August 10th, 2017
Wood is often underappreciated, and even taken for granted. But the truth is that there is a tremendous difference between old growth wood and new growth wood. The idea that “wood is wood” is simply inaccurate.
Just as there are substantial hardness and durability differences between particular types of wood, the same holds true when contrasting old growth wood and new growth wood. In this article, we will explore a few of the key benefits of old growth wood. When it comes to wood, old is quite often better.
Benefit #1 – Old Growth Wood is Tough, Very Tough
At the top of the list of reasons that you’ll want to consider old growth wood is its toughness. Old growth wood comes from trees that are old, often hundreds of years old. Old trees are denser and as a result much sturdier; after all, they have withstood the test of time!
It is no accident that old growth wood is prized. In fact, it is common for buildings that used old growth wood, such as old school buildings, barns and other older buildings to have their old growth wood reclaimed. If an old building is being torn down or renovated, builders often even go out of their way to reclaim and resell the old growth wood.
The durability and toughness of old growth wood means that it will always find a second or even third life whether in flooring or in wood furniture. Reclaimed old growth wood is often used to make long-lasting and impressive furniture; furniture that will stand the test of time.
The strength of reclaimed old growth wood has other benefits as well. Thanks to its strength, old growth wood can bear heavier loads. I has the capability to do so across considerably longer spans than new growth wood.
Benefit #2 – Old Growth Wood is Good for the Planet
Using old growth wood means using wood that has already been processed, and that means lowering your carbon footprint. New growth wood has another unexpected benefit. Not only has old growth wood not been recently cut down, but it also has not been processed and that saves energy.
These factors all add up to increase your carbon footprint. Opting to use old growth wood building materials, especially in a project like the building of a new home, can substantially improve a project’s overall sustainability. Using old growth wood is essentially an excellent form of recycling. Reclaimed timber builds both a strong home and helps the environment at the same time; it is a true win-win.
Benefit #3 – It’s Rot Resistant
No wood is rot proof, but old growth wood is far more rot resistant than new growth wood. As any woodworker or builder will tell you, water and wood don’t mix.
When it comes to the benefits of old growth wood, rot resistance ranks high on the list. Obviously no wood is rot proof, but old growth wood provides far more rot resistance than new growth wood. The same softness that makes new growth wood weaker than old growth wood also means that new growth wood is more susceptible to rot. Play it safe and opt for old growth wood whenever possible.
Benefit #4 – It’s Beautiful
There is a charm and appeal to old growth wood that is unique. Simply stated, old growth wood is stunning. The world’s most beautiful furniture and artwork is usually created with old growth wood. The intricate, natural patterns in old growth wood, patterns created over hundreds of years, cannot effectively be reproduced.
Looked at another way, old growth wood is a work of art created over time by nature and the results can yield unforgettable artwork and furniture.
The possibilities are virtually limitless for how old wood can be put into use in new applications.
It looks stunning when it is used for wood flooring, rustic furniture, musical instruments, exposed headers and even open beam ceilings. The truth is that the sky is the limit for what you can use this wood for; so feel free to use your imagination.
Benefit #5 – Not Quite as Attractive to Termites
No wood is rot proof. Likewise, no wood, not even an old growth hardwood, is termite proof. If only life were that easy. If you are living in a termite zone like the southern part of the United States, then no wood is potentially off limits to termites.
However, the good news here is that old growth wood is harder and denser, and that means termites are often less interested in it. New growth wood is a different story, for once again, new growth wood, being softer, is simply easier to chew through. Take a look at a close-up picture of the jaws on a termite and you’ll quickly realize just how quickly a group of hungry termites can gobble their way through new wood. Once again, old growth wood is a different story!
Benefit #6 – Heirloom Quality
Thanks to its great durability, whether it is a home, a table or any other item, anything made with old growth wood can be passed from one generation to the next. The cheap pressed wood furniture found in the big box stores isn’t built to last.
In fact, pressed wood furniture is literally in a constant state of decay. Your grandchildren won’t be using the pressed wood table you bought from your local big box store in fifty years, or likely even in fifteen. One of the key benefits of old growth wood is that it will, when properly cared for, last for generations.
Added together the benefits are clear. Old growth wood is special. People who know wood understand that old growth wood is superior to younger woods. Younger woods simply don’t have the durability or the visual appeal so often found in old growth wood. Furniture that uses old growth wood might be a little more expensive than other options, but for those looking for the best investment possible, one that will last a lifetime and beyond, there really is no replacement for old growth wood.
July 31st, 2017
You might not instantly associate real wood furniture with health benefits, but the bottom line is that there is a link between real wood furniture and health. A wide array of home products contains chemicals and additives that are unhealthy. Quite often, when people think about healthy products in the home, they think of food or perhaps cleaning supplies and furniture never even crosses their minds.
However, the kind of furniture we bring into our homes can have a major impact on our health and the health of our family in a variety of ways. One of the key facts to remember about furniture is that it is often quite large. Simply stated, if your furniture contains unhealthy compounds the size of furniture means that there is a great deal of that compound or compounds in your home. It’s can have a far greater impact than a toxic small household item that might simply be stored in a drawer somewhere. In this article, we will explore how selecting real wood can help you improve and protect your health. When you select naturally made hand crafted furniture, you ensure that you and your family breathe healthier air and get less exposure to toxins.
VOCs Never Take a Holiday
Most non-wood furniture and simulated wood furniture so often sold in the “big box stores” are made using a wide variety of chemicals. These chemicals are not inactive and do, in fact, keep off-gassing for not just months but in fact off-gas for years. Furniture and other items that we put in our homes such as carpeting product volatile organic compounds or VOCs.
Furniture and carpeting containing VOCs off-gas around the clock and unfortunately also do so 365 days a year. Many people are more sensitive to off-gassing than others. Building materials are often behind high levels of VOCs, and if you are living in a newly constructed building the odds are good that considerable off-gassing is taking place. If you are living in an older home then much of the off-gassing has likely already occurred; however, new furniture presents a potential problem.
Upholstered and Pressed Wood Furniture is Inferior to Real Wood Furniture
It is quite common for mass produced upholstered furniture and so-called “pressed wood” furniture, which is essentially a mixture of chemicals, glue and sawdust formed into the shape of furniture, to off-gas chemicals such as formaldehyde.
Formaldehyde is a known toxic compound and one that should be avoided. Children and particularly vulnerable to chemical exposure underscoring the importance of protecting children from products, such as pressed wood and upholstered furniture that are off-gassing.
Tighter Homes Mean Greater VOC Exposure
Currently there is a widespread movement to make homes “tighter” so that they are more energy efficient. One of the byproducts of having tighter, more energy efficient homes is that VOCs tend to get trapped inside where they are breathed, resulting in potential health consequences. There are two ways of reducing one’s risk of VOCs being trapped due to today’s tighter homes.
Additional Steps You Can Take to Safeguard Your Health Against VOCs
-Simply Avoid these Products
The first way is to simply avoid products that are high in VOCs in the first place, such as pressed wood and upholstered furniture. The second step is to make sure that one’s living space is well-ventilated and that a quality air purifier is used. Many air purifiers on the market use ozone, which is known to have a range of potential health problems. A safer approach is to use HEPA filter non-ozone, non-ionizing air purifier to help clean the air. Even taking a step as simple as opening up a window can help dramatically when it comes to lowering indoor air pollution and VOCs.
-Circumvent Flame Retardants
Another major problem with upholstered furniture and press wood furniture is that these low-cost, low-quality furniture options contain flame retardant chemicals. In short, flame retardant chemicals should be avoided whenever possible. Flame retardant chemicals are added to the foam in furniture, and there are conflicting opinions out there as to whether or not these chemicals even work.
What is known, however, is that flame retardant chemicals are harmful and pose a particular risk to the health and development of children. These chemicals have been linked to cancer, lower I.Q. in children and hormone problems. Avoiding furniture and other products with flame retardant chemicals in them is a prudent move, especially in furniture which is generally large and contains a large volume of these harmful chemicals.
-Skip the Stains
As mentioned earlier in this article, furniture is large. Upholstered furniture often has stain guards on it or consumers add stain guards after the fact. Stain guards are usually nothing more than a mixture of chemicals and they are not a permanent solution. Upholstered furniture will get dirty. Attempting to prevent the staining of upholstered furniture through the use of stains is only a short-term solution and serves to reduce indoor air quality.
Stain guards do, however, release VOCs and chemicals into your environment. Choosing well made wood furniture means that you and your family are not only avoiding the toxic compounds contained within the furniture, but also eliminating the need for stain guards altogether.
-Always Choose Real Wood
Opting for real wood furniture is one of the single greatest steps any consumer can take towards reducing flame retardant and VOC compounds in their homes. There are many chemicals in our environment and the majority of them have not been tested for their long-term impact on human health.
With this in mind, it only makes sense to reduce harmful chemical exposure whenever possible. Until greater safety regulations are put into place it is the job of the consumer to vote with his or her dollars. Not only is real wood furniture a safer option, but it is also an option that is better for the planet, as most upholstered furniture and pressed wood furniture has a high carbon footprint and uses petroleum in the manufacturing process. By contrast, real wood furniture is safer and much more durable.
July 31st, 2017
Brenda went eclectic with her new living room, mixing materials and upholsteries. Her cherry living room set is stained in Tawny, and she mixes pecan leather with Terry upholstery for both a look that is both luxe country and modern.
Above is the Cubic Sofa, the Heartland Slat Recliner, and end tables from AJ’s #3 Occasional Table Set. As Brenda explains, she ordered extra upholstery from us so her ottoman would match.
“We love our furniture! Thank you for all of your assistance in helping me put it together. Since you didn’t have the size of ottoman I was looking for, you went beyond and mailed the matching leather & fabric for me and I had it made elsewhere. Again, we couldn’t be happier. The products are just as described, you were great, and delivery was excellent also!”
Here is a picture of the back of the sofa. Brenda had it customized with solid panels on the back instead of slats all the way around.
We work with real craftsmen, so call us if you need customizations for your furniture order.
July 25th, 2017
The Larsens just bought a bedroom set in brown maple with Rich Tobacco stain. They chose a Venice Bed, a Monterey 3-Drawer Night Stand, and a matching Monterey 7-Drawer Dresser. The dark bed adds rich character to their relaxing neutral color scheme.
Cindi sent an enthusiastic letter along with her pictures:
“I purchased a bedroom set from Amish Furniture Factory. I love, love, love it. It is beautiful! It is extremely well made and solid wood with dovetail drawers. My husband said he did not want a matching night stand (on his side of the bed). Now he is sorry about that decision.
“This is not the first time I have purchased from Amish Furniture Factory. I bought a table four years ago. I loved my table so much I decided to buy American Made again!
“The delivery service by Simon was fantastic and when I order again, I will specifically request him. He will call/text you as to the time of delivery and will even send you a link to track where he is so you don’t have to miss so much work.
“Admittedly, my first time ordering, I was nervous, but for no reason! I have had no problems. The quality of the furniture is superior. I am confident in Amish Furniture Factory and their integrity.”
To finish off, let’s admire Cindi’s close-up of the bed’s headboard to show off the crown molding and the sheen of brown maple with Rich Tobacco finish.
June 29th, 2017
Without a doubt, Pennsylvania Amish Country has many attractions that consistently draw locals and tourists alike. Those interested in the Amish lifestyle, Amish crafts and, of course, some tasty Amish food flock to the area. But what about when you’re visiting and want to do something outside the world of the Amish. Are there other kinds of activities for tourists? The answer is definitely yes.
Those looking for the best of Amish Country will want to check out these five fun destinations in our article on the very best activities in South Central Pennsylvania.
Best Amish Country Activity Number #1 – The Gretna Theatre
Deemed “Broadway in Your Backyard” the Gretna Theater in Mount Gretna Pennsylvania is a real treat. This historic theater was launched back in 1927. Professional actors put on some impressive shows at the Gretna Theatre. In the past plays such as Neil Simon’s Biloxi Blues and Brighton Beach Memoirs to Cervantes’ Man of La Mancha and more have graced the stage at the Gretna Theatre.
Gretna Theatre has the distinction of being of only a handful of professional theatres in South-Central Pennsylvania. The impressive open-air pavilion-style venue seats over 700. Click here to check out Gretna Theatre’s website.
Best Amish Country Activity Number #2 – Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine and Steam Train
If you are looking for a truly unique and unforgettable experience that makes you feel like you’re traveling back in time, then you’ll want to check out the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine and Steam Train. This guided tour takes visitors into a real anthracite coal mine. Cars are pulled via a battery operated mine motor.
The steam train ride features a Henry Clay built steam locomotive that was constructed in 1920. The train ride enjoys many breathtaking views and lasts for approximately 30 minutes. Click here to learn more about Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine and Steam Train.
Best Amish Country Activity #3 – AvalancheXpress Snow Tubing at Heritage Hills Resort
Snow tubing anyone? There are some major benefits to visiting the Pennsylvania Amish country during the winter months. Snow tubing can certainly be a thrilling day spent outdoors. The AvalancheXpress Snow Tubing at Heritage Hills Resort is every bit as fun as it sounds. There are multiple downhill runs which include the “Xtreme” lanes. But if you are not an experienced tuber ready to tackle the “Xtreme” lanes don’t worry as AvalancheXpress Snow Tubing also has slower moving lanes and even lanes designed specifically for children. If you want to enjoy some great outdoor winter fun then check out AvalancheXpress Snow Tubing at Heritage Hills by visiting their website.
Best Amish Country Activity #4-Go ‘N Bananas
For those traveling with children or people just looking to blow off some steam and have a great time, Amish Country has just what you need. Kids across the age spectrum will love Go ‘N Bananas. This attraction is the go-to location in the region for those looking for a wildly diverse array of fun activities. At Go ‘N Bananas, visitors will find many diverse activities. Stating that Go ‘N Bananas is loaded with things to do is a major understatement.
If you are in the mood for bowling, Go ‘N Bananas has you covered with its Mini Bowling lanes. There is also two areas dedicated to laser fun: Laser Tag and Laser Mazes. The Laser Mazes uses lasers, mirrors and haze to challenge visitors to make it from one end of the maze to the other. Go ‘N Bananas’ Laser Tag is a state-of-the-art facility that uses multi colored LED vests and phasers with color laser beams. The 3,800 square feet area is filled with haze, lit with black light and is equipped with an art lighting and sound system. There is fun for up to 24 people on two levels.
Other fun areas include the bumper car Spin zone area, the Game Zone which features such classics as skee-ball and even a Toddler Zone created specifically for safe toddler fun. Learn more about Go ‘N Bananas which is also available for birthday parties by visiting the Go ‘N Bananas website.
Best Amish Country Activity #5-Thistle Finch Distillery
Thistle Finch Distillery is Lancaster County’s only operating distillery. Located in what was the Walter Schnader Tobacco Warehouse, the building is on the National Register of Historic Places. There are tours available and free samples. There is no reservations required to visit the tasting room and distillery.
At Thistle Finch Distillery, you’ll find everything from whiskey by the glass to cocktails and more. You can even buy bottles of award winning White Rye Whisky, Penn Square Vodka and Market Alley Gin. Thistle Finch Distillery’s whiskey is made from locally sourced grained and in small batches. In fact, 90% of Thistle Finch Distillery’s whiskey is made from grains coming from Lancaster and Lebanon counties in Pennsylvania.
Adding further distinction of their whiskey is the fact that their whiskey is a unique grain bill of 60% rye, 30% wheat and 10% malted barley. Additionally, the whiskey is made in a hand-constructed copper pot still. All of these factors add up to help create a truly memorable whiskey. Tours are given on Saturday at 1:00pm, 2:30pm and 4:00 as well as Sunday at 1:00pm. Learn more about this unique distillery by visiting Thistle Finch Distillery’s website.
Amish Country has much to offer. While we have covered five great entertainment and educational options, there are actually many more. The attractions we’ve looked at in this article truly only represent a fraction of what Amish Country has to offer. This is a very beautiful area that will be exciting to explore any time of year.
The simple fact is that Amish County is loaded with so much to do that it is difficult to keep track of all the options. When you visit the Lancaster region of Pennsylvania, you will be impressed by the diversity of the area and the friendliness of its people.
May 21st, 2017
Quality furniture made from real wood can literally last for generations. This simple fact is at the root of why real wood furniture is such a good investment. Of course, as we are Amish Furniture Factory, it likely will come as no surprise that we feel that way. But there are a variety of reasons why that is the case. It isn’t just about appearance, wood is a healthier material and it will also pay off in giving you years of trouble-free use.
Cheap furniture, made from so-called manufactured board, which is really just a combination of glues, chemical binders and wood fragments, can’t possibly measure up to good old fashioned authentic wood. Inexpensive furniture comes with a range of problems and issues. For example, cheap furniture may look good at first, but it doesn’t last. That means that you will have to go through the trouble of replacing it sooner than later.
Another key problem with cheap furniture is that since it is usually made from a combination of chemicals and wood fragments, this kind of furniture tends to release harmful VOCs or volatile organic compounds into the air. Most people understandably don’t think about air pollution when they buy furniture, but the simple fact is that cheap wood furniture can degas for many years to come. That means that it can negatively impact your health and the health of your family.
Since real wood furniture is an investment, it only makes sense to do everything you can to protect that investment. In this article, we are going to explore five tips for how you can protect your real wood furniture so that it is continue to last and last.
#1 Treat Wood Furniture Right and It Will Last for Decades
The most basic way to protect wood furniture is to exercise basic care of your furniture. In other words, you shouldn’t leave your wood furniture outdoors unless that furniture has been specially treated to be outdoors.
Likewise, for your indoor furniture you will want to take steps to protect it from moisture and heat; after all, real wood furniture, while durable, is not indestructible. A degree of care must be given to even the toughest wood furniture if that furniture is to last for years to come.
#2 Protect Wood Furniture from Moisture and Damage
Another step in protecting wood furniture is to finish that furniture. Unfinished wood furniture is more susceptible to damage, especially from moisture. There are many non-toxic ways to finish your wood furniture so that it will last for decades.
Finishing or treating unfinished wood furniture is something that you may want to consider. It is, however, important to exercise caution if you are finishing or treating your own furniture. Many finishes and treatments on the market contain potentially harmful chemicals. For this reason, you should know what ingredients are in a given finish or treatment and then take necessary precautions when applying those treatments.
#3 Exercise Proper Health and Safety Precautions When Treating or Finishing Wood
In general, it is best to apply any finishes or treatments in a well-ventilated area, even outdoors if possible, and gloves and even as face mask should be used. Additionally, it is critically important to keep children and pets out of your work area when you are finishing or treating wood furniture. Most finishes and treatments will release vapors that can harm lungs and even damage your body.
While finishes and treatments are a great way to preserve your wood furniture, care must be exercised. Once you have applied a treatment or finish to your wood furniture, you will want to let that furniture dry in an area far from your family and pets.
If you are thinking about breathing new life into your old wood furniture there are some steps you should take. Refinishing wood furniture usually means sanding, and that means you will be causing a lot of wood particles to be released into the air. Just as it is necessary to wear a respirator or mask when applying finishes and treatments, the same holds true for sanding wood. Refinishing your furniture can be rewarding and a lot of fun but it is important to take the necessary safety precautions.
#4 Remember that Oil and Wood are a Winning Combination
There are many simple steps you can take to protect your wood furniture. One of the first steps in protecting wood is to use oil. Coating your wood with a safe oil, such as tung oil, every couple of years will help keep your wood in great shape.
There are other oil options as well. Many people have great results with a mineral oil and even coconut oil. Yes, even an oil as “simple” as coconut oil can yield positive results. Before you apply any oil to your wood you should clean the area. Once you have finished applying the oil be sure to wipe up any excess oil. You may discover that it is necessary to apply more than one coating to your wood to achieve your desired results.
#5 Enjoy Your Furniture
In summary, taking care of real wood couldn’t be any easier. Wood is tough and will last and last. It will be durable and look fantastic for many years to come. Once you place it in your home, you really can sit back and relax. With following just a few simple steps, your wood furniture should be trouble-free and even an heirloom that you can pass down to future generations.
While we have outlined some of the different steps you can take to enhance the longevity and appearance of your wood, that is not to state that wood isn’t tough. Wood hasn’t been one of the most preferred building materials of humanity for centuries by accident. It is incredibly durable and if you follow the tips in this article you can enjoy your real wood furniture for decades.
A piece of high-quality, well-built wood furniture will, in fact, last not just for decades but for centuries. The time you invest in taking care of your wood furniture is time well-spent.
May 9th, 2017
Stacy and Joe love their new Albany Single Pedestal Dining Table. This round table is in oak with two-tone stain. The top is in Acorn, and the base is stained in Ebony.
In order to get a custom stain like two-tone, they gave us a call. We also sent them wood samples in their stain colors so they could see them without a screen altering what they looked like. Stacy can tell you about the process:
When we were looking for a specific table for our limited space, we found Amish Furniture Factory. Laura was so helpful in choosing the right combination of stains, and being available every step of the way. We got samplings in the mail so quick. The entire process was so easy and pleasant, from ordering to delivery. Peter was so caring when he came to our home with our new beautiful table. We are thrilled that we ordered with Amish Furniture Factory!
THANKS AGAIN, we are so happy with our new table!
Stacy & Joe
The Albany is a round table but it can accept leaves. Here is Stacy and Joe’s table with two leaves without skirts.
Do you have a round table? How often do you put the leaves in? Join the discussion in the comments.
May 4th, 2017
Barbara chose a Carlisle Oval Dining Table with two self-storing leaves. One leaf has a skirt. The table is oak with Sealy stain.
Barbara details her positive shopping experience for us:
I was frustrated trying to find a table for our remodeled farm house. I decided to try the Amish Furniture Factory on-line because I knew they made fine furniture. I was amazed at how easy it was to peruse all the styles, sizes and options. I made my selections but was uncertain about the stain color. They have a solution for that also—just ask for samples of the colors you think might work.
Color sampling is an important part of the furniture selection process. Here is how different Barbara’s table looks at night:
Barbara continues: It was so easy and made the final selection certain. I made up my on-line order and then waited for some weeks before I could get the courage to call about details. The friendly customer service representative answered all my questions so that I felt comfortable to place my order. I was not disappointed! The furniture is gorgeous and quality. The finale of my experience was the stellar delivery—personal and protected right into my house. Thank you Amish Furniture Factory people!
Barbara also bought a Traditional Barrister Bookcase in the same color. Her cat approves.
April 26th, 2017
The Allens are happy to show you their new Jansen Bar Chairs in cherry with a natural finish. The simple bar chairs complement the natural materials which characterize their whole kitchen design.
Madeline was pleased to write to us:
I would be happy to share our thoughts on our recent purchase. We were extremely happy with the whole process and the bar chairs are perfect! The crew that delivered them also was great. We would definitely purchase from you again.
These heirloom bar stools fit perfectly into their kitchen’s clean and simple look, not least because the whole kitchen has been designed to last a lifetime.
Where do you use natural materials in your home? Join the discussion in the comments.
April 25th, 2017
Here is Mariah’s new Imperial Single Pedestal Dining Table and Savannah Dining Chairs in quarter-sawn white oak with a Windswept Glazed finish.
The Imperial is a round table, and Mariah chose the 48” top. The Savannah chair complements this shape with its three horizontal back slats that curve outward. With leaves, an elogated round table conveys a joy that sets it apart from rectangular tables, with the round ends giving the impression of refinement. Mariah takes advantage of this shape for summer entertaining.
Says Mariah, Just wanted to let you know we are so pleased with our table and chairs. It is so beautiful and perfect for the holidays! The table is so well made, and we love the gear system for opening the table to put the leaves in. And thank you for the (Amish) cookbook.