Worthy to pass on

Worthy to pass on

In 1978, while Cyrus and Florence Keefer were designing their new house in Middletown, PA, they remembered a small furniture store in Elizabethtown that built custom furniture. They particularly loved the unique and beautiful graining of black walnut wood. George’s Woodcrafts specializes in Black Walnut wood. Cyrus and Florence visited Georges and ordered a trestle table and chairs to fit their eat-in kitchen space.

Family tradition

A family tradition was to gather around the trestle table Sunday nights and Cyrus made sandwiches (his specialty and only time cooking) for all the families that come for the evening. Whey Cyrus passed in 1980 at a young age, the trestle table and chairs set passed on to his daughter and son-in-law, Lorri and Kurt Siffin.

The table was a sentimental piece of furniture. A pleasant reminder of our father and family home, recalls Lorri. The table has aged well. The memory marks have added character to the table.  It is a piece worthy to be passes on.

Second Generation

The table set moved into the Siffin family home and received many years of loving care. It followed the family through several moves, always serving as a gathering place for family meals. When Kurt and Lorri down sizedTrestle table made at Georges Furniture in lancaster county pa to their current home in Long Neck, Delaware, the table and chairs went into storage.

Third Generation

After having been carefully stored for 2 years, the table set has a new home in Philadelphia, PA. Cyrus’s granddaughter, Karly Siffin, recently moved from a small apartment into a town home.  They now had room for the family heirloom. The table fits perfectly in the dining space of Karly’s new home in Manayunk, PA.

“I love that this table belonged to my grandparents. It is very special to me.” – Karly

Worthy to Pass On

Each customer of George’s Furniture enjoys the ability to pass their heirlooms from one generation to another. The exceptionally high-quality construction and strong, protective finishes, allow George’s furniture to survive decades. Join the many satisfied customers and begin your family traditions of gathering around a table and enjoying the beauty of handcrafted furniture.

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.

It’s Worth The Wait

It’s Worth The Wait

Quality discovered

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. cascading levered construction style end table or desk lamp  furniture store in lancaster york 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.

2020 is George’s Furniture’s 50th Anniversary!

2020 is George’s Furniture’s 50th Anniversary!

As 2019 draws to a close, we look forward to 2020 with anticipation and excitement. The Christmas season surely brings a sense of excitement and wonder as we celebrate the coming of Jesus for the salvation of the world. We pray that the remaining days of 2019 are a time of rest and celebration with family and close friends and that you will experience peace and joy!

The thought of the new year is thrilling to us as 2020 is the 50th Anniversary for George’s Furniture! In celebration of our 50th year, we are offering specials on our quality, handmade, solid wood furniture. Each month holds a different item, so pay close attention!

Here is what you can look forward to in 2020:
January: Wedding Registry Month!

Register for your gift registry and receive a Keepsake wooden box or a set of wooden coasters. Or, refer an engaged couple and receive a gift certificate of $75 when they register.

February and March: Table Months!

$250 off Dining Tables

April: Bedroom Month!

10% off a 3 piece standard-design bedroom set or

$300 off King or Queen bed or

$200 off Full/standard or Single bed

May: Buffet & Hutches Month!

$350 off Buffet or similar storage unit.

$500 off Hutch or similar storage unit.

June: Entertainment Units, Coffee Tables and End Tables Month!

$400 off Coffee table and 2 end tables set

10% off custom entertainment unit

July: Chair Month!

15% off Side chairs, benches, settees and rocking chairs

August: Best Kept Secrets “The List”
September and October: Small Christmas items

Plant stands, Cutting boards, Saddle seat stools, 10 x 15 x 10 Foot stools, Coaster sets, Small cross, Vanity bench.  Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to find details.  Orders placed by October 31 to have by Christmas.

2020 promises to be an exciting year at George’s Furniture. If you haven’t already, visit our showroom to learn more about the quality, solid-wood furniture that we have been making for 50 years! You won’t be disappointed! We can’t wait to celebrate our 50th Anniversary with you! Stop on by the shop and visit! We’re looking forward to seeing you!

Pentagon commissions expanding conference table

Pentagon commissions expanding conference table

Pentagon commissions expanding conference table

“West Donegal woodworkers crafts table for Pentagon.” Lancaster News Paper headlines announced a local family-owned business received a commission, an expanding conference table, from the Department of Defense. See complete story.

Quote to Completion

It all started with a quote. Tipped off by a current customer/employee, the Department of Defense commissioned George’s Furniture to design an expanding conference table.  The table measures 8 ft  in length however, it expands to 12 feet, allowing for the flexibility in meeting sizes.  The Pentagon accepted the and the fun commenced.  Assigned to a skilled craftsman, the conference table continued its journey to completion.  Lancaster News papers heard the news.  A Lancaster County business making a table for the United States government!  They were ecstatic. A reporter was quickly assigned, however, the photographer barely snapped enough pictures before the craftsman finished building the table.

 Unique Delivery

Meanwhile, delivery preparations were finalized, clearances submitted and specific instructions confirmed for transporting the table to its final Pentagon office location.  At the security gate, government employees carried the heavy oak conference table into the complex.

Grand Tour

As a result of a department meeting going overtime, the delivery which Chris and Anthony thought would be short, turned into a 3 hour ordeal.   During a three-hour grand escorted tour around the Pentagon, they explored the many hallway displays and the inventory room that keeps track of everything from toilet paper to combat tanks!

Back to work

Once the meeting finished, Chris and Anthony assembled the conference table. Firstly, the men secured the legs and the hooked the cabling into the two receiver boxes.  Secondly, they placed the four table leaves  into their storage cabinet to quietly wait for the next large meeting. Lastly, they gave instructions about how to properly operate the table.

Currently the table’s handcrafted strength and natural grain quality shines for everyone assembled. Gather around George’s tables for your next family or business gathering.  Contact us.

Antique Furniture Problems Addressed

Antique Furniture Problems Addressed

George’s designs have always focused on producing furniture that display the nature beauty of hardwoods while creating a strong, durable heirlooms that serve a practical function in daily life.   He tried to address many of the problems that surface for furniture when they become antiques—loose joints, water spots on the finish, non-wooden parts that wear out, etc.

Humidity adjustment abilityTongue and groove backing allows for moisture adjustments of solid wood furniture store lancaster york

Because solid wood furniture is always expanding and contracting to adjust to the humidity levels of the environment, all joints are constructed with movement in mind.  Wood is dried in George’s kilns and furniture is constructed in a humidity-controlled environment similar to most homes.  This helps the furniture expand and contract as one unit with the seasonal changes of the environment.

Strong rung joints

On chairs where is it necessary to use glue rather than screws to keep joints together, each rung is hand-sanded to fit tightly in its hole.  The joints are so tight that the chair can hold the weight of an adult even before any glue is applied to the joints.  The glue is applied to the hole with a small paintbrush and the chair is clamped tightly together, forcing the glue throughout the pores of the wood.

George’s chairs do not need to be treated with special care to maintain their strength.  They have held up over years of workmen leaning back on them during break time and children using the back of them for makeshift sliding boards.  On the few occasions over the years when chairs have needed repair, it typically is due to a damaged rung rather than a loose joint.

Drawer strength

George’s commitment to solid wood construction has always included solid wood draw bottoms.  As a result, customers have the advantage of not needing to worry about drawer bottoms coming apart due to the weight of the contents in the drawers.  In fact, George’s creative grandchildren have even used drawers as hiding places without harming the furniture!

Strength test on custom handmade table lancaster york furniture storeTable Test

Strong construction extends into the tables – even when fully extended to 21 feet.  The strength of George’s extension tables was tested.  The first idea of placing a small vehicle on top of the extension table was considered.  The logistics of how to get a vehicle on the table was abandoned for a new idea of standing people on the table.  The final result of the strength test placed 14 people (1887 lbs.) on top of the table and the table stood strong.  The center leg supports the center of the table without interfering with your guest’s legs.

Non-Tip Rockernon tipping rocker solid wood furniture store made in lancaster

When George was small, he was having so much fun rocking in his rocking chair that he tipped it right over.  After recovering from the fall, he promised his mother that he would build a rocker that would not tip over.  George built that rocker and now there are 7 different sizes from a child’s rocker to a rocker for the large people (300-400 lbs.) Large or small, tall or short, there is a rocker designed for you that does not tip over.  Come and try the rocker for yourself or watch the rocker demo on our website.

George’s Difference

George’s unwavering commitment to building strong, hardwood, heirloom furniture continues with each new design.  Each piece is signed and dated by its maker and finished with a water-resistant finish.  Bring your idea and desires for functional furniture and George’s craftsmen will make those dreams come true.  Contact us today.