Amish furniture first gained attention in the 1920s when early America folk art was discovered. Henry Lapp was a pioneer of Amish furniture as we know it. The furniture was, most importantly, humble, plain and natural. A skill passed down through many generations is Amish furniture making. Therefore, children for instance, contribute to the household income. They do this by as making or helping build furniture.
Amish beliefs and faith prevent the use of electricity. However, hydraulic and pneumatic power are allowed in some Amish furniture shops. Diesel compressors run these. Some communities make allowances for woodworking. The craft of Amish woodworking often supports several families. Therefore some technology is allowed.
Many Amish builders do not use nails in their furniture making process. Instead, they often join wood together using different joinery techniques. In addition, they use non-toxic glue. Joinery is the making of wood joints. By not using nails, the need for power tools is reduced.
To mark Amish furniture by a craftsman is unusual. They do not want to call attention to themselves. Most importantly, they prefer not taking credit for their accomplishments. Although families do become known for their specific design details and niches. Woodworkers focus on the different areas of indoor and outdoor furniture. For instance, some concentrate on swings and gliders while others living room and bedroom pieces. Amish furniture is never identical to one another.
Each piece of wood is hand selected to match the specific furniture in mind. In the furniture making process, great concentration is paid to the details. First, attention is paid to the grain of the wood. Second, both in gluing pieces together and achieving the desired look of the finished piece is important. Amish furniture is considered a “green product”. Amish workers have self-respect in their work. The Amish view their woodwork as art. Also, furnishing can be lived in for generations.
Amish furniture is constructed with many types of wood. Choosing the best wood for furniture depend mainly on personal preference. Each type of wood offers unique qualities of color and grain.
Types of Wood
There are three common styles of Amish furniture. Shaker style and Mission style furniture are two traditional styles of Amish woodworking. Shaker styles are plain yet elegant. It is a very simple and basic design. Characteristics of the Mission style is straight lines and exposed joinery. Another style of woodworking in the Queen Anne style. It is in direct contrast to the Shaker and Mission styles. The Queen Anne style is traditional with ornate moldings. In addition, it has unique foot details and carved ornamentation.
Amish are known for crafting high quality wood furniture. They use simple beautiful designs for an intriguing outcome.