Small Beginning

Small Beginning

Small Beginningwooden woven basket plaque engraving

Beginning in 1969 and for many years after that, George and I had a booth at Springs Folk Festival.  We sold our wooden lamps with woven veneer shades and lathe-turned candle holders. Cross-cut stools made from a log with the bark still on the edge added to the collection.  However the most popular item were the engraved signs and nameplates. Each sign was made for the customer while they waited.  Ray and Gloria Becker assisted with the many customers.  Ray sanded and attached chain hangers to the plaques while George did the engraving.  Later, as George and his craftsman started making furniture, the collection included tables, chairs, dry sinks, hutches.  George’s famous non-tip rocking chairs caught a lot of attention.

The Springs Folk Festival Craft show

The town of Springs, PA is located in the tri-state area of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland.  The first weekend in October was the peak for beautiful fall foliage in the area.  The stand holders demonstrated their craft which added  authenticity to the event.  Bus loads of people from Baltimore, Washington DC and Pittsburgh came.  On a beautiful Saturday, cars lined up from nearby Grantsville, MD, waiting to find parking in the grass fields around the festival.  On rainy days, cars got stuck in the fields and young car parkers needed to push them out of the mud.

Food brings crowdsdining room table furniture stores lancaster

Several other attractions were the food made by the Amish and Mennonite cooks.  Homemade bread baked in an old-time beehive-shaped bake oven.  Then covered with a generous helping of apple butter, made in a large copper kettle over a fire.  Special “festival sausage” made with the “whole pig”, hams and all kinds of other local favorites. As business grew, George focused his attention more at home.  In recent years, the next generation owners decided to attend the Sugarloaf Craft Festivals near cities like Philadelphia, New York, Washington DC and Baltimore.

 

Budding business turns into thriving furniture manufacturing

Budding business turns into thriving furniture manufacturing

Thriving Furniture Manufacturing

Heather and Craig watched Georges Woodcrafts develop from the small budding business in 1974 to a thriving furniture manufacturing business it is today. Regardless of the ridiculously small showroom that required them to slide past a shelving unit to visit the rest of the store, Mission style rocking chairCraig and Heather remember their delightful visit with George. During their first trip to the showroom, Craig learned about the amazing non-tip rocking chair. After purchasing a rocking chair, Heather found out they were expecting their first child. A larger showroom space greeted them during their next visit.

Wood working passion

George loved working with the customers to discover their unique design requests. He stopped what he was doing and gave them his undivided attention. His passion and knowledge of crafting solid hardwood furniture is an education that many of his customers experienced. A genuine artist who loved to share his passion for quality. Everyone left the showroom with a fresh look at quality furniture and a mind full of ideas.

Nobody has a finish like George’s. It’s held up all these 45 years.–Heather

Not only does George pay attention to the small details, he also delivered their furniture. Pam remembers one delivery when Georges came smelling like wood smoke from working on the farmette where the wood shop building and showrooms are located in Marietta, PA.

Furniture Collection

Craig not only purchased a rocking chair, but they added an intermediate chair for their grandchildren, a vanity bench for Heather’s spinning wheel, and a custom piece that needed to fit into a 40-inch space between the fireplace and wall. They purchased two child-size table and chair sets for their children’s families.

Craig and Heather Kegerise continue to visit George’s showroom and dream of new furniture for their house. Join our growing number of customers who love to share their discovery of handcrafted furniture Made Your Way.

Georges Unique Wooden Creations

Georges Unique Wooden Creations

The ability to custom design our furniture creates great opportunities for unique wooden designs. Our craftsmen listen to the request and then work with the natural properties of wood and build strong, long-lasting products.

Wooden Creations

A permanently disabled customer could not find a quality pair of wooden crutches. She did not like the metal crutches. After finding George’s Furniture, she asked if we could make a pair of wooden crutches. The craftsman laminated walnut and maple wood together and bent them into beautiful, strong crutches. She was so thrilled that she requested a second pair before she moved to Hawaii. Our furniture is now in Hawaii providing a vigorous support for a happy customer.

Extra Large Rocker

Georges invented a non-tipping rocker at the beginning of his business in the 1970s. True to his inventive abilities, George fulfilled another unique request. A very tall, large man visited the store and requested a rocking chair.

“I was just about ready to make a bigger rocking chair.” -George Martin

Georges used the current pattern and design, tweaked the angles a bit and built a strong non-tip rocker for a very heavy and tall man. The ecstatic customer had the confidence that his rocker would hold his weight and not tip over.

Alaskan Rocker

An Alaskan searched the internet for a quality rocking chair. He desired to surprise his wife. Gerogesfurniturepa.com came up in the internet search. The rocking chair, demonstration video, convinced him this rocker was the best rocking chair available for his wife. He never saw the rocking chair until we shipped it to him in Alaska. He is delighted and loved rocking in the chair when his wife is not using it.

Wooden marble chaser

Early in Georges furniture career, he designed a marble chaser. He thought the single track was boring and stepmarble chaser game up his game by designing a two-track chaser. The two-track marble chaser added an extra dimension. Not only does the marble roll down the track but it also races its opponent to the end. Georges featured the marble chaser as a game of marble racing during the Best Kept Secret Tour of Lancaster County, PA. Each tour attendee raced against the champion marble to win a discount or small gift.

More, More, More

A dog wooden kennel, stairways gate, crosscut critter (a natural crosscut of a walnut tree with open center), violin case, flute case, and a shadow box table displaying sand from places of travel are all designed from customers requests. What will be the next new design crafted by Georges Furniture? Visit our store and wood working shop for a close look at quality handcrafted furniture in Lancaster County, PA.

Broken rocker leads to discovery

Broken rocker leads to discovery

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.

Customer Remembers

“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.

Quality Discovered

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.

A legacy with Humble Beginnings

A legacy with Humble Beginnings

Legacy begins

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.

Child’s High Chair Legacy

Child’s High Chair Legacy

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.