It doesn’t take much knowledge to detect the quality of a piece of furniture. If you go into a typical “Big Box” store in search of a sideboard or china cabinet you’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 it’s just veneer over plywood. And look at the sides and bottoms of the drawers – they’re not even stained or finished – just raw wood.
This may sound familiar. There’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 it… 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 wasn’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 “good enough”; those are the secrets of a job well done. As we all know, “Good Enough is not Good enough!”
When others don’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 can’t see. Just because something is out of sight doesn’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 don’t want an oddball chair that doesn’t match the rest of the set.
After all, isn’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.