Furniture & Design
Thursday, January 22nd, 2015
Most people know what dining table leaves are, but this somewhat technical description up will serve as a great review or fill in any knowledge gaps that you might have about how they work.
Dining table leaves are slabs of wood typically 12″ wide with a length, thickness, wood type, and finish color that matches the top of the table they are designed to fit with. Leaves are designed to match the table top so when they are inserted in between the two halves of the table, the leaves and the table top blend together.
The sole purpose of dining table leaves are to allow the table to extend to greater lengths, thus allowing more seating capacity. Often times multiple leaves are purchased at the time the table was purchased to get a perfect stain match. It is not uncommon, however, to additional leaves to be purchased later by having a stain match done by the finisher.
When purchased with a new table, the edge profile of the leaves will be built to match the rest of the table top edge profile, so if you are purchasing the table leaves after the initial purchase, be sure to send the builder the edge profile of your current table to they will match by etching onto a piece of pater or drawing a precise sketch.
Other factors to consider when purchasing extension leaves is adding leaf skirts, and adding a leaf storage option to your table if it’s available on the table model you are looking at purchasing. Leaf skirts make the table more attractive when the leaves are in the table, and storage adds convenience by making easier to store the leaves
There are other types of leaves as well, which are not to be confused with extension leaves covered in this discussion. The butterfly leaf, and the drop leaf also serve to extend the length of the table to create greater seating capacity, but function differently and are an aesthetic variant of extension leaves.
Thursday, January 15th, 2015
The third and final part of our video series on our finishing process has arrived. So far, we have visited the Amish staining shop in Wakarusa, Indiana, where workers disassemble and prepare furniture. In Part 2, we watched the first spray and viewed a few safety devices in the shop. Finally, we are ready to show the final clear coats.
Notice how I said, “clear coats,” not “clear coat.” Amish shop workers in safety masks take each freshly stained piece and apply a clear sealing coat to protect both the wood and the stain from things like moisture. They gently sand this coat to make it smooth, then blast off the dust with compressed air to get ready for the final coat. The final clear coat adds more protection and also gives the hardwood furniture a beautiful sheen. After these pieces dry, workers reassemble them into perfectly stained furniture. Finally, we ship them to eager customers.
Thank you for watching our video series on our three-day finishing process. If you have any questions, feel free to connect in the comments, on social media, or by calling or emailing us.
Monday, January 5th, 2015
Part 2 of our video series on our finishing process is here. In Part 1, we showed you around the shop and explained how to prepare furniture for staining. Now, Part 2 details the first spray over furniture, shows you a few safety devices the shop has in place, and explains how Amish employees ensure a smooth quality of stain.
Our third and final staining video is almost here, so get ready.
Sunday, December 21st, 2014
The largest purchase and investment that most people ever make is their home. For this reason, getting the most out of your home when it comes time to sell is a must. In fact, many people depend on the resale value of their home to fund their retirement, put their kids through college and make substantial life changes. In other words, selling your home is a pretty big deal. With this fact in mind, shouldn’t you do everything that you can do to increase your home’s value?
There are many different kinds of home improvements and quite a few of those improvements can be quite expensive. Adding a bathroom, remodeling your attic space to add a bedroom or overhauling your kitchen can all help to reshape your home, but such projects are both time-consuming and costly. However, there are many ways that you can take matters into your own hands. In the process, you can increase the resale value of your home.
DIY Project Number #1-Painting
It is difficult to overstate the importance of painting. The older the home, the more benefit can often be had with a simple coat of paint. What makes this DIY project so interesting is that the impact of painting can be greatly accentuated via color selection.
Odds are that no one really knows your home better than you; after all, you’ve seen your home and the rooms in your home at different times of the day and in all sorts of light. As a result, you have a good idea of what colors will likely work the best for a given room.
Do you have old cabinets in your home, such as kitchen cabinets? Replacing kitchen cabinets can cost a bundle and few people feel ready to tackle such an improvement on their own. If your cabinets are structurally sound, then painting them could be an excellent way to spend a few hours on the weekend. Painting your cabinets could serve to transform the look and feel of your kitchen literally overnight!
The right color choices can give a home and in fact your entire home a facelift. Even if you are not an expert painter, selecting the right paint choices can go a long way towards making your home feel new, vibrant and fresh. People positively react to a touch of color. By investing the time to contemplate the right color choice for a given room, you can increase your home’s appeal and resale value.
DIY Project Number #2-Cleaning
You may feel that it takes a certain degree of skill to do a good painting job, but cleaning is a totally different issue. However, as simple as cleaning is, many people miss some very basic points.
For example, it is important to make a list of what you will clean and why. It helps to try to put yourself in the shoes of a prospective buyer. If you were evaluating a home what areas would you want to see cleaned?
Most people will realize with great ease the areas that should definitely be cleaned such as the “scary basement” or the cluttered garage, but other areas are a different story. Areas such as behind furniture, the backs of closets, behind toilets and other such tucked away spots shouldn’t be ignored.
A clean home is a home that will have more value. When prospective buyers walk into a home and see that it is clean, they feel that the home is cared for and is thus likely to be in good shape.
The flip side of the cleaning coin is to organize your home and throw out as much clutter as possible. A cluttered home will fail to give as good of an impression as an organized one.
DIY Project Number #3-First Impressions, They Matter
So you’ve painted, cleaned and organized. Thanks to all your hard work, your home has been transformed, and you’ve done it all for the costs of some painting supplies. That stated, there is one more area that deserves your attention and that is the outside of your home.
Now you may not be able to handle painting the outside of your home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make some major progress. Cleaning the outside of your home is a must, but that is only the beginning. Help your home shine brighter by adding inexpensive but eye-catching plants and, if possible, plant one or two additional trees.
Your backyard shouldn’t be ignored either. The addition of a simple wooden bench to your backyard instantly elevates the space. These changes are simple, but can pay off in a major way.
DIY Project Number #4-Inside and Out
Some DIY home value boosters help both the inside and outside of your home. When it comes to making a great impression, consider your window treatments. New and clean window treatments can help improve your curb appeal while at the same time making the inside of your home more attractive.
Sometimes just tossing your drapes in the wash and ironing them can make a big difference. If you have blinds, be sure to thoroughly clean and dust them before presenting your home to the public. Clean and fresh window treatments can give your home a level of polish that goes a long way. And this touch doesn’t have to cost much money at all.
DIY Project Number #5- Select Some Quality Furniture
We’re Amish Furniture Factory, so, of course, we had to add furniture to the list! The fact of the matter is that people will evaluate your home by the quality of your tables, chairs, bedframes, bookcases, etc. Why do you think so many people pay interior staging companies to replace their furniture?
The good news is that by selecting a few impressive stately pieces of furniture, you can transform the look of your interior rooms. Sometimes it just takes a really nice chair, a gorgeous hutch, or a fantastic bed frame to improve the overall impression of a home.
Perhaps best of all is that these 5 DIY tips work together in a synergistic fashion. Put all of these tips to use, and you’ll discover that with a very small budget and just a modest amount of time, that your home has been transformed. You’ll love the results, and your home’s value will enjoy a sizable boost.
Friday, December 5th, 2014
If you have wood floors and you are considering refinishing them, there is a good deal that you will want to consider. First of all, it’s important to realize that most wood floor finishes on the market today are petroleum based and loaded with potentially dangerous chemicals. Especially when they are first applied, they can leave even those even those without chemical sensitivities shocked by the smell.
Yes, this noxious odor does go away eventually. But still the chemical nature of the smell should set off an alarm for anyone looking to avoid chemicals and the potential dangers that they represent.
Healthy Floor Finishing Products are a Must
Should you be obsessed with avoiding chemicals when refinishing your wood floors? If you are environmentally conscious, have kids or just want healthy products in general, then a healthier and safer floor-finishing product should most definitely be in your future.
Watch Out of High VOC Levels
Many wood flooring refinishing products are very high in VOCs or volatile organic compounds. VOCs will stay in your home for a considerable period of time after they’ve been applied. Just because you no longer smell a wood floor-refinishing product that does not mean that it is no longer releasing VOCs.
Smell isn’t the only issue where VOCs are concerned. Chemicals ranging from benzene and formaldehyde and arsenic are all present in the many wood floor-refinishing options. These products can continue to “off gas” for extended period of times and, more alarmingly, could eventually cause organ damage and nervous system damage issues. In some cases, these off gassing issues can last not months, but years! In the short term, you might very well find you are frequently getting headaches being around your floors.
New Flooring Isn’t Necessarily the Answer
We should pause to note that installing new wood floors isn’t necessarily an answer either. The reason is that there are many different types of options for new floors, ranging from manufactured wood products to flooring that needs to be sealed with chemicals.
Installing new wood floors also means that you will still have to finish your floors in some fashion. In short, it is quite easy to find yourself in a situation where potentially hazardous flooring chemicals make their way into your home.
The best option for any homeowner is to protect his or her health by opting for a safe and environmentally friendly wood floor refinishing option. Let’s take a look at some of the best options available.
Stay Away from Chemicals and Your Body Will Thank You
When it comes to refinishing wood floors, the bad news is that chemical-laden options containing harmful ingredients, such as formaldehyde, are everywhere. They are also cheap to use. Adding to the complexity of the situation is that most contractors and hardwood flooring refinishers want to work with these products as they are fast, easy to work with and contractors and refinishers have experience using them. That is great for construction industry professionals, but that doesn’t mean that they are right for you and your family.
Talk to Your Contractor in Advance
If you want to have a healthy floor finish, you might very well have to work for it. This means asking your contractors (or floor refinishers) if they are willing to work with products that they may not be familiar with before you even hire them. This step could save you a tremendous amount of time and headaches when you are looking to refinish your wood floors with a healthy product instead of chemical laden product that could cause organ damage at worst and a decrease in air quality at best.
The Natural Oil Option
With all of this in mind, how should you refinish your hardwood floors? The first step is to opt for a refinishing product that can be trusted, which is easier said than done. All kinds of products position themselves in the marketplace as being low VOC and environmentally friendly. Some of the best options include natural oil products such as linseed and tung oil, but there are others as well.
Linseed oil is gaining in popularity, as it is very hard when it dries and is considered to be very safe. Linseed oil is also known as flaxseed oil. Flax and flaxseed oil are consumed as a food and are, in fact, not just considered safe, but are also considered quite healthy due to their high level of omega-3s.
Linseed oil gives wood a great appearance, but won’t necessarily protect against scratching. However, on the plus side, it is very safe. Like most natural oils, it may take a little more effort to apply linseed oil, but the end product is worth the time.
Tung oil is also called China wood oil. Tung oil dries relatively quickly after its exposure to air and has been used in China for centuries. Today, tung oil is used in many floor products to provide a deep rich look and feel.
Green Products May Still Have Harmful Compounds
Regardless of what kind of floor finish you ultimately opt for, it is vital that you carefully read the full ingredient list. Many “green” products may not be that green at all and may even contain chemicals. Likewise, it is important that you test the odor of a product before applying it to your floors, for if the odor is too strong, that could indicate a problem.
Well Ventilated Spaces are a Must
Once you’ve applied any product, it is a prudent move to be in a well-ventilated space. Having a beautiful floor is, of course, a wonderful thing, but it should never take precedence over the health of you and your family. There are many hazardous flooring options on the market, but luckily there are an increasing number of healthier options now available.
Your contractor or flooring professional may try to steer you towards a chemical based product that is easy to apply, but it is important that you hold your ground and demand a floor finish that is safe. The end goal is to be able to enjoy hardwood floors that look good and make you feel good as well.
Wednesday, November 26th, 2014
Our evolving TV screens seem to require more space and less furniture. Widescreen and flatscreen TVs have inspired a wider console hutch or the flexibility of a console deck without a hutch. Projectors require as much wall space as possible and move the console deck aside to become a handy DVD cupboard. Computer screens are changing alongside TVs.
The TouchPico is an Android PC the size of a phone with a projector that turns any surface into a touch screen of up to 80 inches. Watch the video to see how versatile it is.
Switching to TouchPicos may change the way families set up their homes. Here are 7 ways the TouchPico could change home decor in the future.
It will redesign your office space:
If you still like your desktop PC, the TouchPico can replace your computer screen; you might begin designing your office with the desk a few feet from the wall. You may reconsider choosing a desk with a hutch, or you may keep the hutch but leave another wall bare for your second screen.
It saves your former TV space for other purposes:
Requiring no space for the screen makes the TouchPico a great electronic for minimalist style homes and small spaces. Instead of placing your TV on a stand or screwing brackets on the wall, you can use the vertical space you already have with your projector.
It will open up your living room:
The TouchPico can replace your TV if you use services like Netflix, shifting value from the TV stand to the coffee or end table.
A simple desk may be all you need when you don’t need to place a screen on it.
It projects wherever you need it:
People with small children may create a space with a plain area rug to project a play space on the floor. The hardware’s mobility also makes it easy to project games low on the wall, at kid height. Imagine using a projected background for your kids to put on a play.
It is shiny enough on its own:
Granite or butcher block counters don’t make the TouchPico useless, but people looking to get new kitchen counters may begin to look at smooth, matte surfaces again. Likewise, people will become more selective of where to use tiles, and whether to stain wood or to paint it.
Some coffee tables even have lifting tops to aim your TouchPico higher on the wall.
It doesn’t push your older heirlooms around:
If you have a TV hutch, there is no need to give up on your prized heirloom when you want to replace your TV. You may prefer to paint the inside of the hutch a flat color and continue to watch TV with your hutch as the focal point of your living room. That said, you don’t have to give up your TV as soon as you buy a TouchPico, since it takes up little space and projects wherever you want.
It fits in every room:
If you can afford to, TouchPicos allow you to have several TVs or Android PCs in the house without having to find furniture for each one.
To add more projection surfaces to a home, designers may choose flat colors.
As you can see, the TouchPico and competitors that may arise in the future could streamline the way we set up our homes to require less screen space and more projection space. The future of media could change our choices in furniture for the next generation.
Your tiny dining nook can have a projector screen stored inside the table. The wall next to this table looks like a great place to watch TV.
Thursday, November 6th, 2014
There is something intrinsically beautiful about natural wood. It is warm and inviting, like a living thing. Why settle for particle or flake board and veneers? You can have texture and grain, all hand-rubbed and polished, until it looks so deep that you feel like you could step right inside.
Your furniture can say a lot about you. Tell the world that you value beauty and possess beautiful values.
Particle board and plywood use adhesives that can often contain formaldehyde which out-gases for up to five years after manufacture. People are exposed by breathing contaminated air from pressed wood furniture. Formaldehyde is a human carcinogen, an asthma trigger, and a suspected neurological, reproductive, and liver toxin. People with sensitivities should avoid these structural materials especially around children.
Wood makes us feel better. It connects us to nature through a reduction to our stress responses in our sympathetic nervous system. Wood is visually warm, contributing to social interaction and emotional support. We simply feel better in such an environment.
We Prefer Wood
In a recent study, it seemed clear that humans are simply happier when surrounded by wood. It is psychologically reinforcing and evinces descriptors such as â€œwarm,â€ â€œcomfortable,â€ â€œrelaxing,â€ â€œnaturalâ€ and â€œinvitingâ€. It was observed that the more wood detailing in a room, the more content the occupants were.
Wood is Durable
After Hurricane Katrina people offered up all sorts of advice. One such piece was how to manage your clean-up after the flooding receded, and how to focus to keep your mental outlook positive. One thing they noted was that excellent quality solid wood furniture was almost always salvageable; particle board and other lesser materials were essentially dissolved and distorted. There is no doubt that solid wood is a good investment.
Wood is a sustainable crop and most used is from local sources that are responsibly harvested. Carefully hand-selected and then quarter-sawn to expose the best grain and achieve the minimum amount of waste.
Properly finished wood furniture doesnâ€™t require much care. Clean up the inevitable dust and you should be happy. Solid wood furniture which has been properly stained, lacquered, oiled, and or waxed is almost invulnerable to conditions in your home. Weâ€™re happy to offer advice on the care of your furniture. Stains and lacquers are more durable than oils and waxes, but any can be used in the initial preparation of the furniture to give you the look you desire. Remember paste wax, if appropriate for your surface, can provide a hard durable layer of protection that can last up to two years. Liquid wax leaves a much thinner coat and must be replaced more often. Spray polishes are the least durable of all.
That warm woody aura you see when the sunlight hits it just right in the late afternoon; the reflection of a lamp in its gleaming surface; the constantly changing highlights of the fireplace reflected in its details â€“ all these can be yours with beautiful, handcrafted, durable, and reassuring wood.
Thursday, October 30th, 2014
Modern furniture may be inexpensive, but it surely isnâ€™t durable. Some seems downright flimsy and too delicate to actually use. What happened to the solid reliability of real furniture? Remember when you could sit on a chair and know that it would support you without even thinking about it; when you could set the table for a banquet and know it would not collapse?
Once World War II was over, people were very busy procreatingâ€¦ Houses started springing up all over the place. Grandma, Grandpa, Mom and Dad just didnâ€™t have the resources to give or bequeath furniture to all the young folks starting out on lives of their own.
Industry was quick to pick up on the fact; they knew what to do. Quick as a wink they stepped up manufacturing to fill the need. But demand kept growing; they needed more and more. They developed newer, faster techniques to do away with time-consuming screws, glue, dowels, and clamps. They built bigger machines that could cut eight identical chair legs at one time; jigs where one man could snap together four seats in less than a minute, secure them with a nail gun and send them down the line to be upholstered.
But they wanted more and more; faster and faster; cheaper and cheaper. So they began to use wire staples to hold furniture together, but they werenâ€™t very reliable; they needed something else. They came up with the corrugated fastener that fit in an unpowered hammer-like device. You struck between two joints and the fastener pulled it together.
We all know what happened. Furniture began to fail and fall apart. At first people tried to fix things; then the prices dropped and it was simply cheaper to replace it with something new. We grew into a consumer society that didnâ€™t appreciate quality.
Now the pendulum has swung back. Weâ€™re wondering why were we always replacing things? Canâ€™t they just make things better so that they last?
Actually they never stopped making exceptional things, at least not all of them. But before the internet and the World Wide Web you had to actually go and find the artisans. If you stumbled across one of the Amish Communities it was like finding a gold mine.
Stepping Back in Time Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Suddenly the clock slowed down; people here took life at a livable pace. There was no rushing to meetings; no planes to catch; no sales target to meet. They just did their daily work, with humility and dedication. It pleased them that people took the time to appreciate their skills with furniture. And they could support their community by doing what they did best.
The English (non-Amish) started to come in droves; here was quality they had not experienced in their lives. This was the furniture of legend; the sort of things that had been in their grandparentsâ€™ homes.
Handcrafted by master builders; created by people that had been doing it for their whole lives, with skills passed down from generation to generation. If you only want to buy a piece of furniture one more time in your life, and you want to hand it down to your heirs, and they to theirs, youâ€™ve finally found the right place. Stop throwing your money away. This time you are going to invest in something that will have value forever.
Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
Not all old furniture is good. Some of it smells funny; some of it is deteriorating; some of it is too heavy or too light for your needs. Thereâ€™s little argument that furniture used to be made better than weâ€™re used to seeing nowadays, but maybe you havenâ€™t looked in the right place to find the good stuff.
Furniture made the old-fashioned way is durable and has quality built right in. But that doesnâ€™t mean it has to look like you raided an ancient castle to obtain it. Taking those same skills from yesteryear and applying it to furniture with a modern look gives you the best of both worlds.
Do you want a recliner? Several models are available in a number of styles with dozens of material choices, including available leather; with features like a wall hugger it need not stick obtrusively into the room to operate; it can swivel as well; it can have electric control and the Dream Back feature. So donâ€™t think it has to be old-fashioned because itâ€™s made by fine artisan Amish craftsmen.
If you have a home theater you will need proper seating for it. And it is available right here!
Perhaps you need a plasma TV stand or a media center. There are many styles and pieces to choose from.
Or maybe you need a sleek lift-top coffee table? It can provide a convenient place to hide all the day-to-day clutter! And yet you have only scratched the surface of the possibilities.
Rustic doesnâ€™t mean you canâ€™t have something primitive looking but engineered to exacting standards that assures its durability is just like any other piece of Amish furniture. Triple lacquered natural wood logs show you have a sense of style but appreciate natural wood too. Four natural-log uprights for your bed, constructed with Mortise & Tenon joints, for incredible strength and powerful natureÂ overtones. It would be perfect for a cottage or lodge.
On the other hand, maybe you prefer the straight-forward designs of the Shaker or the Mission styles. Sometimes our eyes just need a rest from interpreting everything. The simple lines of these styles quickly convey function and unobtrusively show style, workmanship and function at a glance. No strain on the brain â€“ they just work!
But even traditional furniture can conceal modern day functionality. How about a complete office hidden inside a Traditional Style Computer Armoire? Pop it open to work, and slide it closed to forget and carry on with your vacation. And a three drawer filing cabinet in solid wood makes a stunning addition to complete your office when combined with fully featured solid wood office chairs.
Got fishing on your mind? Traditional rod racks for five rods or as many as twelve! You will never run out of spaceâ€¦ Or maybe some solid hardwood bookends to hold your favorite book selections â€“ they deserve a nice place too! And if you need something for outside, donâ€™t forget our frame or chain suspended swings, as well as gliders for your enjoyment.
Weâ€™re here for you
Take advantage of our versatility; combine styles, or specify accents. You deserve quality furniture that will last for generations. Donâ€™t settle for less.
Thursday, October 16th, 2014
It doesnâ€™t take much knowledge to detect the quality of a piece of furniture. If you go into a typical â€œBig Boxâ€ store in search of a sideboard or china cabinet youâ€™ll many times be able to see the uneven gaps around the doors and drawers. As soon you open them you can immediately see that the separators for cutlery are covered in felt to hide the fact that the dividers themselves are made from particle board. At least the grain of the wood looks okay, until you realize itâ€™s just veneer over plywood. And look at the sides and bottoms of the drawers â€“ theyâ€™re not even stained or finished â€“ just raw wood.
This may sound familiar. Thereâ€™s an unnerving rattle of loose glass as you struggle to open the too tight, skewed door of the china portion. Tap lightly on the back of the cabinet, but be careful! If it was any thinner, light would pass through itâ€¦ Is this really what you want?
You deserve better!
Furniture used to be built for the long-haul. It was solid wood, durable and sturdy; there were no plastic laminates, flake or particle board or plywood. Furniture wasnâ€™t something that you purchased, used for a couple of years, and then donated to charity or threw away with the trash. I grew up with furniture that was over 100 years old, sometimes two centuries or more. It was crafted by experts, finished in beautifully fine detail, and often signed or marked by the creator.
There are still Craftsmen like that; true Artisans that put every bit of skill and knowledge into creating not just fine furniture, but Art that will last for generations. Hand-finishing to perfection, not until the end of the shift; carrying the job through to completion, not until it is â€œgood enoughâ€; those are the secrets of a job well done. As we all know, â€œGood Enough is not Good enough!â€
When others donâ€™t finish all of the exposed surfaces, whether with stains, varnish, oils or waxes, the wood it left vulnerable to experience uneven moisture and humidity, swelling and shrinking joints with the seasons. The connections loosen; the moving parts jam or wedge. It can deteriorate in just a few short years.
Quality even where you never look
With quality furniture, everything is stained and finished, even the parts you canâ€™t see. Just because something is out of sight doesnâ€™t mean it can be ignored. If you order a dining set, all the pieces will be finished by one artisan so that all the pieces will be the same color and match perfectly. Typically we donâ€™t want an oddball chair that doesnâ€™t match the rest of the set.
After all, isnâ€™t that what craftsmanship is all about? Pure, unmitigated, unassailable quality at every step; driven by ability and tempered with humility; and combined with select materials to fashion the very best for you.
Your job is easy in comparison. You just have to look at it, fall in love with it, and take it home.