Picture Perfect

by Earlyn on April 17, 2014

Each piece we make is custom and made to order.  We do not have any pieces lying in a warehouse somewhere in the US.  Instead, we wait for you to make an order and our craftsmen will build it from scratch.  So, how do you know how it will look like if we have never made your furniture before? That’s when a mock-up comes in.

Austin had a customer who wanted a Shenzen chair, but he wanted to add a couple of details.  Austin asked our graphic designer to create a mockup and sent it to the customer.  After a couple of revisions, the customer approved the design, and we sent it to Andy, our master chairmaker.

The final product was better than expected. Andy did a fantastic job!  Even with building the chair from a photo, the chair looks better than the mockup.

Austin noted:

Just looking at this picture fills me up with so much pride for our craftsmen, I could just burst. He created this chair FROM A PICTURE! We work with an incredibly talented group of craftsmen, and people who work their hardest to make furniture that is picture perfect.

The Real Custom Shenzen Chair

There are many reasons why that is.  One, our craftsmen are extremely talented.  After designing and creating many custom pieces for our customers, their skills are beyond what is needed to create stunning furniture.  Another reason is that they want to deliver the best to customers.  Johnny’s, Andy’s brother and master chairmaker, says that his main goal is to “make our customers happy.”

We are privileged to work with this group of craftsmen who are happy and proud to create furniture for you.  This article was written in honor of them, who will celebrate Good Friday with their families.

If you would like us to create a custom piece, visit this page and contact us.  We would love to make your dream furniture a reality.

Note: The first picture is the mock-up and the second is the actual custom Shenzen chair.  Beyond impressive!

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The Appeal of Hickory

by Earlyn on April 17, 2014

Our craftsmen find the best quality hardwood so we create furniture you can keep for centuries.  If the wood we used was not able to last that long, then our job of providing the best for you becomes a dream, not a reality.

Our craftsmen hold that as part of their Amish doctrine.  Nothing is done without the utmost care, especially when they create something for someone else.  They build furniture as if they were building it for their own children, meant to be kept for generations.

With that in mind, our craftsmen are very selective about the quality of their hardwood.  Our main source of wood comes from farmers who raise and harvest trees near our craftsmen.  They are trusted to maintain the land and the trees, and the proximity of the farmers and our craftsmen makes it easier to inspect the wood before making an order.  This arrangement has given you furniture made with woods that are first-class.

We use many types of wood but the most commonly used ones are red oak, white oak, cherry, maple, hard maple, walnut, and hickory.  Today, we will focus on hickory, a wood valued by many of our customers for its beauty and strength.

Our Woodland Dining Table

 

What is Hickory?

Hickory is a hardwood that has pinnately compound leaves and large nuts.  It comprises the genus Carya, and it includes 17-19 different species, which can be found all over the world.  There are 11 or 12 species native to the United States, five or six native to China and Indochina, and one in Mexico.  The species we use for our furniture is Carya Ovata, also known as shagbark hickory.  It is found in the eastern United States and southeast Canada, can grow up to 89 ft tall, and can live up to 200 years.

Shagbark Hickory Uses of Hickory

Hickory may be found in parts from all over the world, but it has a rich history in the United States.  As a very hard, stiff, and shock resistant wood, it is used to build many things: tool handles, bows, drumsticks, and paddles.  Overall, this is a hearty wood, used when people need something strong.

Baseball bats used to be made from hickory as well but it is too heavy for major league baseball players. Unable to swing as quickly and powerfully as they need to, ash and maple have become more popular over the past centuries.  Maple, being one of the most popular, ever since Barry Bonds.

Another very popular use for hickory is smoking meats.  It is a common wood used when you want to smoke strong flavored meats.  Mesquite, oak, pecan, and walnut are also great choices when you flavor your meats with lots of spices and sauces.

It is evident that hickory is an all American wood.

Appearance of Hickory

Hickory is one of the most unique woods you will ever encounter.  Sparky calls it the “wild wood”, like the old wild west.  Every hardwood (e.g. oak, maple, cherry) has sapwood and heartwood.  The sapwood is closer to the bark and it is light in color, a very creamy white.  Hickory’s heartwood is closer to the center of the bark and it is dark in color.   This difference in color between the heartwood and the sapwood dramatizes the contrast and adds a striking look which appeals to so many of our customers.

Our Western Dining TableLike most hardwoods, its color changes as it ages.  It will become more amber, only moderately, but it is important to minimize sun exposure.

Staining of Hickory

Hickory is one of the densest woods in the United States and, consequently, the heaviest.  It is because it is closed grain with a rough texture so the pores are smaller.  This makes it more difficult to fully stain an entire piece of wood.  However, once it stains, it is beyond beautiful.

Our Tuscany Dining Table

Durability

Hickory is 41% stronger than Red Oak, and it is the second hardest wood species in the United States.  If you are looking for a resilient wood, then hickory is the way to go.  It has a unique combination of strength, hardness, and toughness; however, it is the more difficult wood to work with.  Nevertheless, all it takes is a little elbow grease and sharpened tools.  Eli our master tablemaker always sharpens his tools after using harder woods, and he says it makes a world of difference.

Hickory seems to have it all: strength, resilience, and natural beauty.  All of these characteristics make hickory furniture a sight to behold.

If you are considering furniture made with hickory, call us and we can send some samples of hickory to your home free.  We have a list of all the finishes available online, and we can send a catalog to you as well.

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Meet Eli Our Table Maker

March 26, 2014

Eli is our master table maker. He has been working alongside Erik Schimek for over 13 years and is a valued member of our Erik Organic family. His expertise, craftsmanship and artistic talents have helped us to produce beautiful pieces of exceptional quality that truly stand out. Even though the bespoke tables that Eli has […]

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Houseplants and Their Amazing Power of Healing

March 25, 2014

Houseplants are commonly overlooked as décor, but their benefits go far beyond providing your home with aesthetic appeal. Erik has many houseplants in his home and it has made it a much happier, more vibrant place to live.  The air is fresher and he has even developed a sense of loyalty to his plants, making sure […]

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It’s Maple Time!

March 20, 2014

A common tradition in the North Country involves collecting maple sap and using it to make maple sugar. You can collect sap from any type of maple tree—each one has its own flavor—but the most popular trees are sugar maple, red maple and black maple. Our sales manager, John “Sparky” Birrenbach, has a cabin that […]

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A Treasure for Your Treasures

February 26, 2014

Many households have beautiful valuables in their home that are never displayed properly.  It remains hidden from everyone’s eyes, their beauty unseen by guests. But lately more people have taken the initiative to exhibit them, and they should.  Riches should to be appreciated. Furniture is often overlooked as an important part of a display so […]

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Patience and Hard Work Paid Off, A Journey to the Perfect Dining Room Set

February 21, 2014

  Months of Planning Some customers come to us with a general idea of what they would like; however, others come to us knowing exactly what they want, down to the smallest detail. Every detail has been decided with conviction and certainty.  They have spent a considerable amount of time envisioning many combinations of dining […]

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Sleeping on a Wooded Bed Frame

February 17, 2014

The Key to a Restful Sleep You spend a third of your life sleeping so it is no wonder why people place so much value in their beds. It must have the right frame, mattress, sheets, and pillows. That is an overwhelming load to bear but rest assured, no pun intended, a wooden bed frame […]

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Ice Harvesting for the Warmer Seasons Ahead

February 3, 2014

The relationship between nature and the Amish is hard to break. They are surrounded by it and it provides them with nearly everything they need to support their families. The forest provides them with wood to build their barns and homes. The soil grows their food, and ice preserves it. Ice harvesting has been done […]

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Different Cuts of Wood

January 17, 2014

There are many ways to saw the bark of a tree and each shows the grain of the wood differently.  One cut is regular or plain saw.  This method involves cutting the bark, either horizontally or vertically, from one side of the bark to the other side.  Here you’ll see large, irregular circles or semi-circles […]

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