont is truly the Fine Furniture Capitol of America.

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Cherry Dining Furniture: Customer Feedback

March 24th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh

I wanted to share this customer feedback with you and also express our gratitude to Gail P, who took the time our of her very busy day to write this kind review.  Thanks Gail!

Cherry Buffet
Dear Peggy and Kendall, Thank you so much for the mug
and coffee from Vermont Woods Studios Furniture. That was a very nice touch – something
kind that you didn't have to do. It jogged my memory and now I'm
sending photos for you.

The buffet which was customized to my specifications is just what I
imagined! It is gorgeous. The delivery was just as promised as well. The
two delivery men were extremely courteous and careful. They were also
very patient while they waited for me to fully examine the furniture.

I have sent you photos of the buffet in its place in my dining room.
We are in California, so I'm sure both the buffet and the table will
change some more in color.

 

     

 

Extra Shelves - Buffet
I also sent you photos of the buffet doors
open so you could see that I did make good use of the extra shelves on
one side. I am delighted with the cabinets on the bottom instead of
drawers. It's absolutely right for me. I would never have found the
perfect buffet in a store. 

 

  

 

 

Cherry Sideboard
I do not do much ordering online. I hesitated for a long time before I
placed the order. I think the thing that convinced me was an online
comment from someone in Camarillo, CA who had visited your shop in the
summer to see what it was, then ordered and received their furniture
here, less than an hour from our home in Ojai. When I paid the full
amount at the outset, a couple of my relatives questioned my wisdom.
However, having conversed with Kendall on the phone and by e-mail and
having read everything I could find about you on the internet, I felt
quite confident that it would turn out all right and that we would
receive what we wanted. I was not at all disappointed.

 

 

Custom Shelves - Buffet
My daughter who lives nearby is amazed at how perfect the buffet is
in our dining room. I haven't had much company in just two weeks, but
the one couple who came over for dinner admired it immediately. Thank
you so much for all your patience with my questions and changes. I
appreciate so much the customer service you provided. I am definitely a
perfectionist, so I am totally pleased with all the care you have taken
from planning to constructing to shipping and delivering the buffet.

I am totally happy to support a company like yours
which has sustainability at the core of its existence.

I am also glad to support the individual craftsmen. My father-in-law
has a complete wood shop on his farm where he and my husband have built
more simple furniture like tables, beginning with trees on the farm.
Therefore, my husband has a great appreciation for the craftsmanship of
the buffet.

Thank you for everything! I will definitely recommend your company if
the opportunity arises. The buffet is absolutely an advertisement for
you. I look forward to many years of admiring it in my dining room.  I
will not forget its source! 

Sincerely, G Peterson, Ojai, CA

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