Handmade Wood Furniture
The Value of Handmade Wood Furniture
No one who has even driven past an Amish quilt shop doubts the craftsmanship that
goes into handmade wooden furniture. The attention to detail, the custom lines and even a few “character”
marks are what makes this type of furniture so valuable to the people that own it. As a woodworking artisan,
you too can appreciate the time, effort and planning that goes into producing a quality piece of
Other than the hours of sweat equity and tender care (and sometimes frustration) put into a piece of handmade
furniture, there is also the added value of customization. Instead of searching for that perfect desk to fit
where you want, you can build the desk. It can be as long as you want with just a couple of pencil marks on a
plan. The same goes for tables or even patio furniture. Custom staining or paint might also add to the value.
Searching for the Right Piece
Too many times, people find the right style and size of furniture that will meet their needs. Unfortunately
they may find that the stain does not match what they currently have or the paint will be off color. While
having chairs and couches that do not match isn’t always a bad thing, having five piece of wooden furniture in the
same room (i.e. coffee tables and end tables) that are all different colors and stains, might concern some
There is also an added value in the nature of the handmade piece. They tend to become heirlooms and very valuable
over time. Obviously they are more valuable when made by a family member and passed down from generation to
generation. Any handmade piece is looked at in that light. It will be shown the same degree of nostalgia
Taking Care of Vintage Handmade Wood Furniture
On a side note, when antiquing for old wooden furniture, remember that cleaning them up with a furniture polish
is probably one of the worst things you can do.
In the show Antique Road Show you see this happening all the time. Someone shows up with an end table that once
belonged to Sir Muckey Muck in the 18th century and so on and so forth. Listen for the rub… “And in original
condition it would be worth $200,000… but you’ve polished it so it’s worth…well… $1.23.” So if you have any
illusions about refinishing existing handmade wood furniture, for the love of all that is good, have it
Building Your Handmade Wood Furniture
When beginning to make your own handmade wood furniture, start slow. Attention to detail is required
to make that perfect piece for a loved one, yourself or a customer. Gluing and countersinking skills have to be
sharp (no pun intended) and a good set of vises are a must.
Remember to get either rubber tipped vises or use a couple of pieces of scrap stock to avoid marring. Small
errors and blemishes are character marks, even if they are mistakes. By calling them that, you add a little to the
sentimental value and the piece further gains character.
Artisans throughout the ages have crafted handmade furniture for their patrons. Many of the same practices and
skills used as long as 500 years ago are still used by the at-home woodcrafter. When making your own handmade
wooden furniture you must realize that in many ways you are giving a nod to those makers before you and
continuing a way of life.