black-friday
(Black Friday Sale runs Nov. 21-Nov. 28 2015)

Vermont Woods Studios is having an extended Black Friday Furniture Sale!

Ever wonder how Black Friday started? As someone who has never really participated in this massive day of shopping, I was curious this year to find out how it all began and how it got to be so big.

We all know how Thanksgiving started-Pilgrims and Native Americans came together in Plymouth, MA to celebrate a successful harvest after the harsh winters had claimed many of the unprepared colonial settlers lives. It wasn’t until 1863 and the end of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving Day a national holiday.

First-Thanksgiving
(Photo Credit: The Smithsonian)

If we flash forward to 1939, we learn that after being petitioned, President Franklin Roosevelt and Congress declared Thanksgiving be held on the fourth Thursday in November. This move would ensure shoppers and retailers a longer holiday shopping season.

The term “Black Friday” originates from the actions of two infamous and vilified “robber barons” Jay Gould and James Fisk, who in 1869 are credited with the gold market crash. From there, we have two explanations for the term. The first being that police officers in Philadelphia coined the term from all the smog and congestion shoppers created and the second being that during the holiday season, retailers operated at a profit known as “being in the black.” It wasn’t until the 1990s though that Black Friday became a nationwide term.

As the years have progressed, the day has clearly become the mark of the commercial holiday season, with many retailers even opening their doors on Thanksgiving to get an edge on their competition. While we here at Vermont Woods Studios will be enjoying stuffed turkey and mashed potatoes with our family and friends on Thanksgiving, we will be hosting a Black Friday Sale from Saturday, November 21st through Saturday, November 28th.

During that time you will be able to save 20% off hundreds of our high quality, solid wood furniture pieces.We have a large selection of Bedroom, Living Room, Dining Room  and Home Office furniture that is available in Cherry, Maple, Oak or Walnut woods. All of our furniture is handmade by local Vermont Craftsmen and is customized to fit your space and needs. Plus, you’ll receive a lifetime guarantee!

thanksgiving-pie
(Simon Pearce and JK Adams home decor pieces easily and effortlessly enhance any space)

Shop our fine wood furniture easily and conveniently from our online store or visit our showroom in Vernon, Vermont. If you prefer to call and talk with one our team members, you can contact us at 888-390-5571. Our team is always here to help you with any questions you may have about our wood furniture or to place an order over the phone.

This holiday season, while enjoying time with your family and friends and giving thanks, we encourage you to support local businesses and American made products.

*Sale excludes Copeland, POLYWOOD, Artisan, Barnwood, Custom, Clearance, In-stock and home decor items

*$1,000 minimum order to qualify for sale prices

 

Sources:

BBC News: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-25110953

Christian Answers:http://christiananswers.net/q-wall/wal-g007.html

PBS: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/grant-black-friday/

USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/11/26/thanksgiving-abraham-lincoln-franklin-roosevelt/3685975/

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.

Clearlake-rockerA 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

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.

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.

 

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.

 

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!

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.