In my previous blog, I explained why naturally sourced lumber is imperative for quality furniture. This adds to the timeless elegance of handmade furniture aging gracefully over time—to result in a rich patina.
In the old days, they said it took three generations to make furniture. For the first to grow the trees; the second to harvest, hand cut and air dry the wood; and the third to make it. We believe that the furniture we build should last at least as long as it took the tree to grow.
Now, with specialization at work, we’re able to source quality American woods from family farms to build functional furniture for clients that are easy to assemble.
For instance, S. Thompson wrote, “We loved, loved, LOVED it all! The assembly was super easy. I didn’t have an extra set of hands. It was just me and it was easily accomplished! No complaints, no nothing but praise!” This woman assembled a king bed on her own.
She continued, “I was even thinking about seeing if you do custom orders to have a narrow bookshelf or something to accompany the Enso style.” BTW, we have four collections—Enso, Sunrise, Modern and Cantilever. While not all of our pieces require assembly, those that do are a breeze!
Amazing, isn’t it, how a few quality furniture pieces can subtly satisfy our aesthetic and functional needs on a daily basis?
by Tarik Yousef
I frequently speak with customers who ask why dressers tend to cost much more than a platform bed. It is a smaller item, right? It seems to be fairly simple, right? Well, the answer in short is that a dresser is in fact smaller, but it is many times more complex, particularly when built correctly.
What I have found over the years is that a good dresser will provide generations of loyal and dependable service without any issues, where a poor quality dresser will start showing signs of imposing demise, typically showing itself in the form of hard to open and close drawers. There are three reasons a drawer will catch.
1. Cheap slide or no slides at all, wear sets in quickly and eventually the drawer does not function. Ask the person making your furniture what brand the slides are used or if any are used at all, most are side mount and run about $5 a set retail. Our slides are Blum Blumotion Full Extension Soft Close slides, they cost $50 a set (one drawer) retail. They cost 10x more because they are 20x better. Who cares if a drawer slide can carry 100lbs weight if in a year it takes 100lbs force to close it, think about it.
2. Case is damaged. A poor fitting drawer or cheap slide will stick in time, causing damage to the case. This simply compounds the issue and creates a downward spiral of issues. Our cases are dovetailed together, not screwed, not nailed, and dovetailed. The areas that are not dovetailed are mortise and tenon.
3. Drawer boxes break. Dovetails are critical for a strong box, are your boxes dovetailed? Are they machine cut dovetails or hand cut? Ours are hand cut through dovetails, they are at least 3x stronger than a machine cut dovetail because they have that much more surface area. Machine cut dovetails are half blind, and yes, half blind does mean at least half as strong. Likewise, refer back to point 1, cheap slides will break good drawer boxes.
Dressers are ultimately a complex assembly. The case and a series of mating drawers. If the case, slides and drawer boxes are not up to the task, the whole assembly will fail to provide loyal service.
By Tarik Yousef
Act I, Scene 1. A man is in a wood-shop using a traditional hand tool on a piece of naturally fallen Ohio cherry. He is wearing a hand-made leather wood-workers apron and sweat drips from his brow as he works with a draw-knife to hand cut the main support leg for a table top. The work is hard and can only be done using a keen eye and an innate sense for what pieces of lumber will work best for that particular item; nothing is left to chance. The custom in this shop is one of respect for hand tools, tradition, hard work and a high attention to detail. All of the wood in this shop is selected for specific pieces and parts of furniture to be built; the selection process is not random.
Act I, Scene 2. A man is in his wood shop and presses the ignition switch on a diesel generator which will power his Moulder. This is a machine that can slash the time it takes a man to cut an item for a piece of furniture by 90%. It’s highly efficient and very cost effective. The man is going to watch that machine produce 100 furniture parts today for one of his friends to use on a large dining table order they are filling. Tomorrow he will be planing lumber to pass on to yet another neighbor to be used in some rocking chairs they are making.
I’ve described two different scenes in two different shops. One is an Amish shop and the other is T.Y. Fine Furniture. Contrary to popular belief most Amish furniture is produced by a cooperative of Amish woodworkers in state-of-the art, high tech wood shops. The quality is essentially a notch or two above the assembly line construction of wood furniture that one would see in a Walmart. However, it is several notches below the heirloom quality level of TYFF and this difference is reflected in the cost and the life of the items. If you expect your furniture to last for hundreds of years TYFF is the builder you will need.
Most American consumers have a fondness for Amish made; the term evokes a sense of quality, honesty and integrity. Many Amish made items are indeed stunning in appearance and quality; however this is often the exception over the rule. After many years of being in and around wood-shops and handmade furniture I have come to the conclusion that, in most cases, the actual construction methods and materials used in Amish made furniture don't live up to the allure and mystique that has always surrounded this particular style of furniture.
HERE you can see the support leg described above, in the finished product.
For true heirloom quality artisanal furniture the only option in Ohio is T.Y. Fine Furniture.
by Wes Miller
Tarik Yousef Fine Furniture clients purchase our collection items plus commission custom pieces because they know we use only the finest American woods.
In this blog I’ll explain how we source lumber. Every piece is from “blown-down” trees—mainly from southeast Ohio and to a lesser extent, West Virginia. Every piece is sourced from family-owned tree farms in this country.
The beauty of naturally fallen logs is an unsurpassed gift from Mother Nature. These trees came down naturally either because of storms or were at the end of their life cycles. They have lived their maximum possible life spans and matured fully, as in wine that has aged gracefully.
Thus, the quality of fallen lumber is matchless in attaining newer heights of superior wood furniture. Because mature lumber glows naturally, it offers more beautiful colors and textures, and is a sturdy, solid wood fully grown in natural-growth environments. (Plus reflecting the beauty of using sustainable resources.)
At the sawmill, logs are cut to desired dimensions. The wood is then cured in dry kilns—without steaming. Dry curing seasons it and allows naturally rich wood tones to shine through.
At the end of this amazing ride, customers complete the artistic cycle in bringing artisan woods to market. You select from cherry, oak, ash, elm, sycamore, walnut or maple to fashion heirloom items to be lovingly cherished for generations.
What strikes your fancy as you browse our site? Feel free to contact: firstname.lastname@example.org