Vermont Woods Studios furniture is carefully finished with coatings that are clear, gentle and non-toxic. They are prepared to enhance the natural beauty of the wood and provide optimal protection for your wood furniture against the effects of moisture and normal wear. Finishes include natural linseed oil and wax, natural linseed oil enhanced with protective poly gel, low VOC lacquers, and even a custom whey-based natural varnish developed by the University of Vermont and Vermont Natural Coatings.
Our furniture is crafted from a variety of workshops across Vermont and each furniture maker has their own time-tested favorite finishes. The following are our most popular furniture finishes.
The furniture in our Modern American Furniture, Contemporary Craftsman Furniture and Modern Shaker Furniture Collections has a traditional hand-rubbed oil and wax finish comprised of many coats of natural linseed oils that condition the wood, provide moisture resistance and enhance the natural color and beauty of the wood. This finish produces a beautiful, rich patina but it does not seal the wood like the other finishes below. It is necessary to apply oil upon delivery and re-apply the oil periodically in order to maintain moisture resistance and the soft, supple feel that Vermont furniture has traditionally been famous for. We recommend re-applying oil once a day for the first week, once a week for the first month, once a month for the first year and once a year thereafter. The rich patina of natural wood is enhanced by frequent oiling, and several coats build up a protective layer. The final decision regarding how often to use oil is yours but we do advise that frequent re-oiling results in a deeper, richer, color. Please see our furniture care page for more information.
The furniture in our Cherry Moon, American Shaker and Vermont-Made Shaker Collections has a hand-rubbed finish comprised of natural linseed oils that condition the wood and poly gel that protects the wood from moisture. The tops of case goods receive a 3 coat finish: the base coat is a blend of linseed oil and poly gel, the next 2 coats are straight poly gel. Sides of case goods have 3 coats of linseed oil, with no poly gel. Dining table tops receive 5 coats of poly gel over the initial coat (a blend of linseed oil and poly gel). This blend of natural oil and poly gel offers a look and feel of natural oil, while providing greater resistance to spills and humidity changes. Care and maintenance of this furniture collection is easy. Tops of tables and case goods require routine dusting only. For sides of case goods and table legs, we do recommend application of linseed or lemon oil upon delivery and then about 1-3 times/year, depending on the humidity in your home.
The furniture in most of our collections (including: Copeland, American Mission, Modern Mission, Northup Craftsman, Andover, Brandon, Holland, Vermont Modern, New York, Modern Designer, New England Shaker, Classic Shaker, Renfrew Shaker, Smith Natural Vermont, Green Mountain, American Country and Norwich) has a clear, non-toxic lacquer finish that's formaldehyde-free, eco-friendly and contains no or low volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
The low-sheen, matte finish is very durable and easily maintained. It is proven to resist damage from common household liquids and moisture. The lacquer finish does not require re-oiling or maintenance. It is very durable while showcasing the natural beauty of the wood: a logical choice for families with young children. Although it is not necessary, you may feel free to use commercial polishing products on furniture that has a lacquer finish. If you choose to do so, be sure to use the same type of polish consistently. Your furniture may appear cloudy or streaky if oil-based and wax-based polishes are interchanged.
The wood in your Vermont Woods Studios furniture is natural solid hardwood and just as the trees in our forests are not identical, each individual piece of furniture has its own unique markings. As such you will notice the grain variations that help distinguish each piece as a unique work of art. It is not uncommon to find different grain contrasts in the same piece of solid wood furniture. The lighter grain was closer to the tree’s bark (sapwood) and the darker grain was closer to the tree’s center (heartwood). Grain variations and natural markings should not be viewed as flaws. They have absolutely no effect on your furniture’s durability or structural integrity. Mineral deposits and other characteristics are much like the nubs you find in fine fabrics such as silk and linen; they are true indications of genuine quality and authenticity. Cheaper furniture that is mass-produced is often made of low quality wood or plastic veneers that have undergone a multi-step chemical process of bleaching, texturizing and staining in order to masque these natural characteristics of wood. At Vermont Woods Studios we prefer the real thing.
Many of our artisans work with extraordinary figured wood boards that have curly, wavy or striped grain as well. If you are looking for this type of character wood, let us know. Tiger maple, curly cherry, birdseye maple, spalted maple and burl woods are just a few of the figured woods we can offer. Some customers like to be involved with selecting individual boards for their furniture and we can accommodate that either by arranging for a visit to our artisans' studios or through photos and email.
We avoid the use of rare exotic woods that are illegally clear-cut from the world's rapidly disappearing rainforests. Read more about our sustainable forestry and forest conservation efforts here.