fine wood furniture
the recent cooler nights and the realization that Labor Day is less than 2
weeks away, we're beginning to feel that summer's end is near…well, at least
in Vermont. While we know that Labor Day doesn't technically signal
the end of summer, for many it's a symbolic end as minds begin shifting to the fall.
Before we know it, the feasting holidays will soon be here! If you're
like most, this can be the time of year where you might find yourself doing a
lot of hosting, especially in the dining room. So, perhaps it's time to think
about how to make your home feast-ready for the holidays, and it's also a good
time to consider other home improvement projects.
Since dining room furniture gets
the most use and attention during the feasting holidays, this room may be a
primary focus. In between choosing, crafting, and delivering fine wood
furniture, many weeks can slip by. Crafting fine furnishings takes time, so
planning for Thanksgiving at the end of August is actually the perfect amount
While your furniture is being
crafted perhaps there are other things that you would like to do to get your dining
room ready. For instance, painting, refinishing floors or replacing carpet,
makes sense to do before your new furniture arrives.
So we at Vermont
Woods Studios Furniture have decided to put our fine wood dining room furniture on sale now
through August 30th! If it’s high quality, American Made, real wood furniture
you are considering then the next week is the best time to buy and save up to
20% (plus Free Shipping)! Our heirloom quality furniture features timeless
styling and sturdy construction which you can enjoy holiday after holiday with
your family for generations. Browse our online dining furniture gallery to see our
large selection of wood dining tables, dining chairs, sideboards, hutches and
buffets. Ordering now will ensure delivery before Thanksgiving and allow you
time to enjoy it before the crowds arrive!
What's on sale? Vermont Woods Studios is letting you decide! Most of our sales are based on room or specific style, but this sale is all about you. This is your chance to personalize the sale to your own furnishing needs. Different rooms, different styles, different collections- it's up to you!
For one week only, you can create your own set and save in the process. Just purchase three or more pieces to get 20% off your order, plus free shipping and our lifetime guarantee!
Choose from any room in our online gallery and add variety to your shopping cart! You can buy a Vermont Made Shaker Dresser for the guest room, a Cherry Moon Writing Desk for your home office and a Modern Mission Coffee Table for the living room, saving money while you're at it.
Vermont Woods Studios showcases Vermont's finest wood furniture. Traditionally handcrafted in Vermont using sustainably harvested wood.
A couple weeks ago I attempted to work through a definition of "fine wood furniture" at the request of one of our customers. I couldn't find any type of universally (or even generally) agreed-upon definition, so I thought I'd try to make one up. But as I waded into it, I realized how difficult even that is.
There's just so much ground to cover in "fine wood furniture" such as style, type of wood used, craftsmanship, type of joinery used, finishing products and techniques, the use of hand tools versus precision machinery, the use of veneers versus solid wood, and of course durability and longevity.
So I've been opining my way through each area– well just to generate some discussion really, because I think that would be more valuable than an attempted definition of "fine wood furniture".
Today I wanted to talk about where "fine wood furniture" comes from and how it makes it's way to your bedroom or kitchen. Would you believe that most of the so called "fine wood furniture" that's sold in America today is made in China or VietNam from wood that was logged unsustainably (and often illegally) from the rainforests of South America, Africa, Siberia and Asia? I know it sounds like extremist rhetoric, but it's really not. Kendall just published a page on sustainable furniture today, reminding us about the environmental damage that comes from rainforest destruction.
So my point is, if you're going to define fine wood furniture, you probably do need to address where it comes from. Furniture from small companies like Vermont Woods Studios that use American-grown, sustainably-harvested wood and local craftspeople is different than furniture that's made overseas with illegal wood by people paid 25 cents/hour. It feels different. It has better "karma". It makes you feel proud to own it. You find yourself telling people all about where you got it and how long it took to make and how the joinery is designed, right?
Another note– most American fine wood furniture comes with a lifetime guarantee– an important indication of sustainability.
Next post, I'd like to share some sustainable practices I've been impressed with at Copeland Furniture and Clearlake Furniture, both Vermont companies. After looking at the green practices Vermont furniture makers have been famous for over many generations, you may find youself agreeing with me that Vermont is the Fine Furniture Capital of America.
Thanks to Clearlake Furniture for the photo of their Rocking Chair
Similar 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 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.
Of all of our Vermont furniture styles and collections, our Shaker inspired collections and pieces are some of our most popular. So we're working with our craftspeople to offer all Shaker furniture for our current sale– give the people what they want! Starting today and running through July 19th all Shaker furniture is 10% off (plus free shipping)!
You can browse our online gallery where you will find 6 Shaker Style Furniture collections including dozens of finely crafted Shaker inspired pieces for every room in your home. All our Shaker furniture is traditionally handcrafted in Vermont and is available in solid Cherry, Walnut and Maple hardwoods.
Being a network of small workshops, plus with the current demand it can take about 6-10 weeks to have your furniture built. So while we are just rolling into mid-summer you may want to think about ordering furniture now for late summer or early fall delivery. Even for Thanksgiving dinner! With handcrafted furniture that's made to order the best advice we can give is plan ahead.
So we welcome you to our online “Finest of Vermont” furniture gallery! Hope you enjoy your visit and please get in touch with us if there is anything we can assist you with. Thanks for visiting us today!
Note! Like us on Facebook and you can save additional $50! (And learn about new designs, upcoming sales, and other happenings here and throughout Vermont)
Forest conservation is a big part of our mission at Vermont Woods Studios. All of our furniture is made from sustainably harvested wood and we donate a portion of the proceeds of each sale to non-profit groups working to preserve the forest.
So when I read a recent article in Audubon Magazine (by T. Edward nickens) about the damage that’s happening to our forests as a result of junk mail production, I felt we should get on board and do something to help. Would you believe that:
Over 100 Billion pieces of junk mail are delivered to Americans each year (>800 pieces per household, almost half of which goes directly to the landfill without even being opened)
It takes over 100 million trees to produce this junk mail (that’s equivalent to clear-cutting the entire Rocky Mountain National Park every 4 months)
The manufacture of this junk mail releases more greenhouse gas emissions per year than the emissions released by 9.4 million average passenger cars
The Canadian Boreal forest (home to caribou, grizzly bears, wolves and 40% of North America’s waterfowl) and Indonesia’s tropical rainforests (home to numerous critically endangered species including orangutans and tigers) are particularly at risk from junk mail producers, harvesting wood in these areas.
Want to help solve the junk mail problem? The non-profit group, Forest Ethics has an online petition you can sign, asking Congress for a Do Not Mail registry, similar to the Do Not Call registry. That would be great, wouldn’t it?
In the meantime, here is a fantastic website where you can quickly and easily eliminate most of your junk mail, right now…it’s Catalog Choice.
Just sign up and select the catalogs you don’t want to receive. Voila! Your name is off their lists. Take action right NOW and help save the earth’s forests. You’ll be protecting endangered species and indigenous peoples AND helping to stem global climate change. You’re going to feel really good about yourself today!