real wood furniture
Vermont’s Home to Some of Today’s Best Craftsman Furniture
Around the turn of the 20 century, Gustav Stickley was perhaps the most famous maker of craftsman furniture. But in contemporary times, you’ll find some of the best Craftsman style designers building high end furniture right here in Vermont.
Today’s Craftsman furniture retains the robust solid wood architecture and attention to detail of the originals by Stickley, Greene and Greene and others. But it often incorporates lighter, modern elements adapted from Asian furniture styles. The Contemporary Craftsman furniture shown above is handcrafted in Burlington, Vermont of solid maple wood with black walnut accents.
I think the gentle curves in the legs and drawer pulls change the personality of Craftsman furniture from HEAVY and strong to light and cheerful. This photo is one a customer kindly submitted (thanks Neil!). The pretty floral print (and adorable puppy) really tops off the modern craftsman style they’ve created for their bedroom, don’t you think?
The Cherry Moon Furniture Collection
Here’s another customer photo of what I’ll call Vermont Craftsman furniture. It’s our Cherry Moon bedroom, handmade in Montpelier, VT. This bedroom set is made of all solid cherry wood with black walnut accents (drawer pulls). Here the curves are still graceful, but in different places. This cherry wood furniture is a couple years old, so it has darkened to a rich reddish brown color. If it’s hard to see the details and craftsmanship, check out our Cherry Moon collection and click on the photos for larger images. Robin’s attention to detail creates a beautiful result: timeless furniture to enjoy for the rest of your life.
More Vermont Craftsman Furniture
We have a number of other craftsman and mission style furniture collections on our website. All can be customized with two toned wood combinations (maple and black walnut, cherry and black walnut) like those you see here. We also carry the Frank Lloyd Wright Furniture collection by Copeland Furniture and custom Craftsman Collection by Chad Woodruff of Vernon, VT.
To learn more about Craftsman Furniture, visit our showroom or check out our Vermont Furniture Encyclopedia.
A number of customers have phoned and emailed us recently asking what happened to Copeland Furniture in our online shopping store. Not to worry, it’s still here. We apologize. We’ve had a couple issues with the Copeland section of our website and we’re working as fast as we can to get them corrected. If you’re looking to shop online for Vermont made furniture and can’t find what you need on our website, please give us a call.
Thanks for your continued support of our work at Vermont Woods Studios.
I’ve been looking for a widely accepted definition of “solid wood furniture“. I’m finding the same thing as 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 walnut. 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 and 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 if possible. 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.
The northeast is the birthplace of Shaker style furniture in the United States. For over two centuries the Shaker style has been admired for it’s simplistic aesthetics and sturdy design. It has become an inspiration to many contemporary furniture designs, and has become our most popular style.
Vermont Woods Studios offers six Shaker furniture
collections to include over 200 pieces of Shaker influenced furniture, ranging from traditional designs to Shaker style furniture with a modern flair. Our traditional Shaker style furniture can be found in the New England Shaker Furniture, Classic Shaker Furniture, and Renfrew Shaker Furniture collections, while our more modern designs are included in the Modern Shaker Furniture, Vermont Shaker Furniture, and American Shaker Furniture collections. However, all of the furniture features simple, clean lines similar to the original pieces in the late 1700′s.
Our Annual Fall Shaker Sale begins today! Save 10% on one piece, 15% on two pieces, and 20% on three or more pieces (plus free shipping)! Your fine wood furniture will also be backed by a lifetime guarantee! Start shopping today conveniently from our online gallery. This sale ends on Tuesday, October 2nd at midnight.