Buy Amish Oak Furniture

When the first Amish arrived in the United States, they primarily settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. As populations grew, settlements spread and there are now major settlements in Holmes and adjoining counties in northeast Ohio, and in Elkhart and nearby counties in northeastern Indiana. All of these communities are surrounded by forests filled with White and Red Oak, as well as Cherry, Maple, Hickory, and Black Walnut. Always self-sufficient, the Amish have taken full advantage of this bounty of beautiful wood to build their own furniture.

During the past century, the primary occupation of farming has been supplemented by woodworking. At first, the general public could only purchase Amish furniture directly from an Amish shop or nearby retailer. But now Amish woodworkers cooperate with “English” businessmen who distribute their goods worldwide via the Internet and we can all enjoy the beauty of Amish craftsmanship in our own homes. First the wood is plain sawn or quartersawn in “English” or Amish mills. Not only is the plain-sawn technique faster, but it produces a wide and long open grain effect, accented by long dark lines that reveal the growth rings. Rough to the touch, these growth ring lines create a textured surface. You’ll find that most dining tables and wooden dressers are crafted from plain-sawn oak. Amish furniture makers prize quartersawn oak for its beautiful rayflake grain designs. It is also resistant to the effects of atmospheric moisture. When cut this way, white oak is very durable. If properly finished, it will not likely rot, decay, cup, twist, or crack.

The problem with the quartersawn milling technique is that it’s very labor intensive. The first step involves cutting a whole log lengthwise into quarter rounds. The quarter rounds are then cut perpendicular to the growth rings, rotating the length 90 degrees back and forth with each cut. The end result is a feathered or furry grain both beautiful and strong. In contemporary Amish mills, this cutting is now done using saws powered by diesel generators. The generators are an allowed form of electricity because the Amish retain control of the power source.

Once the wood is processed, the Amish craftsman carefully chooses the perfect piece of lumber from the mill offerings for each piece of furniture. With an artist’s eye, he will select complementary pieces to create a lasting masterpieces for any home. Generations-old techniques are employed in the construction of each custom piece from a dining table to oak dining room chair. Dovetail joints are used for drawers, and slats and support pieces are connected in the mortise and tenon fashion. Each piece is finished with exceptional care, following multiple sanding and finish-application steps. A properly cared for Amish furnishing will retain its original finish for its lifetime.

The traditional methods of handmade solid wood Amish furniture construction stand out in direct contrast to imitation mass-produced furniture imported from overseas, which is usually made of particle board and veneer. Be sure to carefully inspect any prospective furniture; there are many of these imitation Amish-style furniture items on the market, and you want to get what you’ve paid for. By purchasing a genuine Amish furniture item you are making an investment in an item of decorative utility that will last for generations.

The Elegance of Amish Bedroom Furniture

The bedroom is a place of rest and refuge, and its furniture should reflect peace and security. Well-made Amish furniture can provide just that. Amish furniture is crafted by hand using the best traditional furniture-making techniques known today. Fathers and sons work side by side, building furniture that will endure for generations. Only the best woods are used, selected for their superior quality and beautiful grain. You can trust that each piece of genuine Amish furniture is crafted of solid wood construction, with no particle board or veneers.

Amish furniture requires a substantial investment, but it will far exceed your expectations. When considering Amish furnishings, look for the highest quality construction materials and techniques. Make sure each piece is crafted of solid wood; this includes solid wood backs on upright pieces such as dressers. A variety of woods are available; most common are oak, quartersawn oak, cherry, maple, hickory, and sometimes pine. The best quality hardwoods are always kiln-dried. This insures proper moisture content, which helps to prevent splitting and cracking throughout the life of the piece.

If you are looking for an entire bedroom set or a single piece like wood dressers, be sure to carefully examine the construction. Using generations-old techniques to build solid and enduring works, the Amish are renowned for their handcrafted furniture. For pieces such as dressers, nightstands, chest of drawers, armoires, and chifferobes, check that they have quality drawers that will hold up under rigorous daily use. The dovetail joints holding the fronts and backs of the drawer boxes together should have very tight tolerances. Also keep in mind that French dovetail joints have less storage capacity than English ones. Don’t forget to inspect the drawer slides to make sure they ride smoothly in both directions.

As the centerpiece of a bedroom set, beds should always be constructed with solid-wood side rails and slats. This will eliminate the need for metal mattress frames. The cross slats should always be tongue-and-grooved or doweled into the side rail. Beds that are constructed in this manner will be extremely sturdy with no swaying. For headboards and footboards, look to be sure they’re constructed with full mortise and tenon joinery, further providing superior strength. Although beds are available in many different styles, most common are Mission, Shaker, Sleigh, or Traditional. However, true Amish-made furniture can be custom-ordered to fit your exact needs.

Be sure to also consider the finish when selecting a quality piece of heirloom Amish wood bedroom furniture. The best craftsmen will ensure a smooth surface inside and out by sanding down the wood in several steps. Some shops follow a five-step process to finish each piece of furniture, using a top-grade catalyzed finish so strong it’ll stand up to acetone nail polish remover. Through this process, every surface—from top to side to underside—is finished and sealed to protect your investment for years to come.

The Amish Family and Dinner

One of the central elements of Amish culture is family. Amish couples generally have seven to ten children, and the family unit is often made larger by elderly members. As you can imagine, in an Amish household meal times are often quite lively. Since the fathers and older sons work nearby in fields or workshops, and mothers and older daughters work around the house, the entire family is able to gather together for daily meals. The Amish consider this to be a treasured time of family sharing and bonding, something we rarely see in our busy world. The Amish also maintain close ties with extended family and members of the local settlement community, and it is not uncommon for them to spend their free time visiting during meals. Weekly church gatherings are also held around the family dining table, as well as the large wedding celebrations held by the Amish.

Amish woodworkers labor long and hard to provide high quality and enduring oak tables, wooden dining chairs and dining furniture for their families, communities, and the “English” around them. The effort is worth it, as each craftsman gains great satisfaction in creating heirloom pieces that reflect Amish values of utility, simplicity, and excellence. Not only are they built in the Amish tradition from the finest wood, but these superior pieces become centerpieces in the home, complementing the family meal-time tradition. In the interim, they live with the bride’s family and seek out foundational pieces to build upon, including a dining table. They know that their dining table will become a treasured, long-lasting heirloom as it proves its worth over and over again as a centerpiece for family bonding.

While large family gatherings to celebrate special events and holidays have always been part of American culture, many families today have rediscovered the value of regular family meal times. More and more people are actively striving to reinstate this crucial time of family bonding in their own daily routines. As more and more gather round the table, many families are choosing to add significance to traditional meals and special family gatherings with a durable Amish-made dining set or oak dining table.

Farming has traditionally been the mainstay of the Amish economy, but high land prices and a growing population have forced many young men to pursue a craft such as furniture building. Outbuildings are often converted to woodshops, or otherwise new buildings are built to house new woodworking businesses. With a growing number of craftsmen, a thriving market for handcrafted Amish furniture has developed. With so many woodworking shops, a wide variety of furniture has become available in many styles. Amish furniture can even be custom-ordered according to preferences in wood type, leg style, skirting, dimensions, and finish. Traditionally, Amish craftsmen sell their creations directly from their own shops, but many have now partnered with local “English” businessmen to distribute their goods in nearby stores or over the Internet.

Amish dining sets are available in a wide variety of styles, including Mission, Shaker, Windsor, Queen Anne, French Country, Hoosier, sheaf-backed, Franklin, Malibu, Portland, and more contemporary designs. Amish craftsmanship dictates that you will never find imitations or laminates. Rather every piece is crafted from the highest quality woods, such as solid oak, cherry, walnut, maple, and pine. In selecting a dining table, you need to consider the leg supports, which might be the basic four legs, trestle or pedestal. Likewise, table tops can be circular, oval, square, rectangular, or octagonal, and leaf styles come in side drop, separate center, or stowleaf.