In a time when American furniture makers are continually losing out to foreign imports, Amish made furniture sales continues to thrive. These skilled craftsmen are primarily located in parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana. Though many Americans tend to shop around for the rock bottom prices at the big box stores, this trend indicates that we are still willing to pay for quality and durability when it comes to furniture. But what really sets Amish furniture apart from the rest?
If you look over a piece of furniture and notice screws, nails, plastic fasteners or staples then odds are it is not authentically Amish made. True Amish craftsmen use mortise and tenon joints or wooden pegs to hold their pieces together.
A close inspection of the inside of the drawers is also a very good indicator of if a piece of furniture is truly Amish made. Furniture that is produced in an assembly line usually has mass produced metal slides and weak particleboard in the back. Amish craftsmen pride themselves in the durability of their work, and as a result would never use anything (such as particle board) to sacrifice its quality.
The Wood Selection
Genuine Amish craftsmen use only the top quality wood when creating their furniture. The three most common types are solid oak, maple and cherry. Other popular types of wood used are cedar, hickory and walnut. A lot of Amish furniture is quarter sawn, leaving a wavy decorative look in the grains. Quarter sawn wood is also by far the most stable because it is cut so that the grain of the wood is perpendicular to the face of the board.
All wood that the Amish use is solid. This allows for their furniture to last much longer than mass produces pieces that use particle board or laminate in every spot possible to cut costs. All the wood used is harvested by the Amish from solid hardwoods. The quality of wood used, combined with the way it is carefully jointed allows for Amish furniture to last for hundreds of years.
Since every piece of true Amish furniture is hand-made they are always customizable. You get to choose the type of wood, finishing stain and dimensions. Try walking into a Crate&Barrel or Ashley Furniture HomeStore and getting those types of choices. The Amish church rules prohibit the use of anything mass produced, so you are guaranteed a custom piece of furniture every time.
Now it is important to note that though Amish made furniture has a reputation for high quality, not all Amish furniture is created equally. Some Amish craftsmen are better than others, so it is important to buy from one with a great reputation. It is also a good idea to buy from a dealer located in the heart of Amish Country as those are more likely to sell authentic Amish furniture and not knock offs.
Hopefully the information above will be helpful next time you consider buying “Amish made” furniture!
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