This Labor Day Our Handcrafted Wood Furniture is on Sale
Scattered across the lush forest filled state of Vermont, our craftspeople are trained by New England’s best furniture makers. Using techniques passed down from generation to generation, our workshops build the strongest, sturdiest and most beautiful solid wood furniture. Each piece of wood is hand selected to create the high-quality furniture that will be in your home and last generations.
Custom bookcases might not be on the top of your Christmas list, but think about it. Whether you have a home office or you’re trying to tidy up and organize your books and media, custom bookcases could make your life easier and more efficient in 2013. Not to mention more beautiful.
At Vermont Woods Studios our biggest month for crafting bookcases and other organizers is January. Could it have to do with New Year’s resolutions? Must be, but we’re getting inquiries almost every day lately. I think customers are realizing that there is a 1-3 month lead time for ordering custom bookcases. So if you’re one of those people I thought I’d offer up some tips and advice about how to choose the right set of bookshelves for your home or office.
Glass Doors, Wooden Doors or No Doors
Are you really going to use those books or movies or vases? Or will they just sit in the bookcase and collect dust? Are they beautiful? Part of your decor? Or just obligatory (someone gave them to you and you can’t seem to throw them away) and you don’t necessarily want to see them? Do you put things back neatly? Or are you always in a hurry? These are the kinds of weighty issues you’ll need to unravel before you decide whether or not to add doors to your custom bookcases. Oh… and should the doors be glass to show off your chotskies or wooden to hide the mess?
One Big Bookshelf or a Couple Small Ones?
Once you’ve decided what kind of doors are best for your bookshelves, you’ll want to measure your space and get the cabinets to fit perfectly into it. Some people love the integrated design of one big bookcase unit like the Modern Shaker Home Office Center Cabinet above (make sure you can fit something this big up the stairs and into your room!). Other people like the versatility of combining several small bookcases in different ways. One thing we always mention to customers is: if you’re getting a series of bookcases that you may want to place flush up next to each other, be sure you specify “no overhang”. That means any molding along the top will be eliminated either on one or both sides, depending on how you want to configure the bookcases.
Measure Twice and Cut Once
We try to make it easy to customize your bookcase online, but it really is a good idea to give us a call or stop by the showroom to order custom bookcases, especially if they’re over-sized or designed to sit flush against each other. We’ll help you get all the measurements right for your space so they’ll be no surprises when your furniture arrives.
I’ve been looking for a definition of “solid wood furniture“. I’m finding the same thing I found 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 wood. 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:
Is This Real Solid Wood Furniture or Veneered?
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.
Is this Furniture Made Of Hardwood of Softwood?
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.
Is the Craftsmanship Top Quality?
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.
Is This American Made or Imported Furniture?
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.
Am I Getting The Best Value & Price?
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. 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.
I spent most of today working with a “high functioning team”of professionals at Vermont Woods Studios. We were focused on getting Copeland’s new Moduluxe Bedroom Furniture ready for launch but it turns out we also had a lot of fun. Dennis, Heather B, Loryn, Trenton, Tristan and I crammed ourselves into a small office and hunkered down to crank out the work. I am amazed at how much we got done. We still have a few odds and ends to tie up, but we should be able to publish the new Moduluxe pieces by Friday at the latest.
Contemporary Modular, Sectional Bedroom Furniture
Copeland unveiled Moduluxe at the annual Fall Furniture Market in High Point, North Carolina last month and it immediately hit the best seller list. I daresay it has already spawned several knock-offs, one of which is coming out under a Brad Pitt label, believe it or not. The Moduluxe idea is to provide sectional, modular wood furniture for a built in look. There are 33 mix and match pieces to choose from. Integrated nightstands are adjoined to the bed headboards and various size chests and dressers latch onto the other side of the nightstands. Pieces can be configured in many customizable designs to best fit your space. Corner pieces even allow your design to wrap around the room! Modern style is the ticket with clean, contemporary lines and tons of storage space. There’s even an optional platform storage bed. A place for everything. About the only thing there’s no room for is an excuse not to have a tidy bedroom.
Check back later this week for more details on this Vermont made, solid wood bedroom set.
And thanks to everyone on our team for doing such a great job getting Moduluxe off the ground today!
Which Type of Hardwood Furniture Is Best For Your Bedroom, Dining Room or Home Office?
If you’re looking for hardwood furniture, there’s a good chance you’re narrowing your wood choices down to the most popular and plentiful species grown here in America such as cherry, maple, oak and walnut. These prized hardwoods are grown sustainably here in the USA with Vermont and New England being a favorite source for many woods.
We like these species because they are well suited to fine furniture making by virtue of their color, strength, hardness, grain patterns and workability. They are also readily obtainable in our local and regional area, making them a sustainable choice. Often our furniture makers will offer two-tone combinations of these hardwoods creating a custom, artisan look and feel to your furniture.
The photo above shows Copeland Furniture’s SoHo Bedroom Set in solid maple and walnut hardwoods. This striking two-tone wood combination has become a best seller in our metropolitan markets, particularly Manhattan, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Homeowners appreciate the modern, contemporary sensibilities of the SoHo solid hardwood design as well as the fine detail and craftsmanship that goes into every custom, made to order piece.
SoHo furniture is also offered in a two-tone walnut and cherry design. Which of these hardwood combinations would look best for your bedroom furniture?