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  • 25 Tips to Buy Quality Furniture at Maximum Value

    There are a million ways to get your hands on furniture. From dumpster diving to designer pieces, you can literally spend whatever you want on a new couch or dining room table. But not every “deal” is as great as it seems. To avoid common mistakes in furniture buying, you need to educate yourself!

    Of course, as we all know, money saved today is not necessarily money saved in the future. Buying furniture is a great example of this. It’s generally better to educate yourself, formulate a plan, and stick to it—rather than snapping up the first great “deal” that you see advertised on a street corner on Saturday.

    In this article, we’ll give you 23 tips on investing in quality furniture. We hope these tips allow you to buy excellent pieces rather than waste your money on poor construction. Read on!

    1. Define your expectations up front, including budget and quality.


    A careful investment in durable furniture can last you for decades. In a sense, you want to spend as much as you can afford on furniture from a high-quality source. A cheap sofa from Wal-Mart or IKEA will likely need replacement in just a few years. Multiply that low price by 5 or 10 or 15, and you realize that cheap furniture really costs you in the long run.

    Bottom line: What level of quality do you expect? What can you afford to spend? You should determine this before you even start shopping.

    1. Put your money where your time goes.


    As this article at Lifehacker explains, you should spend your money in proportion to where you spend your time. We spend a lot of our lives asleep. That means that a high-quality bed and mattress deserve a big chunk of your overall furniture budget. We also spend a lot of time on our couches. Depending on lifestyle, we may spend a lot of time at the dining room table, whether eating, studying, or playing a game with family and friends.

    How will this save you money? By ensuring that you only purchase high-quality versions of high-use items. A cheap bed frame will help you save money this month, but you’ll likely replace it in 5 years as it wears down and your back gets older. A new cheap bed frame every 5 years isn’t saving money. Why not buy one frame that you can keep for the rest of your life?

    Bottom line: Spend more on quality, in proportion to the amount of use the item will see.

    1. Don’t forget smaller accessory pieces. Consider your décor as a whole.

    Shown: Arlington End Table by Online Amish Furniture Shown: Arlington End Table by Online Amish Furniture

    Remember to leave room (both in space, and in your budget!) for small pieces. You’ll need a new end table next to that new couch. If you’re refurnishing the entire living room, why not make sure that your new recliner matches or complements your new couch?

    Bottom line: Look at your future furniture collection as a whole. Don’t leave out smaller pieces, and start thinking about furnishing your room in an integrated style.

    1. Create a furniture-buying timeline. You don’t have to buy everything at the same time!


    Examine your personal finances. If necessary, begin saving for quality furniture. But remember, you don’t have to get everything all at once. In fact, if finances are limited, it’s actually better to buy slowly, just as fast as you can afford it. You don’t want to buy up a bunch of cheap junk just because the total price fits your budget.

    Bottom line: Quality may take time. Don’t be afraid to wait.

    1. Research furniture retailers to determine which ones fit your plan.


    Not all furniture dealers are created equal! Be wary of the guy on the corner on Saturday waving an “80% OFF BLOWOUT” sign! That high discount has been applied to a fake price. The store is still making plenty of money off of you.

    Research prices of several furniture dealers, and research the quality that’s available for that price. If you’re paying thousands for a piece of furniture, is it made of solid wood? Is it hand-built, with tried and true wood joinery techniques? Or is it stapled together and made in China?

    Don’t be afraid to look up reviews online, either. Google reviews in particular can provide a revealing look at a retailer’s business practices. Facebook pages offer more customer reviews. Of course, when you read reviews, read enough to get a wide sample. Try to find a review of every possible type, from completely satisfied to totally unsatisfied. Look for common threads. This will help you get a picture of the company you’re considering buying from.

    Bottom line: Look beyond the sale prices. Try to figure out what the company is really like.

    1. Measure the space where each new piece will sit.


    There’s nothing worse than getting your new couch into its new home and realizing it isn’t going to work out. Don’t do this. Just don’t!

    Of course, there’s more to think about than just plain numbers. Even if a piece will fit mathematically in a space, how will it feel there? Consider existing footpaths and ways of walking through your house. Are you going to catch your leg on the arm of that new couch?

    Bottom line: Measure twice, buy once.

    1. Measure your doorways!


    While we’re talking about measurements, take this to heart: you MUST measure any and all spaces that your new piece will move through to reach its home. This includes doorways, but it also includes corners, hallways, and split stairwells. If you don’t plan for them, these spaces can turn into nightmares.

    Bottom line: Again—measure twice, buy once.

    1. Have a backup plan for getting your furniture into the room where you want it.


    Just in case you measured wrong, consider alternative ways to get large pieces into your home. If you’re installing the furniture in an upstairs room, can you send it up onto a porch roof and in through a large window? If so, will you rely on hired help from the store, or can you get some friends together and feed them pizza afterward?

    Can you disassemble the furniture and rebuild it in the room where it will stay? If so, make sure you understand the piece you’re buying, and make sure it can be disassembled. Don’t assume!

    Bottom line: Think outside the box to get the furniture INTO the box!

    1. Determine what general furniture style you want before you start shopping.

    choose-style Photo on the right courtesy of French Finds. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

    It’s okay to get inspired by what you find; however, your efforts will be more fruitful if you figure out which styles you like best beforehand. If you keep it fairly broad, that will leave room for falling in love with unexpected pieces.

    Do you prefer traditional or modern? Industrial or country-style? It helps to organize your thoughts. This is especially helpful if you’re planning an eclectic look.

    Bottom line: Know what you want, but leave room for inspiration.

    1. Consider buying only solid-wood furniture.


    “Solid wood” means that if you were to cut into the wood on your furniture, you would find that the part in question (say, a table leg or a chair arm) was made from one continuous piece of wood rather than multiple layers sandwiched together. Solid wood construction is more expensive, but it’s also more durable and more attractive.

    Not everything that looks like wood is wood. Cheap furniture is often built out of composites like MDF or particle board. These materials are downright ugly, and they’re often beautified with veneer, a paper-thin layer of wood glued on top to create the illusion of solid wood. Worse, some composite pieces have photographic reproductions of wood grain glued on! That’s not wood. It’s a lie. If you want your furniture to last for decades, you should run from low-quality materials like these.

    Solid wood remains Nature’s best solution to the question of furniture construction. Hardwoods like oak, maple, and cherry are not only incredibly strong, but they are easily fashioned into wood-only joints—connections that don’t depend on nails or screws for strength.

    Bottom line: If you want your investment to last for decades, buy solid wood furniture.

    1. Know what you can expect from each type of wood.


    Wood is divided into two categories: hardwood and softwood. Generally speaking, hardwoods are harder than softwoods (though there are some species that—ahem—go against the grain!). Hardwood is always a better choice for furniture, though softwood is acceptable in pieces that will not receive extreme wear and tear. However, solid softwood furniture is always a better choice than furniture made out of composites!

    Note that hardness is not the same as strength, though the two qualities often go together. Hardness is the ability of wood to resist indentation.

    Typical hardwoods used in furniture construction include red oak, white oak, hard maple, walnut, and many more. Softwoods are not as common in solid wood furniture, but you may find pieces made out of pine, cedar, or fir, among others. Note that furniture made out of softwood is not weaker in construction than hardwood; rather, the wood itself is more easily dented.

    Bottom line: Research hardwoods and softwoods. Determine what species are appropriate for your level of wear and tear.

    1. Consider durability if you have children or pets.


    Be realistic. Will your favorite couch in the showroom stand up to little hands and feet, both animal and human? If you have non-declawed cats, think carefully about your upholstery. Also consider food spills and animal accidents. What type of upholstery are you considering buying? Will it stand up the level of abuse that it will get in your home?

    Upholstery isn’t the only thing you should consider. Particularly with large dogs and energetic children, you should pay attention to furniture construction. A couch can easily become a climbing course when you’re not looking. For rambunctious children, consider furniture pieces with heavy, solid wood frames that won’t tip over easily and won’t start wobbling from a little extra weight. For example, a solid wood dining table will stand up to years of use by every member of the family.

    Bottom line: The safety of your children and pets goes hand-in-hand with furniture durability.

    1. Avoid 0% Financing “Deals.”


    Avoid them like the plague! As Bob Sullivan reports on, so-called “no-interest financing deals” can nail you with the fine print. The interest-free period is limited to a set number of months. If you don’t pay off the loan in that time frame, you may owe interest for the entire time you had the loan—at 20-30%. Worse, as that article reports, the minimum monthly payments in these plans don’t add up to paying off the debt on time! They’re designed to get you on the hook and keep you there.

    Bottom line: 0% financing is a debt trap. Stay away!

    1. Never pay sticker price at a brick-and-mortar store!


    You’ve heard it said that everything is negotiable—you just have to know what you’re doing. That’s especially true in the brick-and-mortar furniture industry. When you’re buying in-store, you need to haggle. Otherwise, you will get ripped off—big time.

    According to this article on Wise Bread, the furniture industry typically uses a markup of 200-400%. (At the other end of the spectrum, most staple groceries are marked up around 5-8%!) This means that the MSRP at a brick-and-mortar furniture store is almost certainly a fake price. Let’s do a little math here:

    • Imagine a dining room table, MSRP $3,000, at your local furniture outlet.
    • The table has been marked up 400%. That means it cost the store $600.
    • It’s on sale—70% OFF!—for $900.
    • The store is still making $300 on the sale, which is a 50% markup on a cost of $600.

    This situation sounds like an incredible deal, but it isn’t. Only a sucker would have bought that table for $3,000. It’s a fake MSRP. At $900, you’re paying a reasonable price and a reasonable markup, but it’s not the incredible thing it claims to be! In this situation, you should be more concerned about quality. How is the table built? Is it solid wood, and does it use wood joinery techniques? Worse, did a salesman (who makes commission) pressure you into buying it?

    Bottom line: Always haggle at a brick-and-mortar furniture store.

    1. If you’re buying from a brick-and-mortar store, ask about delivery costs right away.

    lego-delivery-truck Photo courtesy of Bill Ward. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

    You don’t want any surprises. This is one area where a brick-and-mortar store can really nail you. Ask up front, and watch the salesperson’s reaction carefully. That will tell you a lot about the business you’re dealing with.

    Bottom line: Ask about delivery up front.

    1. Check upholstery composition at a brick-and-mortar store.


    If you’re not buying furniture from a trustworthy online retailer (such as an online Amish furniture outlet), you should put your upholstery through its paces while you’re still in the showroom. If possible, unzip any cushions or pillows and see what’s inside. Is the upholstery filled with cheap foam, or more durable materials? Is it firm to the touch, or soft and squishy?

    Upholstery composition gives you a good snapshot of the overall quality of the furniture. Bad upholstery stuffing=bad furniture!

    Bottom line: Look inside before you buy.

    1. Test the feel of springs and support in the upholstery.

    This tip is so obvious, we shouldn’t have to say it—but we wanted this article to be complete. If you’re at a brick-and-mortar furniture store, sit all over the piece in question. Feel for lumps and saggy spots. How do the springs respond to different positions of your body?

    Don’t let the salesperson distract you. Shut out everything else and focus on what you feel. It’s better to rule out poor upholstery now than find yourself stuck with it later.

    Bottom line: Sit before you buy.

    1. To avoid pushy sales staff (who make commission), consider buying online.


    As Annamaria Andriotis reports on Market Watch, furniture salesmen typically make 4-10% commission, and some stores require them to meet a sales quota before commission even kicks in. This leads to pushy sales tactics.

    Ask yourself: whose agenda are you trying to fulfill—yours, or theirs? Are you trying to buy an heirloom-quality table, or are you trying to help them move some stock?

    You can buy high-quality furniture without falling prey to salesmen. When you buy hand-built, solid wood furniture online, you see your price, and you know what you’re paying for: the work of real craftsmen. You can shop from the comfort of your home, without the stress of a salesman who needs to get paid.

    Bottom line: Buy your furniture online for a low-pressure shopping experience.

    1. Stick to your budget.


    Don’t get upsold at a brick-and-mortar store. When you shop online, you can easily filter for prices that match your budget. If you find something you love that’s too expensive, either restructure the timing of your plan, or move on to a cheaper alternative.

    Bottom line: Spend what you decided to spend.

    1. Look for personalization options.


    Many solid wood furniture retailers offer personalization options. At Amish furniture stores, you can choose the type of wood, stain or paint color, finish type, and more. Many custom furniture retailers will even match the look of your existing furniture for a small additional fee.

    When you’re buying from a retailer that sells hand-built furniture, the sky is literally the limit. Since every piece is a one-off built by real craftsmen, you can get exactly what you want. This gives you a piece that’s not only heirloom-quality, but also a genuine, unique work of art.

    Bottom line: Take advantage of personalization options from hand-built furniture retailers.  

    1. Use A Coupon!


    This is especially true when you’re shopping online. You can often find great deals by signing up for an online retailer’s email newsletter. You’ll get coupon codes shipped straight to your inbox. You can couple this technique with your furniture-buying plan. It will help you buy slowly as you snatch up great deals only when they become available.

    Bottom line: Watch for deals and pounce on opportunities.

    1. Think carefully about color. Will you still love that upholstery in 10 years?


    Bright red may suit your fancy today, but where are you headed? For major pieces of furniture, it’s safer to choose colors that work in a wide variety of settings. You don’t want to invest in a beautiful, durable piece of furniture that just won’t fit your redecorating plans in 5 years.

    Earth tones are often a safe bet. They work with a wide range of styles, and they rarely look out of place. Unfortunately, they’re not always as distinctive as we’d like them to be. Here, as in other areas, use your best judgment, and find a balance between uniqueness and adaptability.

    Bottom line: Think ahead when choosing colors.

    1. Avoid furniture that isn’t built with reliable wood joinery techniques.

    Photo courtesy of Aerolin55. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0. Photo courtesy of Aerolin55. Licensed under Creative Commons 3.0.

    This is one of the most costly mistakes you can make when you buy furniture. Cheap pieces are often joined together with nails and glue—or worse, staples! Nails are fine for holding a treehouse together, but they simply won’t due for furniture. Because a nail must compress the wood to make room for itself, it’s already preparing the wood to crack. Nails also tend to pull out, since they don’t have threads like a screw to grip the wood.

    Glue is also a bad choice. Unless the two wood surfaces are an absolute perfect match, there are probably gaps between them. Those gaps will fill with glue—but not all adhesives are designed to create a strong bond while filling gaps. Many require exact surface-to-surface contact to work. Unless you can inspect every glue joint with a magnifying glass and find out whether a gap-filling adhesive is used, it’s best to avoid glue-joined furniture altogether.

    What’s the alternative? Wood joinery! Believe it or not, it’s possible to create incredibly strong joints with nothing but wood. Techniques like dovetail joints and dado joints create strong wood-only joints that will hold up for generations without glue.

    Bottom line: Ask about traditional joinery techniques when you shop for furniture.

    1. When shopping at a brick-and-mortar store, check moving parts for smooth, sturdy operation.


    You don’t want to get your new chest of drawers home only to find that the drawers stick. Examining moving parts is one of the easiest ways to determine the overall quality of the furniture in question.

    When you shop online, make sure you’re buying from a quality retailer who only sells hand-built furniture. That way, you know that the moving parts on your furniture were built and installed by a skilled craftsman, not slapped on by a robot.

    Bottom line: Shop for furniture with quality moving parts.

    1. Know what type of care your furniture will require.


    Solid wood furniture is pretty forgiving. You can move it, place heavy objects on it, and generally treat it like a workhorse. However, the finish on solid wood furniture is often softer than an equivalent piece made out of particle board. That means it will dent more easily.

    Wood furniture also reacts to sunlight and moisture in ways that fake furniture doesn’t. Extended time in the sun will alter the color of wood furniture, and extreme changes in humidity can lead to cracks in solid wood. To keep your solid wood furniture looking beautiful for decades, you need to keep it out of direct sun, or at least plan on a furniture rotation every few months if you can’t avoid direct sun.

    You also need to keep your home at a stable 35-45% relative humidity year round. Winter is especially brutal to wood furniture, as humidity levels can drop significantly. It’s helpful to think of wood as a living thing, even after it’s been fashioned into a table or a chair. It still needs to breathe, and it still needs decent temperature and humidity.

    Bottom line: Take care of your furniture now to avoid costly repairs later.

  • The 45 Best Things Still Made in the USA

    For a long time now, we’ve heard how manufacturing is moving overseas—and taking all the jobs with it. While this is sadly true in many areas, industry and innovation aren’t dead here in the US of A. Our great country is still producing amazing products with superior quality. You just have to know where to look!

    In this article, we’ve scoured the web for the coolest, most fascinating things that are still made in America. After you read this article, we suggest you get out there and support some of these great American businesses. Remember, when you buy American, you help all of us—including yourself.

    Now, let's be clear--these companies and products aren't ranked in any kind of order. We just gave them numbers because we found so many awesome companies, and we wanted to make this easy to read. These are all great products, and you can buy from any one of these American companies with confidence.

    Here are the categories we came up with. Let’s dive in!

    I. Fashion and Apparel

    II. Home Products

    III. Musical Instruments and Audio Equipment

    IV. Tools and Workshop Equipment

    V. Arts and Crafts

    VI. Sports and Outdoors

    VII. Children’s Toys and Games

    I. Fashion and Apparel

    1. All American Clothing Company

    Shown: Not Made In China Tee. Photo from manufacturer’s website. Shown: Not Made In China Tee. Photo from manufacturer’s website.

    All American Clothing Company sells high-quality jeans, shorts, shirts, outerwear, and more. They offer many styles and options for both men and women. Founder Lawson Nickol started the company in 2002 when he realized that major jean manufacturers were outsourcing production to overseas companies. All American Clothing Company only sells clothing made in the USA—right in Arcanum, OH, to be precise. Check out their great catalog!

    2. KD New York Dance Apparel

    Shown: Boyfriend Top in Off the Shoulder KD 03. Image from manufacturer’s website. Shown: Boyfriend Top in Off the Shoulder KD 03. Image from manufacturer’s website.

    KD New York makes soft workout wear. This is comfortable apparel that looks great and facilitates physical movement. KD New York started out in Oakland, CA, as “KD dids” in 1980. In 1983, the company moved to New York, where they still make every piece of clothing they sell. With lines dedicated to dance apparel, yoga, fitness, and more, there’s something for everyone.

    3. Cord Shoes & Boots

    Shown: Mercer Boot Brown. Photo from manufacturer’s website. Shown: Mercer Boot Brown. Photo from manufacturer’s website.

    Cord Shoes and Boots sells beautiful, traditionally-constructed leather footwear and leather goods. Cord’s philosophy is admirable. They believe that Less Is More—in other words, they don’t shoot for a gigantic product line; they produce a limited number of styles, and they make sure that every design and every shoe is the best it can be. Cord also caters to women just as much as men—a rarity in the world of quality leather footwear. Cord is a woman-owned business, and they make everything in the USA!

    4. Freaker USA

    Shown: Hug-A-Boo beverage koozie. Photo from manufacturer’s website. Shown: Hug-A-Boo beverage koozie. Photo from manufacturer’s website.

    Freaker USA has one mission: to prevent “moist handshakes and sweaty beverages.” They sell awesome, quirky knit koozies and socks. That’s right—you can make this fashion statement on your feet, or on your 40oz. The designs are wacky. The statements are hilarious. The best part? This crowdfunded business got off the ground in North Carolina., and everything is USA-made.

    5. Nectar Clothing

    Image from the Nectar Clothing website. Image from the Nectar Clothing website.

    Nectar Clothing sells gorgeous SoCal fashion for women who “love adventure, food, camping, county fairs, the beautiful SoCal beaches, falling in love, and being with friends.” Owners David and Tricia Kelly started the company in 2005 and have seen incredible success. Their hearts are in the right place, and their clothing is innovative, stylish, and fun. Plus, everything is made in California, USA. What’s not to love?

    6. Tarina Tarantino

    Shown: Conditioning Lip Sheen Candy Jar. Photo from manufacturer’s website. Shown: Conditioning Lip Sheen Candy Jar. Photo from manufacturer’s website.

    Tarina Tarantino and Alfonso Campos started Tarina Tarantino in Los Angeles, 1995. The company has grown into an iconic fashion brand. They offer all kinds of jewelry, plus lipstick, eyeshadow, mascara, and more—all with the distinctive Tarina Tarantino look. Fashion bloggers, editors, and Hollywood stylists regularly feature her Tarina’s pieces. The best part? It’s all made in Los Angeles, CA. Check them out!

    7. Royal Apparel Wholesale

    Shown: Women’s Bamboo Organic Scoop Neck in Pewter. Photo from manufacturer’s website. Shown: Women’s Bamboo Organic Scoop Neck in Pewter. Photo from manufacturer’s website.

    Royal Apparel Wholesale sells great American-made clothes at wholesale prices. They have a wide-ranging catalog with many options. With lines for women, men, kids, and infants, Royal Apparel Wholesale has something for everyone. They also offer organic styles made of certified organic cotton. The best part? All these duds are made in the USA! Check them out for some great deals.

    8. Bodacious Cases

    Shown: Thin Blue Line iPhone Case. Photo from manufacturer’s website. Shown: Thin Blue Line iPhone Case.Photo from manufacturer’s website.

    Bodacious Cases sells beautiful, durable cases for iPhone 4/4s, 5, and 5s. Bodacious Cases isn’t your typical faceless corporation. They’re dedicated to having a compassionate brand, and they have a loyal customer following. Even better, Bodacious Cases honors veterans, police officers, firefighters, and other upstanding individuals with its Bo Heroes program. Customers can nominate someone to be a Bo Hero. For every 12 cases sold, Bodacious will donate one case to a Bo Hero. Awesome! The clincher? Everything is made in the USA.

    9. Knot Clothing and Belt Company

    Shown: Oh My Stars! Patriotic belt. Photo from manufacturer’s website. Shown: Oh My Stars! Patriotic belt. Photo from manufacturer’s website.

    Knot Clothing and Belt Company offers canvas cracked belts, shadestraps, duffel bags, and more. Their belts are American-made, and their philosophy is great. Founder Nick Mannella worked a suit-and-tie job in Boston while saving up money to start his company. He launched Knot Clothing and Belt Company in 2009. He spent another year working fulltime and pumping late night work into his new company. A year later, he was ready to make Knot his fulltime endeavor. That passion and commitment show in every product in the Knot catalog. Check it out!

    10. Bootights

    Shown: Darby’s Lacie Lace, Classic Red. Photo from manufacturer’s website. Shown: Darby’s Lacie Lace, Classic Red. Photo from manufacturer’s website.

    Bootights offers a truly innovative fashion product: knee-high tights with attached socks! They’re perfect for wearing with boots, and they come in a variety of styles—bohemian, urban, western, and more. They also offer boot socks, over the knee socks, and headbands. Founder Shelby Mason has created a fantastic fashion statement. The best part? Bootights are made in the USA!

    11. Hickey Freeman

    Shown: Cashmere overcoat. Photo from manufacturer’s Facebook page. Shown: Cashmere overcoat. Photo from manufacturer’s Facebook page.

    Since 1899, Hickey Freeman has produced finely tailored clothes for men out of their Rochester, NY factory. Their styles are top-notch, and they source their materials from the finest Italian mills. This isn’t your TJ Max bargain rack sport coat. A piece from Hickey Freeman will last for decades—and it’ll look sharp the whole time. With every Hickey Freeman piece coming right out of Rochester, NY, what’s not to love?

    12. Milligan Brand Knits

    Shown: Oriental Tea Roping Riders Chenille Cardigan. Photo from manufacturer’s website. Shown: Oriental Tea Roping Riders Chenille Cardigan. Photo from manufacturer’s website.

    Milligan Brand Knits produces beautiful sweaters, throws, and home décor. Their products are tastefully designed, and they often feature patterns inspired by the traditions and culture of New Mexico, where the company is located. In their own words, their sweaters are “wearable art.” We couldn’t agree more! And to top it all off, their products are made in the USA. Check them out!

    II. Home Products

    13. Big Chill Stoves and Refrigerators

    Photo from manufacturer’s website. Photo from manufacturer’s website.

    The folks at Big Chill build incredible stoves, refrigerators, dishwashers, and other kitchen appliances. They have three main lines: Retro, Pro, and Classic. The Retro line features mid-century styling and fun, vibrant colors. The Pro line sits at the other end of the spectrum, with contemporary styling and bold color schemes. The Classic line features rich color schemes and industrial chic styling. There’s literally something for everyone—and their products are built in the USA.

    14. Holy Lamb Organics

    Shown: Happy Lamb Fleece Topper for Babies and Toddlers. Photo from manufacturer’s website. Shown: Happy Lamb Fleece Topper for Babies and Toddlers. Photo from manufacturer’s website.

    Holy Lamb Organics sells beautiful natural bedding products. With mattresses, toppers, comforters, pillows, and more, their catalog is a one-stop shop for bedding and bath needs. Holy Lamb is NOT a large company offering a “green line”; they’re a small company offering a great line of natural bedding. That’s an important distinction! They use sustainable practices in every step, and none of their byproducts go into a landfill. They reuse, recycle, or compost it 100%. That’s incredible. The best part? Holy Lamb products are made near Olympia, WA. We can’t say enough about these guys!

    15. Merrick Pet Care

    Shown: Backcountry Raw Infused Great Plains Red Meat Recipe. Photo from manufacturer’s website. Shown: Backcountry Raw Infused Great Plains Red Meat Recipe. Photo from manufacturer’s website.

    Merrick Pet Care offers safe, all-natural food for your pet. Their recipes are expertly formulated, providing great nutrition and taste for both dogs and cats. In the age of mass-produced corporate pet food, it’s incredibly refreshing to see an American company making great food for our cats and dogs. It’s downright inspiring!

    16. Grainmaker Mills

    Shown: Grainmaker Grain Mill Model No. 116. Photo from manufacturer’s website. Shown: Grainmaker Grain Mill Model No. 116. Photo from manufacturer’s website.

    Grainmaker Mills builds high-quality grinding mills, flaking mills, and more. These products allow you to grind your own flour and foodstuffs. The company is family-owned and operated. The Jones family took a leap of faith when they put everything into Grainmaker Mills—and it paid off wonderfully! The best part? All their products are made in Montana. Check them out!

    17. Staber Washing Machines

    Photo from manufacturer’s website. Photo from manufacturer’s website.

    Operating out of Groveport, OH, since 1976, Staber Industries, Inc. is the only US manufacturer of a top-loading, tumble-action washing machine. If you’ve ever owned a major-label washing machine, you know how long foreign-built “quality” lasts. There’s really no replacement for a genuine attention to detail and quality. Built and sold in America, Staber washing machines and dryers provide that and more.

    18. Pyrex Glassware


    Pyrex kitchen glassware first appeared in 1915. Pyrex offers a great product that’s more resilient than normal glass. Most likely, every kitchen that’s worth its salt as at least one Pyrex dish in a cupboard somewhere—and probably more than one. Pyrex is still made in the USA, so you can buy with confidence.

    19. KitchenAid Mixers

    Photo courtesy of Aaron Headly. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic. Photo courtesy of Aaron Headly. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic.

    Those who have a KitchenAid mixer swear by them. Whirlpool Corporation’s brilliantly-designed stand mixer has changed very little since the 1930s. The concept is that good! A stand mixer allows you to dump your ingredients into the bowl, flip a switch, and watch as the machine does the hard work. No more fighting your handheld mixer, trying to get the job done while not creating a spray of batter. This incredible product is still made in the USA. What’s not to love?

    20. Benchmark Signs and Gifts

    A custom sign from Benchmark Signs and Gifts. Photo from manufacturer’s website. A custom sign from Benchmark Signs and Gifts. Photo from manufacturer’s website.

    Benchmark Signs and Gifts sells custom wood signs to decorate your home, office, and everything in between. Owners Sam and Kristy have a passion for woodworking—plus a sense of humor. You can choose from countless templates, and each one accepts your custom text. Check out their cabin signs, family name signs, business logos, bar signs, and more. The best part? They’re all made in the USA.

    21. Online Amish Furniture

    Shown: Baytown Single Pedestal table, available in a wide range of sizes, woods, and options. Shown: Baytown Single Pedestal table, available in a wide range of sizes, woods, and options.

    You got it—that’s us, Online Amish Furniture! We believe in buying and selling American-made products. That’s why we wrote this article. We’re so passionate about buying American that we source all of our Amish furniture from real Amish master craftsmen. That means all of our furniture is made right here in the USA. When you buy from Online Amish Furniture, you’re supporting the American economy—and getting beautiful, hand-built furniture that will last for generations. Check us out!

    III. Musical Instruments and Audio Equipment

    22. Steinway and Sons Pianos

    Photo courtesy of Gordon Tarpley. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0. Photo courtesy of Gordon Tarpley. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

    The pianists among us know: there’s nothing like a genuine Steinway. Pianos age well, just like wine, and the instruments from America’s oldest (and last standing) piano company are no exception. Of course, Steinways are expensive. You know, the old “if you have to ask what it costs, you probably can’t afford it” line. Whether their instruments are in your price range or not, Steinway & Sons stands as a testament to American craftsmanship and attention to detail.

    23. S.I.T. Guitar Strings

    Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys uses S.I.T. (“stay-in-tune”) strings. These guitar and bass strings are manufactured in Akron, OH, and have been since 1980. They’re long-lasting, affordable, and sound absolutely amazing. If you’re a guitarist, grab a set of S.I.T. next time your guitar starts sounding muddy. You’ll get great tone, and you’ll support an American business.

    24. Earthquaker Devices

    Guitar players are notorious for “gear acquisition syndrome”, the purchasing of more and more guitar accessories. Take a listen to some demo videos from Earthquaker Devices, and you can understand the addiction. Earthquaker Devices hand-builds groundbreaking guitar and bass effects pedals in Akron, OH. These pedals offer sounds which truly haven’t been heard before. The best part is that purchasing an Earthquaker Devices pedal means keeping your money here in the USA. You get great tone, and you support the economy. What’s not to love?

    25. Carvin and Kiesel Guitars and Audio

    Shown: AM7 Aries Multiscale Fanned Fret 7-string. Photo from manufacturer’s website. Shown: AM7 Aries Multiscale Fanned Fret 7-string. Photo from manufacturer’s website.

    The Carvin Corporation is a California-based manufacturer of guitars, guitar amps, bass amps, and pro audio equipment. A lot of big-name musicians endorse or use Carvin gear—people like Joe Walsh (The Eagles), Lee McKinney (Born of Osiris), and Neil Zaza. That’s for good reason: their guitars are built to exacting specifications, and their audio gear is world-renowned for its performance and reliability. The best part—everything is made in Carvin’s facility in San Diego, CA. If you’re a musician, Carvin is a great source for incredible American-made gear.

    26. Ohm Speakers

    Shown: Walsh 1000 Tall Speaker in Maple. Photo from manufacturer’s website. Shown: Walsh 1000 Tall Speaker in Maple. Photo from manufacturer’s website.

    Ohm Speakers features groundbreaking audio technology and cabinet design. These speakers don’t sound like speakers; they sound like the music. Even better, you don’t have to listen from a “sweet spot” to get the perfect sound. Ohm’ speaker technology is omnidirectional, meaning the music sounds amazing from any angle or direction.


    Shown: Studio-110 Synthesizer System. Photo from manufacturer’s website. Shown: Studio-110 Synthesizer System. Photo from manufacturer’s website. offers high-quality modular synthesizer products. In the late 90s, founder Roger Arrick snatched up the domain name for his company. is built on great core values—the Golden Rule, selling direct to customers, and making modular synth systems affordable for every musician. They also offer Moog expansion systems, bringing more capability than ever to Moog synthesizer systems. The best part? Their entire product line is designed and built in East Texas. What’s not to love?

    IV. Tools and Workshop Equipment

    28. Chapman Manufacturing

    Shown: Chapman Master Kit No. 5575. Photo from manufacturer’s website. Shown: Chapman Master Kit No. 5575. Photo from manufacturer’s website.

    Chapman Tools are widely known for their superior durability, precision, and hardness. They’re used to service everything from computers to Apache helicopters. Old Man Chapman founded Chapman Manufacturing in 1936 out of his garage in Durham, CT. The company is now headquartered just around the corner from their original location. Everything Chapman sells is made in America. You can buy from them with confidence.


    Shown: 444 12” Narrow Nose Tongue and Groove Plier. Photo from manufacturer’s website. Shown: 444 12” Narrow Nose Tongue and Groove Plier. Photo from manufacturer’s website.

    CHANNELLOCK sells pliers, screwdrivers, wrenches, specialty tools, and more. Their tools are some of the best you can buy. They’re built to last, and they’re surprisingly affordable. These aren’t your cheap Christmas gift tools. CHANNELLOCK tools will help you do serious, professional-quality work in plumbing, automotive, electrical, HVAC, and more.  The best part? They’re all made in the USA!

    30. Lakeshore Carbide

    Shown: 1/8” Rougher/Finisher Variable 2 Flute Endmill for Aluminum. Photo from manufacturer’s website. Shown: 1/8” Rougher/Finisher Variable 2 Flute Endmill for Aluminum. Photo from manufacturer’s website.

    Lakeshore Carbide produces and sells top-notch carbide end mills at highly competitive prices. All their end mills are held to an H6 tolerance. Their business model is built to be lean—they have no sales reps. They pass these savings on to their customers with incredibly low prices. Everything they sell is made in America—and they’re based right out of Lake View, NY. Check them out!

    31. Estwing Tools

    Shown: Camper’s Axe 14” – Orange. Photo from manufacturer’s website. Shown: Camper’s Axe 14” – Orange. Photo from manufacturer’s website.

    Estwing manufactures high-quality striking tools—hammers, axes, prybars, and more. They’ve been in business since 1923, and they offer an incredibly innovative handle design that dampens the vibrations caused by striking a hammer or axe. Your hand will feel so much better after using an Estwing tool! The best part of all this? They make everything in the USA, and they’re based out of Rockford, IL, 90 miles northwest of Chicago. Check them out!

    V. Arts and Crafts

    32. Crayola Crayons

    Photo courtesy of Chris Metcalf. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0. Photo courtesy of Chris Metcalf. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

    Believe it or not, all Crayola crayons are still made in the USA—in fact, right in Easton, Pennsylvania. The modern Crayola company was first incorporated as Binney & Smith in 1902. Crayola is currently owned by Hallmark Cards, and their crayons remain the iconic art experience for children ages 1 to 100.

    33. Post-It Notes

    Photo courtesy of Michael Arrighi. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0. Photo courtesy of Michael Arrighi. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

    Post-It Notes are still made here, too. However, you’d be surprised to learn that the original Post-It was a bit of an accident. According to Wikipedia, 3M scientist Dr. Spencer Silver was trying to develop a super-strong adhesive, but his experiments created a weak adhesive that was reusable and adhered easily with simple finger pressure. That was 1968, and the idea took a while to catch on. However, the first Post-Its were sold in stores in 1977 as “Press ‘n Peel.” The rest is history!

    34. Sculpey Modeling Clay

    Photo courtesy of Jana Lehmann. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic. Photo courtesy of Jana Lehmann. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

    Sculpey modeling clay is incredibly popular in craft circles. It’s available in a variety of colors, and with a little kneeding, crafters can combine colors to create new ones. The clay is easy to work with and bakes quickly in a household oven. After baking, the clay can be painted or left as it was originally colored. Even better, Sculpey is still made in the USA.

    35. Bound Custom Journals

    A beautiful Bound custom journal. Photo from manufacturer’s website. A beautiful Bound custom journal. Photo from manufacturer’s website.

    Bound offers beautiful, one-of-a-kind journals that are made to last for years. Their online custom builder lets you determine every aspect of your journal, including size, page count, cover type, and more. You can also add custom printing to the inside of your journal. Regional maps, city maps, lines, grids, and more—there are tons of options. The best part? Bound is based out of Durham, NC, and every journal they sell is made in the USA. Awesome!

    VI. Sports and Outdoors

    36. Wilson Footballs


    It doesn’t get more American than football. You might think that NFL football production has moved overseas—that maybe the old pigskin isn’t even made out of pigskin anymore. Wrong! Wilson, the official football supplier to the NFL, makes every football by hand in their Ohio factory. Even better, the footballs are still made out of genuine leather.

    37. Bison Coolers

    Shown: 150qt Bison Cooler. Photo from manufacturer’s website. Shown: 150qt Bison Cooler. Photo from manufacturer’s website.

    Bison Coolers manufactures the highest-quality, professional-grade coolers your American dollar can buy. Their designs feature one-piece construction, with roto-molded corners. That means your cooler won’t catch on your truck bed liner or your pants. Their largest cooler has a 150qt capacity, which holds 125 cans of your favorite beverage or 194lbs of ice. Incredible! Say goodbye to that busted-up Igloo and invest in a Bison Cooler. The best part? They’re all made in the USA.

    38. Louisville Sluggers

    Photo courtesy of Patrick Morgan. Licensed under Creative Commons 3.0. Photo courtesy of Patrick Morgan. Licensed under Creative Commons 3.0.

    It’s great to know that Louisville Sluggers, used by some 60% of MLB players (according to the Slugger website), are still made right here in the USA. Baseball is part of the American heritage, and Louisville Slugger makes all their bats in their Louisville, KY factory. Ballplayers know: there’s really nothing like the feel of a real wood bat—and Louisville Sluggers are the best in the world. Of course, the company also makes metal bats with cutting edge technology. All in all, this is a great American business.

    39. Nokona Ball Gloves

    Nokona makes ball gloves for baseball, youth baseball, fastpitch, slowpitch, and more. They also offer mitt accessories and bats. With the ability to create your own custom Nokona glove, their website shows off the beauty and versatility of their products. Iconic players who’ve used Nokona products include Nolan Ryan, Vladimir Guerrero, David Ortiz, and Miguel Tejada. The best part: all Nokona ball gloves are made in the USA.

    VI. Children’s Toys and Games

    40. Uncle Goose Toys

    Shown: Odd Galaxy Lunar Rocket, Moon Rover, and Cosmo Kid. Photo from manufacturer’s website. Shown: Odd Galaxy Lunar Rocket, Moon Rover, and Cosmo Kid. Photo from manufacturer’s website.

    Uncle Goose sells beautiful handcrafted wooden toys and blocks. Everything in their catalog is made in Grand Rapids, MI, out of materials sourced from around the Great Lakes region. Their inks are safe for young children, and the blocks are so carefully made, they’ll last for generations. These guys really have something special. Check them out!

    41. Cabbage Patch Dolls

    Photo courtesy of Mike Mozart. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0. Photo courtesy of Mike Mozart. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

    If you were around in the 1980s, you remember the Cabbage Patch Kids craze. These iconic dolls are still as popular as ever, and they’re still made in America—right in Cleveland, GA. Founder and creator Xavier Roberts told the story of how he discovered the Cabbage Patch Kids after following a BunnyBee to a magical cabbage patch where he found the babies hatching. With this kind of mystique, it’s no wonder Cabbage Patch Kids remain so popular.

    42. K’NEX Building Toys

    K’NEX is a fantastic line of construction toys for inquisitive children. The systematic nature of the toys teaches children to recognize the functions of different parts in a system—while still encouraging them to break the mold and discover new functions for familiar parts. Along with LEGO, K’NEX is one of the best things you can get your kids. And the best part? They’re still made right here in the USA, in Hatfield, PA.

    43. Skullduggery Toys

    Skullduggery makes beautiful toys in several lines. They offer toy race cars and racing systems, educational craft kits, Smithsonian model kits, and incredible fossil replicas. With this wide range of toys, they offer something for every child—especially those who like to build accurate, lifelike models. The best part? Skullduggery Toys are still made in the USA—right in Anaheim, CA.

    44. Step2 Toys

    Photo courtesy of HeyGabe WW. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0. Photo courtesy of HeyGabe WW. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

    Step2 makes high-quality toys, children’s furniture, and home and garden products. While the Federal Trade Commission Guidelines would allow nearly all of Step2’s products to be labeled “Made in the USA,” the company holds itself to a high standard and uses a 3-tiered labeling system. This system allows Step2 to differentiate between products made entirely in the USA, products partially built in the USA, and products which are made overseas but rigorously tested in the USA. With these standards, it’s hard not to love Step2.

    45. Slinky

    Photo courtesy of Annie Pilon. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0. Photo courtesy of Annie Pilon. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

    Few toys have such an iconic image as the Slinky. We all grew up with them. We watched them walk down the stairs. We stretched them out and sent waves through them. We got them all tangled up and asked mom to fix it. She tried her best, but you know. The Slinky is one of the best toys ever invented—and it’s still made in the USA.


    Well, what did you think? Were you surprised that there are so many great products still made in the USA? You shouldn't be! American ingenuity is the strongest it's ever been, and this list of products is just the tip of the iceberg. We found many, many more, which we simply couldn't include due to space.

    Here's the bottom line: get out there and support these great American companies!

  • How To Care For Solid Wood Furniture

    Since Amish furniture is made out of all-natural American hardwood, it requires some special care. You want to protect your investment and keep it around for future generations. Luckily, this is easier than you might think. To care for solid wood furniture, just follow these simple tips—and don’t stress!

    General Use

    It might sound a little weird, but it’s helpful to think of your Amish furniture piece as a living thing. During its lifetime, wood breathes, taking in and releasing moisture from the air. Even after wood has been fashioned into furniture, it continues to breathe; and while it may feel hard to the touch, wood actually dents easily. Amish furniture just needs to be handled gently and treated well.

    Solid wood furniture can’t handle high heat. On your Amish dining room table, make sure you always use a hot pad for warm dishes. For dishes that come straight out of the oven, or for pots coming off the stove, it’s best not to put them on your Amish table at all, even with a hot pad. The heat is just too much, and the hot pad won’t prevent damage to the finish and the wood.

    For an Amish furniture piece that’s used as a writing surface, it’s important to put some kind of pad between the paper and the table. Believe it or not, ballpoint pens can dent the finish on your Amish table.


    Remember how wood is a living thing? It actually changes color when it’s exposed to sunlight for long periods of time. It’s best to place your solid wood furniture away from direct sunlight. If you can’t avoid putting the furniture in direct sunlight, consider rotating pieces frequently to avoid long-term exposure.

    If you can’t avoid the sunlight and you can’t rotate your furniture, don’t leave objects on your table for long periods of time. That way, the color will change evenly across your furniture.



    Wood keeps adapting to humidity even after the lumber has been made into furniture. The finish on your Amish furniture slows down the transfer of moisture from the air, but it can’t stop it entirely. As humidity swings up and down, your solid wood furniture will expand and contract accordingly. Amish furniture is built to handle moderate swings in humidity, which are typical in northern climates. However, huge, sudden swings can cause the wood to buckle or crack.

    The best rule of thumb? If the temperature and humidity inside your home feel comfortable to you all year round, your furniture will be happy, too.

    Moisture and Spills

    Contrary to popular belief, a spilled beverage on your Amish dining room table isn’t the end of the world. Just wipe it up completely, right away. If you want to avoid condensation from cups, you can use coasters on your wood surfaces. However, if you make it a habit of wiping up condensation immediately, there’s no need to use coasters. Just be consistent, and wipe up the condensation every time.

    Spilled chemicals are another matter. Solvents such as turpentine, rubbing alcohol, or nail polish remover will almost certainly destroy the finish on your Amish furniture. The best rule of thumb is to keep these chemicals far away from your solid wood furniture. After all, you shouldn’t need nail polish remover at the dining room table!

    Dusting and Cleaning

    It’s important to dust and clean your Amish furniture regularly. However, you need to do it the right way. As dust particles build up, they can actually damage the finish on your furniture. Worse, if you dust or clean with a dry cloth, you’ll scratch the finish.

    The answer is simple: use a microfiber cloth to clean your furniture. Moisten it with water, or with furniture polish. Don’t use too much liquid—just enough to dampen the cloth. Wipe along the grain of the wood, and wipe gently.


    Caring for solid wood furniture is easier than you might think. The trick is to know what you’re doing, and do it consistently. We’ve covered the basics here, but if you have any further questions, we’re happy to help you out. Just call us at 888-882-6474, or email us at

    Featured image courtesy of Doug Coldwell. Licensed under Creative Commons 3.0.

  • The History of Amish Furniture

    The history of Amish furniture is a history of many things: religion, migration, necessity, and craftsmanship. While Amish furniture is valued today for its beauty and durability in contrast to mass-produced pieces, the Amish furniture tradition was born out of need, and the original styles were built with the tools and materials on hand.

    The more we understand about the history of the Amish, the greater admiration we can have for Amish furniture. Let’s take a look at the tradition and culture that produce Amish furniture.

    The History of the Amish

    Amish history began with a religious schism. Amish history began with a religious schism.

    In 1693, a schism occurred within a group of Swiss Anabaptists.  Jakob Ammann led one group out of the church split, and his followers became known as the Amish. In the early 1700s, the Amish immigrated to the New World and settled in Pennsylvania. Today, the Amish mostly live in communities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, though smaller groups also live in Wisconsin, New York, Michigan, Missouri, Kentucky, and parts of Canada.

    The Amish are known for their simple way of life and their refusal to use some forms of modern technology. While they are sometimes made fun of for these decisions, we should try to understand the Amish from their own point of view. Their way of life offers them simplicity and the health that comes from physical activity. The Amish also enjoy a tight-knit community in which family and church relationships are of utmost importance. The Amish way of life stands in stark contrast to the mainstream American emphasis on transience, career achievement, and individuality—which may ultimately lead to loneliness. The Amish have a good thing going!

    Amish Furniture: A Rich History, A Beautiful Heritage

    The Amish way of life may not be for everyone, but one thing is sure: everyone loves Amish furniture! With its traditional construction methods and its emphasis on natural wood, Amish furniture offers beauty and durability that you won’t find at a big-box furniture store.

    So how did it all begin?

    Amish furniture styles arose out of necessity. The original Amish craftsmen worked with the only things they could get—hardwood and hand tools. They didn’t even use nails or screws to hold their furniture together. They added aesthetic flourishes sparingly. Instead, they focused on simplicity. As the modern era developed, particularly in the 1920s, people began to notice how Amish furniture contrasted with the development of mainstream design styles. As mass production and industrialization took over, an arts and crafts movement developed in protest. Amish furniture stepped into the spotlight.

    Beauty, Durability, and History You Can Sit On!


    319px-Rocker_in_the_Shaker_Village_at_Pleasant_Hill Photo courtesy of Carl Wycoff. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

    Or dine on, or sleep on—it all depends on what type of Amish furniture you buy. It’s great to know that your furniture was built using traditional construction methods and all-natural materials. For the environmentally conscious, the design connoisseur, or the value-seeker, it doesn’t get any better than Amish furniture. What’s not to love?

  • Why Amish Furniture?

    In the age of cheap, mass-produced products, it’s understandable to ask, why Amish furniture? And yet, living in the age of cheap, mass-produced furniture—that’s exactly why people choose Amish furniture! You might not realize that Amish furniture is every bit as affordable as pieces from the major brands. The difference is, every Amish furniture piece is built by master craftsmen using tried-and-true methods of joinery and construction. You won’t find that quality in factory-built furniture.


    Does solid wood really make a difference? Yes. It absolutely does. People have used wood for millennia to build important structures that need to last for decades. It was only in the 20th century that “advances” in technology created new, unnatural types of materials and faster ways of building with them. While synthetic materials have their place in architecture, engineering, packaging, and so on, we believe they don’t perform well as structural components in furniture. When it comes to furniture, you could say we’re totally retro. The Amish had it right all along!


    Quality isn’t the only thing to love about Amish furniture. If you’re concerned about the environment, you can buy Amish furniture with confidence. Since it’s made entirely of natural wood, Amish furniture will return to nature if—heaven forbid—it’s ever discarded. (Why would you discard it? You’d have to be crazy!) Mass-produced furniture from major brands often includes MDF, or particle board. MDF is a wood composite injected with resin. It’s hard, heavy, and impermeable to moisture. That means it takes years to biodegrade.

    Wait a minute. If wood is so good at biodegrading, how will Amish furniture last for decades in the home? Glad you asked! Wood only rots if it isn’t fully dried and is then exposed to extreme changes in moisture and temperature. Out in the woods, a fallen tree is subjected to the cold of winter and the heat of summer. The changes in temperature and humidity cause the wood to crack, giving moisture more and more access to the internal fibers. With moisture comes bacteria, mold, and so on—and it’s all over for our little fallen tree.

    You don’t have to worry about this with Amish furniture. All of our hardwoods are fully dried and stabilized before we begin construction. That means that even with the humidity changes between winter and summer, your furniture will never crack. Amish craftsmen use a finishing process which seals the wood from outside moisture. That means that your American hardwoods remain incredibly stable under their finish. Properly finished and placed in a home environment, Amish furniture will literally outlast generation after generation of owners.

    As you can see, Amish furniture truly represents a great value—and not just from a financial perspective. When you buy Amish furniture online, you’re buying for yourself, your children’s children, and the environment in general. Why Amish furniture? The real question is, why not?

  • Amish Furniture Construction Methods

    Amish furniture has experienced an explosion in popularity over the last few decades, doubtless due to the poor construction methods employed by the major mass production furniture companies. Everyone has to have Amish furniture these days! And yet, with all that popularity, Amish furniture construction methods remain a bit mysterious. How exactly do the Amish do it?

    OnAm_lamp-828982_1920 The beauty of American hardwood.

    Amish furniture construction methods are integrated into a larger philosophy on furniture and craftsmanship as a whole. With their values and their direct connection to the land, the Amish understand that natural American hardwoods are our best resource when it comes to furniture. But the Amish know more than that. They know that wood must be properly cut, properly dried (stabilized around 6% moisture content), and properly matched to the role it will have in the finished piece of furniture. All of that, before construction even begins!

    Amish furniture construction methods depend on proper wood selection. With wood that is still green (not fully dried), the highest quality furniture would still crack or deform after 1-2 years in service. As the wood continues to stabilize in moisture content, it actually changes size and shape. That means that precise joinery, like mortise-and-tenon joints and dovetail joints, would lose their perfect fit. Fully dried wood really is the foundation of long-lasting Amish furniture.

    Of course, every piece from Online Amish Furniture is built with wood that has been properly dried and stabilized. That means that our wood is ready to play its part in the carefully-designed structure of a typical Amish furniture piece.

    Stanley jointer plane, courtesy of Luigi Zanasi. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 Share Alike. Stanley jointer plane, courtesy of Luigi Zanasi. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 Share Alike.

    So, what about that structure? How do they produce those perfect fits and those smooth-as-glass surfaces? You might be surprised—these beautiful features are largely the product of hand tools. Our expert craftsmen use jack planes, jointer planes, and smoothing planes to control the final shape of every bit of wood in your furniture. Where mass-produced furniture often relies on staples and nails to support critical joints, Amish furniture uses actual joinery techniques that have been practiced for hundreds of years. A mortise-and-tenon joint, for example, involves a protruding piece of wood that fits precisely into a pocket in another piece of wood. A dovetail joint is even more complex, with keystone-shaped tongues that fit precisely into matching slots. These joints are virtually unbreakable.

    Dovetail joint, courtesy of Pearson Scott Foresman. Public domain. Dovetail joint, courtesy of Pearson Scott Foresman. Public domain.

    The hardwoods used in Amish furniture are Nature’s gift to craftsmen. With the proper sanding, staining, and finishing, these woods are simply breathtaking. Amish craftsmen really do work alongside Nature, preserving the best of its offerings and enhancing its beauty and durability.

    Amish furniture construction methods really do produce unmistakable results. Compare a mass-produced piece to a similar Amish piece, and you’ll find yourself converted. What’s not to love?

  • Mission Style Furniture vs. Shaker Style Furniture: What is the Difference?

    In selecting different options of Amish furniture, the terms “Mission Style” and “Shaker Style” are sure to be ones that you will constantly come across. While it is commonly known that authentic Amish furniture is handmade from solid wood, understanding the different styles can help in navigating all the different options of furniture available and picking the best piece that suites your style and home decor. While both Shaker style and Mission style share many commonalities, it is the history and detailing of the two that sets them apart.

    What is Mission Style Furniture?

    With its straight lines, rectilinear forms, and flat slatted features, Mission style furniture reflects a merging of traditional and contemporary styling. A style that grew from the Arts and Crafts Movement of the 19th century, the Mission style took many of its design cues from the American Southwest and the rustic styling of today’s Mission furniture continue this tradition. In its early beginnings, American furniture designer Gustav Stickley was credited as creating one of the first American Mission Furniture lines, but Stickley did not agree as he felt that the term “Mission” mischaracterized his furniture.
    Mission style furniture can be identified by its focus on vertical and horizontal lines and solid, squared posts for legs. While not a definitive trait, Mission furniture is commonly made from oak and quarter sawn oak. Authentic, Amish made Mission Furniture is hand-made, accentuates vertical and horizontal lines, and other times features exposed joinery.

    What is Shaker Style Furniture?

    While some may argue that Mission and Shaker styles are similar, the history of the Shaker style pre-dates Mission by almost 150 years. In the late 1700’s, as America’s colonies were forming and uniting to under a new nation, a group of religious colonists known as Shakers began to settle American soil. This deeply religious sect believed in a simple, humble, and self-sufficient life and maintained a strict moral code of conduct. These lifestyle traits carried themselves over to the furniture built by the group, which became known as the Shaker style.
     With a focus on utility and function, Shaker style furniture was typically made of pine, maple, cherry, or whatever wood was local to the sect. Any type of ornate design or detailing was seen as deceitful or self-serving by the group, so Shaker furniture is devoid of any type of elaborate decoration. Modern Shaker furniture continues most of the Shaker tradition, with gentle curves, tapered posts, wooden drawer pulls, and tapered legs.
     While different in styling, Shaker and Mission furniture styles both exhibit a close attention to craftsmanship and durability. Both feature clean lines and solid-wood construction that can be accented with any number of natural finishes.
     At, we offer authentic Amish furniture options in a variety of styles including Shaker and Mission. All of our furniture is handmade from solid wood by Amish craftsmen in Ohio and Indiana. Shop our collection today!
  • Amish Made: The Best Choice for Summer Outdoor Furniture

    With summer in full swing across the country, is there a better time to explore your outdoor furniture options? Although better known for traditional furniture like dining and living room sets, the Amish are quite adept at creating stunning and durable furniture for the outdoors as well. Amish made outdoor furniture is a great option for anyone looking for a beautiful piece that can stand the test of time.
    Amish furniture is renowned for its meticulous build, quality, timeless styling, and attention to detail. The Amish are passionate about the art of furniture making and have passed along centuries of knowledge from generation to generation. When you buy authentic Amish piece, you can rest assured that you’ll be purchasing a piece of furniture that was made by the hands of a passionate and experienced craftsman here in America. It is this same devotion to quality and workmanship that has established the Amish as some of the premier furniture makers in the world.
    What Makes outdoor Amish furniture superior to the alternatives?
    You’ve heard that Amish furniture is superior to other furniture, but have you ever thought about why? Keep reading to discover what exactly sets this quality furniture apart from the alternatives!
    Quality Materials:
    Unlike resin and other plastic-polymer based furniture, Amish made outdoor furniture is typically built with 100% hardwood – you’ll never find cheap plastic or particle board alternatives in an authentic piece of Amish furniture. At Online Amish Furniture, our outdoor wood furniture is available in cypress or treated pine. These woods are known for their durability and propensity to withstand the outdoor elements. Cypress in particular has been used for thousands of years due to its resistance to insects and the elements in general. If left unstained, both cypress and pine will darken with age to a rustic grayish color. We offer a number of staining options for those looking for a more personalized color that will last for years to come - even in tough summer conditions.
    Timeless Designs
    Furniture, like everything else, is prone to design trends. But just because a lot of today’s ‘modern’ outdoor furniture makers are following these trends doesn’t mean you should as well. If you’re looking for a trendy piece of furniture, then Amish made furniture might not be the right choice for you. If, however, you’d like to invest your money in a timeless piece of furniture that stands the test of time both from a design and a durability perspective, you’ll find no better option than Amish furniture.
    Furniture really just needs to serve two main purposes. First, it’s got to be comfortable. Second, it’s got to be aesthetically pleasing. The Amish have mastered the art of balancing these two attributes, resulting in timeless outdoor furniture designs that have that classic aesthetic without sacrificing comfort or function.
    When people talk about the craftsmanship of Amish furniture, you’ll often hear the phrase “heirloom quality” – but what does that even mean? The word heirloom actually has its origins in British estate law, originally created as a portmanteau of heir and loom, another word for tool. Essentially, heirloom quality means that the item will last for generations, and be able to be passed from heir to heir. Although expecting heirloom quality out of outdoor furniture may be asking just a bit too much, you can expect outdoor Amish-made furniture to outlast any other wood based outdoor furniture. Their generations of experience is applied to every piece of furniture they make, whether it’s designed for the dining room or the patio.
    Although the initial investment in outdoor Amish furniture may seem expensive, the “you get what you pay for” adage rings especially true when it comes to outdoor furniture.  A lot of the more ‘affordable’ alternatives are made from molds and attention to detail in items like this is less than desirable. On top of that, these products are not created with the same love and care that each and every piece of Amish made furniture receives. Sure, you might save a few dollars initially, but you’ll likely end up spending more over the years as resin cheaper outdoor furniture options will need to be replaced year after year.
    We’re proud to offer a number of outdoor Amish furniture options to our customers. Apart from our selection of cypress and pine furniture, we offer a full line of Amish made outdoor poly lumber furniture products as well. Though a bit more expensive, poly lumber will not crack, rot or peel. Best of all, the only thing you need to maintain your poly lumber is a simple garden hose!
    We offer all sorts of Amish made chairs and other outdoor patio furniture for your patio, deck, or backyard. If you’re looking for chairs for the back porch, consider our Cypress Adirondack Chair, great for lounging in on those long summer evenings. If relaxation is a top priority, pair it with our Cypress Adirondack Footrest - a match made in heaven. Check out our entire selection of Amish-made Outdoor Furniture for more ideas!
  • How to Choose the Perfect Amish Bedroom Set

    Once we reach a certain age, we usually decide that we no longer want the mixed and matched college-type furniture that has been worn out and overdue to be replaced for years. If you have decided that now is the time to purchase new and modern furniture, take a look below – we have some tips about how to choose the perfect bedroom furniture set for you.

    Decide The Look & Feel

    The first step that you need to take in this furniture buying process is deciding what the feel you want your bedroom to have. Sit down and think about your current style. It is important that you choose a bedroom furniture set that reflects your taste and style. You can think about bed styles, colors and even materials that you want within your room. Also, do not forget the accessories that you can add that will help create a finished look. Make yourself some color palettes with paint chips, and work within certain colors.

    Take Measurements

    Prior to shopping for your new bedroom furniture, you need to take measurements. Furniture sets come in all shapes and sizes, with various pieces that might not fit into your room. Get your measurements up front so that you do not waste too much time looking at furniture that will never fit.

    Set A Budget

    The quality of the furniture that you choose can be a tough decision to make. You can easily save tons of money and buy cheaper quality furniture. But after 1 or 2 years of use, the furniture might start to fray or fall apart. Spending a little bit of extra cash for furniture that will last for decades is a wonderful investment.

    Take Your Time

    When you start shopping for your perfect bedroom set, you need to make sure that you do not rush into making a purchase. While you may be eager to get your room completed, it is important that the set that you choose is perfect for the bedroom.

    While it seems that choosing the perfect bedroom set may be a difficult feat, as long as you have the right tools on your side, you should have the bedroom suite that will fit you best. Keep an eye out for the bedroom sets that are high in quality and priced well. After the set is ordered all you need to do is clear out your old furniture! Make sure you put it to good use and try to donate it to someone in need.

  • 5 Home Design Trends for 2015

    Designing or re-modeling a home can be an exciting process for a homeowner who desires to give their home a new feel and make it look more modern, updated and lively. There are many home design trends for 2015 that have homeowners excited about upgrading certain features and areas of their homes.

    Gold Fixtures

    This year, homeowners will no longer be limited to silver or stainless steel fixtures! This retro statement hardware color is predicted to make a huge comeback in 2015 with a new modern twist: bright gold with a sleek finish for extra shine. Also, feel free to mix and match finish colors, or go bold with all gold.


    Experts say that wallpaper is coming back in a big way in 2015. From abstract prints to textured wall coverings, this trend is primed and ready to take off!

    Chic Sideboards & Hutches

    Putting a focus on the dining room is going to be super important this year. Adding a modern hutch or custom made sideboard could be just what your dining room need to take it to the next level.

    Charging Stations

    With the size of electronic devices shrinking and the widening use of Wi-Fi, demand for large desks and a separate home office is waning. However, homeowners still need a dedicated space for charging their devices, and the most popular locations include the kitchen, entrance from the garage or the mud room.

    Freestanding Tubs

    Say goodbye to pre-installed jetted tubs! The newest version of the modern tub features a cool sculptural hand. These tubs complement other bathroom trends as well, including open wall niches and single wash basins.

    Remodeling a home is a task a lot of homeowners have on their to-do list, and trends above are just a few of the major home design trends to consider for 2015. Whether you are just looking to make a small remodel or a major home improvement, these trends will ultimately make your home feel more stylish and new.

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