March 11th, 2014 by Kelsey Eaton
Furniture is more than just something we sit on, sleep on, and eat on; our furniture becomes a part of our life story. It’s an integral piece of what makes a house a home. But for the chemically sensitive, or for those who are just serious about not bringing harsh chemicals into their homes, finding the right furniture can seem like an impossible task.
At Vermont Woods Studios, we’re dedicated to providing furniture that is good for your health, home, and the environment.
All of our furniture (with the exception of our Outdoor line, which is made from recycled milk jugs) is handcrafted in Vermont using real, natural hardwoods. We do not work with inferior substrates like Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF), particle board, or flimsy faux wood veneers.
We work mostly with cherry, maple, oak and walnut. Each board in your furniture is selected by hand, and inspected for quality, strength, straightness, grain and color. When requested, we use FSC green-certified lumber, although there is still a premium for FSC certified wood. Sometimes our artisans harvest lumber from the woods on their own property, a sustainable approach that adds another dimension to the story of your furniture!
Many of our furniture makers continue to use traditional oil and wax based finishes, but even those that use more modern finishes ensure that they are non-toxic, formaldehyde-free and eco-friendly with little or no Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs).
As concern over indoor air quality continues to grow, many of our furniture makers are moving towards water based finishes. Conventional petroleum based solvents contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are harmful to the atmosphere. While most of these VOCs are released at the time of manufacturing, a small amount remains on the product and can off-gas in the home. Many of our collections can now be requested in a non-emitting water-based finish.
Questions to ask when making decisions on your organic wood 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.
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:
September 28th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
The weather isn’t looking so great for leaf peeping in Vermont this weekend. So if you’re traveling around the Green Mountain State and looking for indoor activities, try heading to Woodstock, VT for the Ninth Annual Vermont Fine Furniture and Woodworking Festival.
This year’s theme is “From Forest to Furniture: Take Home a Piece of Vermont”. It dovetails with our plans at Vermont Woods Studios for a showroom at Stonehurst in that the focus is to raise awareness about where your furniture comes from.
Much like the organic food movement, the organic furniture movement is catching on. Customers are realizing both the economic and health benefits to buying locally crafted furniture, handmade from real, solid, sustainably harvested wood.
Come visit with some of the regions (and world’s) most respected fine furniture makers in Woodstock this weekend. You’ll be able to see and feel their furniture creations and also learn about the well-managed forests where their wood is harvested. Free tours are available of the nearby Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. Here customers can experience the forest and learn about each of the many links in the chain from forest to trees to furniture.
Shown above: Brent Karner of ClearLake Furniture in Ludlow VT won first place for production furniture in the 2011 Vermont Fine Furniture Festival. Who is going to win this year?
March 7th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Speaking of organic, did you know that Vermont is also famous for it's organic furniture? Last count there were some 2000 small wood furniture makers scattered across Vermont. Although the styles and methods of craftsmanship are quite varied, these furniture makers have in common a deep respect for the forest where their wood furniture originates.
I haven't been able to find a definition for organic furniture yet but I do think Vermont would logically be the place to start. Vermont woodworkers have a long history of sustainable woodworking, sourcing their wood from our local forests abundant in native hardwoods like maple, oak, ash, cherry and birch. And we avoid the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in Vermont's sustainable forests, relying instead on Mother Nature to regenerate after careful selective harvesting.
When it comes to applying a finish to Vermont's furniture, you'll be hard-pressed to find harsh chemicals with high levels of VOCs or formaldehyde. Instead furniture makers use natural linseed oil finishes, clear non-toxic lacquers and even a natural coating made from whey (a recycled byproduct of our dairy industry).
Yesterday I wrote about organic food in terms of where it comes from and how it's grown. The organic food movement has been around for over a century but has picked up more steam in the last 20 years as people become more aware of where their food comes from. I think the next step for the organic movement is into the world of organic furniture. And Vermont will lead the way.
February 24th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
Have you ever thought about where your wood furniture comes from? Over the past few decades, the organic food movement has made us ask questions about the origin of our food. Now the fundamental concerns voiced in that movement are being extrapolated to the furniture and flooring industries. People want to know where their furniture comes from and what they're finding out is often more disturbing than the facts that were uncovered regarding the origins of our food.
For facts about the origin of your furniture, check out Vermont Woods Studios' latest article on American Wood Furniture and Global Forest Conservation at Ezine.