Rocking chairs are cherished for their comfortable, gentle rocking ability that calms the nerves of a hard day. Mothers enjoy their newborn babies as they rock them to sleep. This is the story of how the Dubiel family discovered George’s Rocker Recliner.
Rocker’s Lost battle
Dick and Lori Dubiel purchased a rocking chair their home. An unfortunate experience happened to their rocker. Their uncle was rocking comfortably, when the rocking chair lost its battle and broke. Looking through the phone book, Lori found George’s Woodcrafts (presently George’s Furniture) and visited the store in Elizabethtown, PA, Lancaster County.
“My uncle rocked in my not so great rocking chair and as he pushed on the arms to get up, they broke off. I had seen George’s store in Elizabethtown so I went in to ask if he could reattach the arms. As I looked at George’s quality of work, I realized that I did not want him to see my broken chair. Instead, I went and ordered one of his rockers to replace the broken rocker. I wanted a good quality chair that would survive my two boys and George’s non tipping rocker was perfect. I purchased a rocker that George had on the floor.” -Lori Dubiel.
As a result of Dick and Lori’s rocking experience, they discovered George’s quality furniture. Their first furniture purchase was a walnut oval pedestal table set, dry sink and a crosscut stool. Once placing the order, the couple made small payments. However, as a surprise for his wife, Dick secretly placed additional money on their order. Lori’s mother joined into the fun and purchased her own rocking chair which she past unto her grandson. Five years later a corner hutch joined their collection.
Individual Attention to Detail
George loved to delivery his own furniture. The Dubiel’s remember their corner hutch delivery. Once the hutch was carefully placed in their room, George proceeded to checked all his furniture to be sure that no damage occurred during the Dubiel’s recent move. Years later, the Dubiels moved to South Carolina but remain in contact through George’s monthly newsletter. Discover George’s solid wood furniture in Lancaster County PA today.
Baby Cradle For New Arrival
A new baby was soon to enter into Doug and Shirley’s family. Their daughter announced the expected arrival of their new grandchild on March 15, 1989. An idea of a wooden cradle was on the top of the list and the search began. They didn’t want just any regular cradle. It had to be a unique and handcrafted. As they traveled around Lancaster County, they saw George’s hand-engraved road signs.
In the showroom a child’s cradle greeted them. They worked with George to design a special cradle perfect for their new grandchild. They were delighted when the cradle arrived just in time.
Mystery Tour Discovered
Years later, a friend wanted to take a group of their friends on a mystery tour. The tour guide was all excited to show some special places they had found. After about three stops on the mystery tour, Doug realized that they were traveling on roads close to George’s Furniture. Sure enough, their next stop was George’s Furniture. “Our daughters cradle came from George’s,” Doug proudly announced. The tour guide was a little disappointed that they had not surprise Doug and Shirley. However, the disappointment was soon forgotten while the group enjoyed a personalize wood shop tour.
Tall Bed Challenge Solved
Shirley always enjoyed a tall bed. She loved diving into her 36” high bed. The higher bed allowed for some extra storage under the bed. However, when she needed to have back surgery, her therapist said, “No more diving into your bed.” She came back to George and requested a bed stool to be made. It had one step and worked perfectly. Now she could slowly roll into bed without pain. Later a hand rail was added.
No Discontinued Styles
Well, another grand child is entering their family and it is time for another cradle. George’s Furniture maintained the design from the first cradle and made another cradle. These cradles will be cherished heirlooms for years to come.
Customer Shares Excitement
Doug and Shirley still talk about their experience with George’s furniture to all their friends and look forward to blessing their future grandchildren. Visit our showroom and image the unique designs for your next heirloom.
George’s legacy began in 1970, in a 8×12 ft shed in the back yard. A small collection of hand and powered tools along with raw lumber started the foundation that turned a hobby into a thriving business. While he worked at a local sawmill, he collected his own raw lumber by cutting some trees at a neighbor’s property, taking the logs to a sawmill, and drying the wood in a neighbor’s barn. Once the wood was dried properly, George took his natural talent and blessed his wife with handmade furniture.
First legacy furniture style
The first style of furniture George made depended on the small number of tools that were in his tool collection. The louvered doors and live edge shelves permeated the first furniture crafted. George used a 2×2 ft table saw to cut the slats for the louvered door panels and fit them into the door frame. A hand-held drill served as a hole maker for the 8 sized rungs. The table saw helped him made the 8-sided rungs. By turning his hand held belt sander upside down and wedging it into a vice grip he created a way to sand a taper into each rung end.
First woods used
Walnut and butternut wood were the first species of wood that George used for his furniture. Walnut wood contains a natural dark and light sections to the wood grain. The first 15 years of new growth is blond in color before it turns into a dark brown color. This is known as the sapwood and heart wood of a tree. Since Butternut wood naturally looks blond like walnut sapwood, George chose to use butternut wood for the shelves and the live edge of walnut for the rest of the furniture.
First piece created
In 1970, George designed and built a live edge bookcase with open shelves and storage below. Without the equipment to make raised panel doors, he utilized the antique louvered construction for doors and the back. Two thin rungs behind the doors provided a place to store vinyl records. On the bottom of the bookcase, we noticed that George used a yellow lumber crayon (tough, non-fade, water resistant crayon used in the forestry industry.) for signing his signature along with the date and place of construction. His typical signature included his first two initials and ended with his last name. The place was Lancaster county, PA. The written year finished the personal identification of authenticity.
After a fruitless search for a high-chair, George shocked Ava Lee by announcing his plan to make a high-chair for his young daughter. Chairs are one of the most difficult pieces of furniture to design and create for durability and longevity. Making the rungs, contouring the seat, designing the tray, drilling the precise angles, and assembling all the parts is quite an engineering feat. Georges presented the new highchair to their first daughter upon its completion. Later each child did their best to escape the grips of the highchair tray. Some even fell asleep.
Additional items in legacy collection
For Christmas of 1972, George designed a stereo cabinet to house the record player and stereo unit that he gifted to his wife, Ava Lee as a wedding present. The cabinet held the record player, two large speakers, and media storage. On the record player lid, it is inscribed, “To My Beloved Family for Christmas of 1972.” GBMartin, Lancaster County, PA, in lead pencil, protected by a water-resistant finish. Several other items in the original collection are live edge end tables, coffee table, and a small bench.
Next came tables and chairs
Once a highchair design was complete, the next step was dining chairs. Continuing the 8-sided rungs and contours seat, George built his first dining chair for Ava Lee, Christmas of 1971. He enlisted the services of Ebersole’s chair shop for steam bending of the chair backs. As a result of one completed chair the rest of the chair set arrived for Ava Lee’s birthday in January 1972. While their first daughter enjoyed the handmade highchair, she was pushed out by a second child. However, this created a problem because she could not comfortably sit on a regular chair and eat at the table. No problem, dad to the rescue. Soon a child’s chair arrived that was an intermediate height between a highchair and regular chair.
The second child also brought another want; a rocking chair. Good to his promise of providing for his family, George met another engineering challenge head on. He created not only a comfortable rocking chair with all its unique angles but also a rocker that does not tip over. The first rocker showed up on Valentines day for Ava Lee, 1972. The second rocking chair with arms was signed “To my beloved family 1972, GBMartin, Lancaster County, PA.” 1974 brought the creation of the first table, a 42 inch square walnut 4 legged table. However when the family needed a larger table, George converted the table into an extension table and donated it to Heartsease Home, a girls home in New York City.
Explore the museum
Our second showroom displays many of the original furniture designed and created by George Martin. Meet our Founder, George Martin as he talks (videos) about the different processes of making furniture. Visit our furniture store and wood shop soon for a personal look at the quality and craftsmanship that George passed onto his craftsmen.
David and Angela loved getting away from the stress of the office and the hustle and bustle of life in New Jersey. They enjoyed traveling to Lancaster County to the peace and tranquility of Amish and Mennonite farmland. Their favorite place to stay was the Cameron Estate Inn and Restaurant, Mount Joy, PA. The inn keepers, Abe and Betty Groff, were a delight to talk to which is the main reason why David and Angela’s return year after year.
Hand Engraved Road Signs
Traveling the Lancaster country roads, they often found hand-engraved road signs – George’s Woodcrafts- during their sight-seeing. David and Angela would pass by wooden signs thinking they did not need any birdhouses or small wood crafts. Finally one day they picked up an AAA travel guide and decided to check out George’s Woodcrafts. Were they surprised? George’s did not make birdhouses at all. Beautifully hand-crafted beds, dressers, long extension tables, smaller breakfast tables, tall tables were on display. Desks, bookcases, chairs, rocking chairs, benches, anything one could imagine greeted them-all specially designed to their special dimensions.
Small space challenge solved
Special dimensions were the challenge David and Angela faced. Their small house presented many problems for finding furniture that fit within the space. The search was over. They remember George Martin’s love for design and sharing of his unique designed rocker that did not tip over. He quickly pushed himself way back and it stopped. They could not forget this amazing design. Later a rocking chair found its way into their home. After sharing the history of the rocking chair, George proceeded to begin designing a small shelf that would mount to the side of the Finnegan’s bed.
Natural skill in designing
George’s did not need a picture of design from. He would listen to the customer’s needs and space requirements, then design and draw out a sketch of what was in his mind. David was embarrassed about how much time George devoted to them, designing their little bed side shelf, even this other customers around. The genuine desire to created and solve needs was why the Finnegan’s continued kept coming back for many more pieces of furniture over the years. Each room of their homes has at least one piece of furniture-except the bathroom.
Even though George has passed away, his daughter, son-in-law and skilled craftsmen carry the legacy of listening to customers’ needs and creating signed, dated, made by one craftsman, cherished hardwood heirlooms for over 50 years. Visit George’s showroom and see for yourself the Lancaster County quality of that drew David and Angela and captured their hearts.
It all started when Bob and Rachel visited their friend’s home. They noticed beautiful furniture skillfully placed around the living space. Furniture of this quality is hard to find. However, after years of searching, they finally found it right in their friends home. When questioned where the beautiful furniture came from, their friends ecstatically shared the journey that ended at George’s Furniture, Marietta, PA.
Bob had a remodeling project scheduled. After four years the new addition neared completion. Subsequently, they planned a trip to Lancaster County. A beautiful drive from Vermont to Pennsylvania brought Bob and Rachel to George’s Furniture’s showrooms and the wood working shop. During a wood shop tour, Bob and Rachel saw the craftsmen skillfully creating quality heirlooms. Finally they knew this was the birthplace of their new dining room furniture.
Built your way
They met with Anthony and started the journey of designing their desired dining space. After the order was placed and the waiting began. As an added benefit, Anthony sent several pictures of their furniture progression through the wood shop in the different build stages.
“Anthony did a fantastic job of working with us patiently while we determined what we wanted even to the point of thinking outside the box of choices to design the legs of the hall tree to match the table legs.”
Upon completion, the delivery personnel carefully blanket wrapped the furniture and skillfully placed it in the van for its trip to Vermont. A warm and excited reception greeted Chris and Juanita after a long 8 hour trip in the delivery van. Several neighbors eagerly waited, ready with open arms to transport the table, chairs, table leaf storage, large hutch, buffet, hall tree and 2 non-tip rocking chairs into the house.
“We knew the kind of quality we could expect but when the dining room furniture arrived, we were blown away by the quality of each piece individually and how the whole room of furniture fit together.”
Quality on Display
Rachel’s excitement exploded as she shared their journey discovering George’s Furniture. She looks forward to gathering everyone around the same table in their newly remodeled dining room. Bob and Rachel joined the family of George’s satisfied customer that can’t contain their excitement and love for their furniture. Join the family and create you next new piece of furniture. Come and see where your furniture is built or contact us to started the journey.
The search for furniture is a common need for people all over the America and beyond. Some are looking for furniture that will only last for several years while others are seeking furniture that will be heirlooms and will shine the quality for years to come. The search for the highest quality, solid, hardwood furniture made in America led Linda and Ed Riffert to Lancaster County, PA. After several years of looking in many furniture stores and experiencing disappointment of the quality, they nearly gave up. Is quality furniture still being made these days?
It’s Worth the Wait
During a visit to Kitchen Kettle, Intercourse, PA, they discovered a brochure from George’s Furniture. They followed their GPS clear across Lancaster County, through the cornfields, away from the tourist area and the heavy traffic. It seemed so far away. The GPS said they arrived, but where was the showroom. To Linda’s delight, several small signs stating, “George’s Furniture.” “Straight Ahead”. “It is worth the wait” “Where dreams come true.” greeted them as they made their final journey to the wood shop and showrooms.
Quality Furniture discovered
Finally, a place where quality furniture is made and you can even see it being constructed in the wood shop. The quality was astounding. Ed and Linda worked with George and purchased a large oak corner cupboard for their house. A new cascading LED light is now shining the beautiful grain on Ed’s desk.
Craft Show findings
The Rifferts love attending craft shows and seeing quality items. They continue to stop by our stand at the Kutztown Folk Festival, Heart of Lancaster and the numerous Sugarloaf Shows. They love sharing their experience with George’s Furniture to people at the shows. I enjoy watching their excitement as they share about finding quality furniture.
Sharing with others
Quality is meant to be shared. Recently the Rifferts brought their daughter and son-in-law into the showroom to assist in their new dining table. Quality is passing to the next generation. Come and experience the furniture made by one craftsman while you watch. Contact us or visit our website for ideas of a new heirloom.
Florida brothers experience George’s Furniture
George got a call late one Saturday afternoon near closing time. “Are you open on Sunday? We just found your brochure and are interested in seeing your furniture. Our return flight leaves for Florida on Monday morning.” replied the caller. “ I am very sorry, but we do not have hours open on Sunday. We would be happy to help you on Monday,” answered George Martin.
So they changed their flight and came into the showroom on Monday morning. A walk through the showroom and wood shop convinced them of our quality, but they wanted a different design for the head-board and foot-board of their king size bed. So George designed his first ocean wave bedroom suite. To the ocean wave poster bed, they added a dresser, vanity and nightstands.
Brother joins excitement
His brother heard about George’s quality furniture and wanted us to build a bookcase wall unit to encase a large fish aquarium. So he shipped the tank to us by freight to assure a perfect fit.
In the next few years, these brothers filled their homes with more furniture. One chose a roll top desk while the other got a computer desk with swivel desk chairs to match. The second brother chose a sleigh bed. A dresser, chest of drawers, night stands and a swivel full body mirror completed the set. Each one got entertainment centers and mantles for their fireplaces. One got an extension table, extra boards and chairs to accommodate guests when they come for dinner. Even their parents got in on the joy of handcrafted furniture, ordering a corner cupboard for their home.
We made several 16 hour trips to personally deliver their furniture over the next few years. On one trip, I was privileged to accompany George. I always enjoyed meeting our customers in their homes. After the furniture was safely moved into their homes, they gave us a tour of their massive vegetable fields. We enjoyed small plane aerial view over Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades, Florida.
This was a truly unforgettable experience with a wonderful family of George’s fans.
Search for quality
Charles Whary was searching for a quality entertainment center. He searched various furniture stores located in Lancaster, York and Harrisburg but was very disappointed in the quality of the furniture available. The furniture in stores appeared quality in design however consisted of plywood and particle board construction with very little hardwood. He refused to pay insane prices for poor quality.
While shopping at Meadow Brook Farmer’s Market in Leola, PA (which has since closed), Charles discovered George’s Woodcrafts storefront displaying quality, solid hardwood furniture. He picked up a business card and contacted George’s Woodcrafts. Charles drove to George’s Woodcrafts shop and showroom located near Maytown, PA, which was as short distance from his residence. At George’s, Anthony greeted him and gave him a tour of the factory.
Built to design
After discussing various dimensions and designs, Charles, used his drafting ability, and drew up a detailed design sketches of his entertainment center. Anthony took the sketches, verified the construction integrity and prepared an estimate for final approved by Charles. A craftsman handcrafted Charles’s entertainment center from the plans provides. Each piece is signed by the creator. The ability to select 100% solid Oak hardwood, stain and design brought Charles’s dream to reality. Since all of the hardwood used at George’s Woodcrafts is native to PA, Charles knew he found the quality he had was searching for.
Delivered to the Door
Throughout the many years, Charles returned to George’s to purchase many furniture pieces. Each piece created according to his design. A surprise awaited Charles when George Martin, the founder of George’s Woodcrafts, who sadly is no longer with us, delivered his furniture to his house.
Charles loves his entertainment center, however, thirteen years later, he desired to add three doors to the front. He worked with Chris on the exact dimensions and stain color to match the original entertainment center. The new doors completes the entertainment center, keeping dust out and components securely stored.
The ability to design and choose the details allowed Charles to create his dream living space. Furniture built with solid hardwood, made in America and above all will last for decades. Order your own built-to-order, custom made to your specifications piece of George’s furniture. Come and see where your furniture can be built or simply contact us.
A Calamitous Night
George’s Woodcrafts had just turned 20 years old. George Martin’s efforts had grown a custom, solid wood furniture-making business that employed about 8 full-time craftsman. George and his family had retired for the night on April 28, 1989. Suddenly, the dog started barking and someone began pounding on the door, frantically ringing the doorbell. George bolted for the window and then yelled, “The woodshop is on fire!” “Call the fire department!” “Get the vehicles out!”
Many fire departments responded to the fire. The firemen called it an “all-nighter”. Obviously, the wood shop contained a lot of fuel for the fire. The firemen were able to save some wood stored in the lower level of the barn as well as the wood piles stored outside but the rest was a total loss—machinery, patterns, lumber in the barn, and finished furniture in the storage area waiting to be delivered to customers.
During the fire, I (Ava Lee) went to find George. He was sitting on an upside down bucket between the lumber yard and the burning barn. He looked at me and said, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord”, a quote from Job in the Bible.
Over the next two days, neighborhood farmers and men from churches in the area came with machines and chain saws to help clean up the ruins. Women brought food to feed the hungry workers. The Brotherly Aid Insurance Company came immediately to assess the damage and quickly gave approval to release funds allowing the rebuilding process to begin within days of the fire.
A Craftsman Turns General Contractor
Following the lead of one of our craftsman, an experienced builder, our entire team of craftsmen became carpenters as they helped to build a new woodshop where the old woodshop once stood. No one was injured in the fire or during reconstruction process. The new roof rafters were set on a drizzly day in May,1989, a month that held a record-breaking 10 inches of rain. Within 3 months of the fire, one wing of the woodshop was built and we were back to crafting solid wood furniture! Our craftsman rebuilt the furniture that was lost in the fire, while work continued on the rebuilding the rest of the shop.
A New Shop Brings Efficiency, a New Kiln, a Showroom, and More!
George often said, “I was happy with the shop in the dairy barn. When God took away that one, He must have wanted me to have a new one.” The new one is more efficient, and more conducive to giving shop tours. The new shop includes room for a showroom and a wood-drying kiln on the first level.
We’d love for you to stop in! Come by and check out our shop and view our gorgeous solid wood, handcrafted furniture!
High Chair Designed
There is a saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention”. George and I spent our first year of marriage in the mountains of West Virginia. While there, I became pregnant with our first child. After spending a year there, we moved back to Elizabethtown in November 1969. George got a job at a saw mill where he learned about grades of hardwood lumber. In April our daughter, Juanita, was born. When she learned to sit up, George and I went shopping for a high chair. After a discouraging time of searching and not finding one that we liked, George said, “I think I will make one.” I looked at him in disbelief.
“I think I will make one.”
“Oh yes, George”, I said, “I know that you can make things with wood, but a high chair with a tray? That seems quite complicated.” Well, I have learned not to question my husband when he says he will do something, because there isn’t much that he won’t try and with success. The high chair that he built has survived 4 children and is now in the historical section of the showroom. When we have family dinners that require 2 high chairs, it comes into my house to be used for one of my grandchildren.
Child’s High Chair legacy
After making the high chair, George made chairs for our table, replacing the folding chairs that we had received as a wedding gift. Soon after that, he designed the rocking chair that will not tip over. Then he went on to design chairs of all sizes to go with the tables he was making, arm chairs and an intermediate chair for children ages 3-8. There were swivel chairs for the bar and later, when they began making desks, swivel desk chairs. All chairs are made with a 2 inch plank bottom seat shaped for comfort, designed for strength.
It all began because our daughter needed a high chair.