The Secrets of Amish Craftsmanship

Old tools

Most of us don’t purchase furniture for our houses JUST because it serves a function.  Of course, function IS important.  But let’s admit it, none of us really want to eat dinner on plastic patio furniture.  When we love a piece, it’s often because of how it makes us feel or what we think it says about us to our family and friends.  Furniture plays a very important role in our daily lives, and special pieces make our houses feel like homes (that, and the smell of cookies).

family If it is the RIGHT kind of furniture, pieces bought today can become heirlooms passed from generation to generation. It sounds crazy – but furniture can bring back special memories of family get-togethers or remind of us a person more than anything else can (remember how your grandma ALWAYS sat in that rocker). We get this, and that’s why we’re proud to partner with the Amish in providing solidly built, beautiful furniture that is timeless. This is the kind of furniture your grandkids will fight over! Even though our pieces can look different, every order placed at The Amish Craftsman shares common characteristics that make our Amish furniture the picture of high quality. Believe us, we could go on and on about how great this furniture is…but, we’ve done our best to narrow it down to three basics: material, construction and finish.
1. SOLID MILLED HARDWOODS: All of the furniture at The Amish Craftsman is built from solid milled hardwoods. Wood species to choose from are Red Oak, Quarter-sawn White Oak, Cherry, Hickory, Brown Maple, Hard Maple and Walnut. These woods are of the highest grade and are selected for their unique grain patterns (appearance) and durability (strength). All our hardwoods come from North America (most from the USA).

boards

It’s worth mentioning that all of the wood is kiln dried too – which is important.  This reduces the moisture content to prevent warping and cracking down the road.  Each piece of solid wood furniture from The Amish Craftsman is unique in its own way.  This is because each tree has a unique grain pattern and therefore no two boards from a tree will look exactly alike.  That is the beauty of real wood!

2. CONSTRUCTION QUALITY:  More than anything else, our hand made Amish furniture is known for its construction quality.  Since the Amish don’t use electricity (yes, there are the old-time kerosene lamps in their shops to provide light!), many of the woodworking tools in their workshops are powered by hydraulic and pneumatic power.  A lot of them are run on diesel compressors or generators.  Many of their tools are still very traditional, like their hand planers and hand-drawn templates.  Some of the contraptions that we have seen in their shops are pretty ingenious.

legno33Amish builders avoid the use of nails and staples, opting for the more sturdy joinery techniques like dovetail and mortise and tenon.  This type of construction is more labor intensive, but it’s worth it because of the strength it adds to each piece. To ensure construction integrity, our builders often reinforce joints with glue, dowels, or screws. (It is important to note that these are not primary tools of assembly, but added for additional stability and durability.) Even the leg connections on tables are reinforced with a v-groove corner blocks, all for extra strength.

There are a few other details that we would be remiss to leave out. All drawer boxes are made with front AND back dovetail construction(each piece is cut to interlace at corners instead of weak dowels inserted into pieces to connect corners) and with full-extension drawer slides, which means not an inch of drawer space is lost or hidden in the back. Our builders also use high quality gear slides for table leaves, making it easy to open and close the table. Pins and tails of dovetail joint
Carpenter at work 3. FINISHING AND STAINING: It’s often overlooked, but finishing is a really important step in the process of delivering a beautiful piece of hand crafted Amish furniture that will stand the test of time. The beauty of our furniture is not only seen in the original wood and craftsmanship, but in the final stained and finished product. Also done by our Amish friends, the finishing process is a seven step process that results in a final product that is tough, durable and beautiful. Each piece is carefully hand sanded between each of the several coats of finish. A beautiful sheen is achieved by carefully hand rubbing the finish throughout the process. The way our furniture is finished is a time consuming task. But, no corners are cut in order to create a finish that is resistant to water, milk, alcohol, nail polish and many other common household materials. You can even pour boiling water on our finish, with no damage! (But please don’t … remember safety first!)

 

dresser