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How Amish Style Hand-Crafted Furniture Is Made – and Why It Matters

A new line of solid wood furniture showcases the natural beauty, quality and authenticity of this exceptionally timeless, endlessly sought-after material.

The heritage of Amish craftsmanship – found in nine new collections for Living Spaces – pulls from thoughtful details, materials and mechanisms. Here are a few key elements that go into the making of our solid wood bedroom and dining collections.

Hallmarks of Amish Craftsmanship

1. Dovetail Drawers

Found in almost all Amish-made American furniture, dovetail drawers contain an interlocking pattern of wood teeth to create one of the most durable forms of joinery. Opened, dovetail drawers show a seamless wood pattern on the sides (rather than a glide). The glides of these drawer types are found on the underside of the drawer – hidden from view. Available in the Warren, Farmlyn, Hartfeld, Reagan, Westin, Serenity and Carson collections.

2. Mortise & Tenon Joinery

Considered the gold standard for solid wood woodwork, the mortise and tenon joint is where peg meets hole. The peg portion is designed in such a way to expand once secured, creating a very strong joint. Mortise and tenon joinery can be found in the Reagan, Westin and Serenity collections.

Locally-sourced solid brown maple provides a tangible difference in quality in the Barton collection.
Mission influence defines the streamlined silhouette of the Riverson chair.
Handcrafted from solid oak, the Riverson table can extend out up to 96".

3. Catalyzed Varnish

Without a great finish, wood furniture – even solid wood – would be less durable. A finish is used to protect the wood, and the higher quality of finish, the more protected the wood is. One particular type of finish, known as catalyzed varnish, speeds up the drying and hardening process; the harder the varnish, the less susceptible it is to damaging the wood. Collections with catalyzed varnish include the Barton, Farmlyn, Hartfield and Riverson.

4. Locally-Sourced Wood Species

More than anything else, it is the wood type that sets Amish craftsmanship apart. Coming from a long tradition of local sourcing, the woodwork that goes into each of these collections involves only solid wood species. These include solid North American alder, solid maple and solid oak, which, unlike mass-produced collections that utilize lighter woods, offer the highest level of quality.

Featured Collections: Timeless Dining

Pictured above, the Barton Dining Collection offers two 16” extension leaves with a full extension from 72” to 104”. The extension leaf, which is driven by a gear extension mechanism, is made from the same wood as the table, chairs and buffet – a locally-sourced solid brown maple. Available in different finishes for the option to choose the best look for your home, each piece, with its one-of-a-kind design, breathes sophistication, function and durability. Signed by the woodworker who crafted it, the Barton collection truly brings Amish heritage into today’s home.

Pictured below, the Riverson Dining Collection is handcrafted by Amish woodworkers from solid oak. The result is a timeless look and feel. Influenced by the Mission style, simple silhouettes and natural colors ground these designs. Designed in a smaller scale that makes sense for today’s homes, each piece delivers on function: the table with its gear-driven extension mechanism, the server with its closed cabinetry and the chairs with their classic mealtime comfort. Choose the Riverson collection (which is signed by the Amish woodworker who built it) in the finish that best suits your space.

The Difference Is Solid

Solid wood Amish furniture brings a quality you can see and feel. Heirloom techniques passed down for generations of furniture-makers form the basis of each piece. The process takes time and pride – and the result is a product that lasts for decades.

The Riverson Server's open shelving and closed cabinetry provide efficient storage.
Solid brown maple, dovetailed drawers and mortise and tenon joints form the Serenity collection.
The Serenity headboard has nail-trimmed upholstered panels, hand-built by Amish woodworkers.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.