A Few Traits of High Quality Amish Furniture
Amish furniture is furniture made by the Amish, mostly in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Kentucky. It's commonly referred to as being made entirely of wood, often with no other materials to support it. The typical styles most frequently seen by the Amish craftsmen are typically more traditional in style. However, due to the uniqueness of this type of furniture, there is a wide variety of styles and types. Here are some of the more common ones:
One of the more distinguishing characteristics of Amish furniture, especially bedroom and dining room furniture, is the use of what are known as "divert" joinery. A divert joint is a wooden joining surface that forms an open cross where two pieces of wood are attached. The wood that is being joined will be either short or long. Common materials used in these joints include maple, oak, beech, walnut, cherry and mahogany. The result is an item of furniture that has a very smooth and sturdy appearance, due to the surface of the wooden boards.
Because the Amish utilize such a tight knit community, there is an amazing amount of knowledge and skills that must go into the crafting of their real Amish furniture. One example of this is how each piece of wood is cut according to specific guidelines. These guidelines are designed by the master carpenter himself, so every piece of furniture created by an Amish craftsman must fit precisely into its surroundings, which often include the location of each piece of wood as well as its size. The master carpenter will also be able to tell you exactly what each piece of wood is made of, as well as any imperfections in the wood that must be worked around or covered up before finishing the piece.
Another hallmark of true Amish furniture is the use of solid wood. Most Amish furniture pieces are usually constructed from a combination of chipboard and hard woods such as maple or oak. The reason for this is because hardwoods are more durable and resistant to the elements; however, the practice of using hardwoods also takes away from the grain of the wood. This is where Amish furniture excels: since the Amish are skilled carpenters, they have the ability to not only craft their furniture from the most durable and resilient type of wood possible but also to craft it in such a way as to preserve as much of the natural grain as possible.
Another area of real Amish furniture that
enhances the durability of the furnishings is the use of fine hardwood,
such as maple or oak. Typically, Amish craftsmen opt to use only genuine
hardwoods such as these, rather than cheaper plywood or particle board
options. Because fine hardwoods are so hard to find, the Amish use this
method to build their furniture in order to have a piece of furniture
that is sturdy yet long-lasting. One example of such a piece of
furniture is the Adirondack chair, which is actually two separate chairs
built from the same wood as the dining table, all of which are
assembled into a single, sturdy frame. Because the wood used in the
construction of the Adirondack chair is so sturdy, it is often left
unpolished on the original Adirondack chair until it is ready to be
delivered to its new owner.
A final trait of high quality Amish made furniture pieces is the use of authentic handcrafted Amish hand tools. Since Amish craftsmen must always be on the lookout for quality materials - such as the heart pine that is used to make all of their furniture items - the tools they use are carefully chosen from a long list of potential options. Examples of these tools include gouges and pliers, as well as various types of saws and hand scrapers. Although most Amish craftsmen may make a few errors in their construction, such mistakes are made with a purpose. Each tool selected is intended to do a specific job, and when any piece of Amish furniture comes into contact with an error in its function, it will be replaced.