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.

Amish Furniture & Craftsmanship

The Amish name is synonymous with beautiful and high-quality solid wood furniture. Amish creations are made exclusively of solid wood and thus are strong and durable, built to last for many generations. This quality wood is rendered beautiful by superior workmanship that is unequaled in a modern world where nearly every product on the market is mass-produced. Furniture making has become an art form in Amish culture, crafted not so much due to personal pride but as a special form of worshipping their God through action.

Always Amish craftsmen take great care in selecting the right wood for their project. Oak and quartersawn oak are the predominant woods used in the construction of most pieces, but sometimes projects call for other woods such as cherry, maple, hickory, black walnut, cedar, and even pine. Prized for its beautiful grain lines and honey coloration, oak is widely distributed in the United States and Canada. But other types of wood fit other styles, such as cherry for Queen Anne pieces. Cedar makes a great wood for storage chests, in that its lovely scent is perfect for storing clothing and other linens. Another popular choice is either hickory or maple, which are both light colored and extremely hard.

The most recognizable styles of Amish furniture are Mission, Shaker, and Queen Anne, but designs range from artfully simple to ornately curved. Pieces come in a variety of other styles, including Traditional/Heritage, Contemporary, Bavarian, Bunker Hill, Carlisle, Hampton, McCoy, Modesto, Slat Mission, Shaker Hill, Spring Hill, Rio Grande, Royal Mission, West Lake, Southwestern, Rustic, Cottage, and Beachfront. Mission and Shaker designs feature simple square designs; other styles have much more curve and ornamentation, such as Queen Anne and Bunker Hill. Most Amish furniture available today is made by Amish woodworkers from the Lancaster and Indiana communities, but styles can vary from area to area. Each woodworker adds his own individual touch to his work, so any Amish piece you acquire will be unlike any other.

Whether you are looking to furnish your bedroom, living room, kitchen, dining room, or home
wood office furniture, there are Amish pieces available. It seems that the most popular pieces, however, are beds, dressers, and oak dining sets. Acquiring a matching set for any room will help create a distinctive room décor. There are also heirloom-quality baby cribs and rocking chairs available if you’re looking for a more distinctive piece. For the newest trend in Amish furniture, look for outdoor pieces for your patio or deck. No matter what you have in mind, there is definitely something for everyone.

To this day the Amish remain free from electricity. However, they do take advantage of diesel generators to power pneumatic or hydraulic tools to mill and construct their fine furniture pieces. The use of these generators doesn’t contradict Amish belief systems, because they remain in Amish control whereas electricity is supplied and controlled by the outside world. The generators are nice, because they allow more time for the final finish detail work to still be done by hand. The craftsman also spends time carefully selecting each piece of wood, so that the colors and wood grains work together to create a harmonious effect. Once an older son completes his formal schooling, his father will then train him in all the particulars of woodworking, passing his expertise on to the next generation.

In years past, you could only find Amish furniture in antique shops and local stores. But today a large number of these local shops offer online shopping and Amish furniture has become accessible to the world. Online availability is set up by “English” intermediate businessmen who either buy directly from the Amish or work with them to establish and manage an online storefront.

How To Warm Your Bath

Nothing is more luxurious in winter than a warm bathroom. Happily, almost anyone can achieve this luxury without sacrificing period style or overrunning your budget. Many of the most desirable options are also the most affordable. For instance, plug-in electric towel warmers can be had for under $150, whereas overhead rain shower fixtures start at around $60. For as little as $200, you can easily find a good pressure-balance mixer. At the other end of the spectrum, for those with money to spend, you may want to consider a jetted pedestal tub or steam shower system, which might set you back a few thousand dollars.

If you’re in the market for a towel warmer or radiator, they come in two basic styles: the traditional round tube shape and the flat-panel “Euro” style. Another option is a tubular towel-warming basket. This handy basket can be mounted in tight spaces to keep hot fluffy towels within easy reach.

Every towel warmer will generate heat, but some of the more powerful hard-wired versions can rightly be considered radiators. Inexpensive electric models that put out 100 watts or so are great, because they not only dry the towels in the bathroom but also reduce dampness and mildew. If they’re sized and placed properly, the more powerful hard-wired electric or hydronic towel radiators can easily heat larger spaces. Even better, neither gets too hot to touch. An electric towel warmer should only reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Hydronics can range between 120 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on how hot you keep the system. These radiators can provide your bathroom with zoned heating.

When choosing a unit, you need to consider the amount of tile or stone, the type and location of existing heat sources such as steam radiators or forced air, and how many windows. A good dealer can help you find the perfect unit to suit your needs. If you can’t even fit a small towel warmer, see if you can find room along the baseboard for a couple of horizontal radiator panels, which should keep your tiny bath nice and warm.

When it comes down to it, however, it’s the water in the bath or shower that warms the most. Especially if you are upgrading the shower anyway, be sure to install a pressure-balanced or thermostatic mixing valve. Inexpensive and simple, a pressure-balance valve will keep the water pressure in the shower constant, preventing sudden fluctuations in water temperature caused by such incidents as a flushed toilet, for instance.

If you’re looking for a more sophisticated system, then consider a thermostatic valve, which mixes hot and cold water to fairly precise temperatures (within one degree Celsius of the setting). You can count on these valves to regulate fluctuations in the incoming water pressure as well.

For a truly luxurious valve, plan on spending at least $1,000, although you can easily spend more. Conveniently, many of these mixers are available in suites that include period-inspired shower heads and cross-handled knobs or levers. Even better, some come with memory settings. This feature allows each family member to choose and record a preferred shower temperature for the perfect shower every time.

If you can’t get enough humidity in winter and you love your shower, a steam shower is another great option. To install one, you’ll probably need a major retrofit, since there must be a spot for the generator and you may have to make modifications for the steam shower doors. On the upside, you’ll use very little water for a twenty-minute steam: only about two gallons. But a basic system starts at around $3,000, including the generator, steam head, and temperature controls. Once you’ve added any extras such as stereo speakers, light, and aromatherapy packages, the price will go up.

Are you one of those people who prefer an old-fashioned tub for your bath? Reproduction roll-top designs with claw feet begin at about $1,000, and you can choose between either cast iron or the more environmentally friendly acrylic. Unsurpassed for soaking, these deep tubs also come in double-ended styles that accommodate two, or multiple children. You can specify claw feet in the style and finish of your choice, so your new tub will complement any décor. For a dramatic flair, you can go with a custom-made tub in copper, steel, marble, and even teak.

If your dream bath is a traditional tub with a water- or air-jet system, your best bet is to go with a pedestal or Roman tub. The skirt will conceal the tubes and motor. Any bathtub can be turned into a home spa with strategically placed jets. A fully equipped air-jet tub isn’t cheap. Expect to pay upward of $4,000.

Leon Tuberman ownes a manages a Los Angeles furniture store that specializes American made solid furniture that's handmade with the best material and using the finest building techniques. Whether your looking oak bookcases or oak file cabinets they have exactly what you need.