May 11th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Or perhaps it's because the organic food movement is migrating into other aspects of our lives. In addition to thinking about where our food comes from we're now beginning to think about where our furniture comes from. And where our clothing, computers, appliances (you name it) come from.
Both the American-made and organic movements are reflected in the Vermont furniture brand.
But I think one of the main reasons Vermont made furniture is experiencing a renaissance is that it's customizable. This Copeland Berkeley Bedroom Set is a good example. The Berkeley Collection features a 2 tone cherry and walnut wood design that you can customize online with your favorite shade of cherry wood.
Many of our other Vermont made furniture collections offer 2 tone wood combinations, for example the Modern American Collection. These bedroom, dining and home office furniture sets are shown in cherry and walnut but they can also be customized in any other 2 tone combinations of maple, walnut and cherry wood.
Most Vermont furniture makers embrace the idea of customizing your furniture, be it with two tone wood combinations, specialty sizing or complete custom design from the start. Learn more about custom furniture options on our website.
April 25th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
The pieces are made in a small workshop in Burlington, VT by a team of about 10 craftsmen.
Each piece is made to order with sustainably harvested solid wood and finished with a hand-rubbed natural oil finish. The TV-Media center shown is made of American Black Walnut wood, which is the only North American wood with a dark chocolate brown color. Two other American woods are also available: Black Cherry and Sugar Maple. The furniture can be customized online in your choice of wood or in 2-tone combinations of available woods. We can also customize the size so the furniture fits exactly into your space.
Many times customers come to us because they are looking for a natural organic, oil and wax finish like the one that's hand-rubbed into these pieces. It's a traditional finish that requires a lot of sanding, but the process really brings out the natural beauty of the wood. Craftsmen take special care in selecting and matching wood color and grain for these pieces, so what you get is truly an heirloom that will remain beautiful and useful for generations.
If you are thinking about this kind of organic, solid wood furniture, be sure to check out our furniture care instructions for natural oil finishes. An oil finish doesn't take a lot of time to maintain, but if you do oil it several times during the first year or so, you'll get a great return on your investment of time as it ages. There is nothing quite like natural wood furniture with an oil finish.
April 17th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Earth Week seems like a good time to roll out Copeland Furniture's new collection of high end, eco-friendly solid wood dining chairs.
This one is Copeland's ultra minimalist (that's an oxymoron, isn't it?) Catalina Estelle chair in solid walnut wood. It brings you back to that mid century modern style of the 1950's with it's clean, simple lines and retro design.
All of Copeland's furniture is made right here in Vermont from sustainably harvested wood. Many Copeland items are available in FSC green-certified wood. You can read more about Copeland's green furniture and the many prestigious awards they have won for sustainability on our website.
Stay tuned for the roll out of additional brand new Copeland dining furniture pieces in the coming weeks. If you're looking for authentic green luxury you can't overlook Copeland. And their furniture is 100% American made. As we see all the big furniture companies talking about bringing their operations back to the USA from Asia due to global economics, it's good to know about Copeland Furniture– one of the few American furniture makers that stayed in the USA remaining true to their values of quality, sustainability and community throughout the mass exodus to China.
April 13th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Copeland Furniture, just down the road from us in Bradford, Vermont is famous for it's modern, contemporary solid wood bedroom furniture. A couple years ago, Copeland introduced the new Frank Lloyd Wright® Collection of authentic reproduction prairie-style furniture designed by America's foremost architect.
Well, now Copeland is introducing another new series of high end furniture, The Catalina Walnut Dining Room Collection.
The tables, chairs and buffets are all in sync with Catalina's retro-modern shapes and sensibilities, relying on simple, elegant lines that have just enough curve– but not too much. Walnut is the only wood used for the Catalina collection and it is available in both natural wood (as shown) or in a darker slate-on-walnut stain. Dennis and Manjula are working feverishly to get all of the Catalina dining collection pieces up on our website and ready for purchase by week's end. In the meantime, if you have any questions, give us a call.
All Copeland's furniture is 100% American made, right here in Vermont.
February 12th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Dennis and Manjula have been working on getting a beautiful selection of Copeland Bedroom Furniture Sets up on our website.
Copeland is our newest line of Vermont made furniture and their styles include traditional, Shaker and modern furniture, such as the:
Berkeley Cherry Bedroom Set (Modern Asian style)
Copeland's signature style is kind of a clean, simple elegance that's very popular in the more chic neighborhhods of Manhattan and other cities. But we love it up here in rural Vernon VT too!
A few logistical details: the sets are designed to save you on shipping. We couldn't lower the prices of the furniture in the sets because we already have Copeland furniture priced as low as possible. In fact we have a low price guarantee on Copeland furniture. But with the sets, you save on shipping– which is significant. Rather than paying $300/piece for white glove delivery, you can order as many pieces as you like and pay just $450 for shipping and white glove delivery of the whole set.
Check out the sets and let us know what you think. We've tried to make them versatile so you can customize your set online with any combination of pieces you might like, but I'm sure we haven't thought of everything. Give us a call if you can't find the exact pieces you need for your set. Rebecca and Shannon will be happy to hear from you!
One more thing. So far we just have Copeland bedroom sets up but in another month or so we'll have their collection of Frank Lloyd Wright dining sets as well. If you're looking to purchase before then, just call.
February 10th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
We extend our thanks to journalist and woodworker, Jo-Ann Kaiser who featured Vermont Woods Studios Walnut Furniture in Woodworking Network magazine, a respected source of "information and inspiration for professional woodworkers". Jo-Ann's article titled, "American Black Walnut: A Bold & Beautiful Furniture Species" talked not only about the beauty of walnut wood and it's growing popularity but also discussed the danger that walnut trees have been facing over the last 10 years.
It's called "1000 Canker's disease" and it typically kills walnut trees within three years of infection. Similar to other tree-attacking diseases that wiped out the American Chestnut and Elm trees, the spread of this one is fueled by people moving logs, walnuts and any part of the tree from infested areas into disease-free areas. It's spreading from the West to East and has already been found in Pennsylvania.
The situation is alarming and I mention it here in hopes that you will pass this on to anyone who may have walnut trees on their property or who uses walnut for firewood, nuts or lumber. People should contact their state department of agriculture for more information.
It would be a shame to see another beautiful (and valuable) tree species slip into extinction. Perhaps there is something we can do to avoid that.
December 13th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
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.
August 22nd, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
Our friend David Allard and the talented furniture makers at Lyndon Furniture are always coming up with some new, exciting wood furniture design project. Check out this huge custom walnut slab table they recently finished. It's 13.5' long and the two planks in the top are made of 1 ¾" thick solid black walnut.
The legs are made of welded steel tubes that thread through the walnut slab top like through-tenons. On the top, Dave left a gap between the 2 walnut slabs to allow for wood movement. Believe it or not, even kiln-dried wood (like these walnut slabs) expands and contracts quite a bit with changes in humidity and temperature.
Such a simple elegant design, isn't it? But as any amateur woodworker could attest, it's not one to try at home unless you've got the hand of a trained professional. And a crane
April 28th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
Recently the most popular designs for walnut furniture have been with natural, organic solid walnut slabs that are huge, heavy and thick. They make incredible dining and conference tables that are showstoppers when you walk into a room.
Our friend, artisan Greg Goodman made this custom live edge walnut slab table out of a one of the slabs to the left. I've not seen anything like it. I love the curved base– it gives it a modern contemporary look, don't you think?
We filmed Greg working on a similar slab table. If you're interested in these live edge works of art, you have to watch Greg's part in this video about Vermont Woods Studios craftsmen.
If you're pricing walnut furniture, you can count on spending about 25% more than for other woods. Sadly, walnut is becoming rare due to lack of forest management and disease. In fact a recent blight of something called "thousand cankers disease" is causing great concern about walnut trees all across the country. It seems walnut wood may not be available much longer. Same for the beloved walnut– a nut that reportedly boosts your brain power and provides powerful anti-oxidants.
The walnut trees we're using for live edge slab tables are harvested sustainably, with preservation of the species in mind. The trees are usually victims of urban development– once they were grand old sentinels along tree lined boulevards but age, concrete and road salt have taken their toll.
It's nice to see their beauty being preserved forever under the skilled and artful hands of craftsmen like Greg Goodman.
August 25th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh
Wondering how to select the right hardwood for your furniture? For most of our customers, wood color is the first priority when selecting a hardwood, followed by strength and durability. At Vermont Woods Studios we offer exclusively American hardwoods that are harvested responsibly from well managed forests.
One of the characteristics that customers are often surprised about is that some woods change colors over time, as they are exposed to light. Black cherry is the most notable of these woods. It can start out almost as light as maple wood, but over time it will mature and ripen to a deep, rich reddish brown color.
Have any questions about furniture hardwoods? Give us a call! We'll look forward to hearing from you.