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.
Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana are home to the largest Amish Communities in the United States. The Amish lifestyle consists of plain clothes, horse and buggy, no electricity, one-room schoolhouses, and farming. Over the years they developed a reputation for their quality quilts, furniture, baked goods, and produce. In fact, in 2015, about 8.34 million visitors to Lancaster County directly spent $1.97 billion, creating a total tourism impact of $2.64 billion in the county.
Over time, marketing replaced craftsmanship. While a few Amish craftsmen are still producing quality furniture, many stores market Amish furniture devoid of the quality buyers expect. As the perception of the quality Amish furniture increases, the natural result is an increase in demand. This increase brought new systems and processes which dropped the quality of the product. They compromised when materials such as cheaper stains, protective coatings, glue, or hardware. They left the old process of construction behind while newer methods of cheap assembly take over. These newer methods, which use assembly lines and computerized machines, compromise excellence for the convenience of efficiency. Consequently, the quality of hardwood furniture is lost along with the buyers ability to customize their product.
Furniture experts pinpoint pieces displaying true quality, handmade Amish furniture. The untrained eye, however, sees little or no distinction. While Amish craftsmen are talented, rarely is the resulting piece considered by furniture experts as constructed by a Master Craftsman. Why does this matter? Furniture crafted by a Master Craftsman ultimately become heirlooms.
Heirlooms are pieces constructed to withstand the test of time and passed down to the next generation. Furniture designed, crafted, and assembled by master craftsmen endure the normal wear and tear of daily life. While George’s craftsmen are not Amish furniture makers, we are Master Craftsmen. George’s master craftsmen build each piece to suit the needs of the buyer now and in the future. Forever cherished assets.
At George’s Furniture, one craftsman uniquely crafted each piece – signed and dated. 100% Pennsylvania hardwood construction—no plywood here! Each item is built-to-order, custom made to your specifications. Visit our showrooms and see the furniture manufacturing! Time-tested construction for over 50 years…that’s the George’s difference.
George’s Furniture specializes in customizable hardwood furniture—but did you know we also make accessories that will light up any room in your home? From cutting boards, to hand turned wooden bowls, to keepsake boxes, our craftsmen’s careful precision and skills are unmatched.
Our gorgeous wooden bowls are hand turned using the following steps:
- Initial rough turning: this first step takes place while the wood is still wet (before starting the drying process). The rough turning is complete when the bowl’s thickness is about 1” all around.
- One year of drying: the wood then dries for an entire year. For the last four months of drying, the wood is brought into a stable environment (like your home) for the final drying time.
- Remounted to lathe: The rough turned bowl can then be remounted to the turning lathe. You will notice the slightly oval shape due to the drying process. By letting the bowl fully dry, you will have a bowl that keeps its perfectly round shape for life!
- Thickness achieved: Hand turning continues and, depending on the skill of the craftsmen, the bowl will be turned into a very narrow thickness all around—giving it a beautiful shape and feel. The turning isn’t quite finished until the craftsman takes varying grades of sanding paper to provide the smooth touch to the bowl.
- Final product: The final product is then rubbed with a food-safe finish made for items such as butcher blocks and salad bowls.
Visit our Lancaster County showroom today to see a variety of solid wood accessories, created and customized by our skilled craftsmen!
Caring for your piece of George’s Furniture is not like caring for just any piece of furniture. The finish used on each of our pieces is a durable, high-quality finish—and it is the best we have found for the following reasons:
NO MORE WATER MARKS
High Quality, Catalyzed Water-Resistant Finish
- The finish is both heat and water-resistant
- You do not need to use coasters for hot and cold drinks.
- Warm dishes will not make white rings on the table (however, when taking items directly from the oven, stovetop, or microwave, a hot pad is suggested)
- A good rule is:
If it is not too hot for your fingers, it will not harm the table.
- Furniture can be washed with a damp cloth.
- Duster spray may be used (however, sprays that contain wax may cause an undesirable build-up over a period of time)
- Polishing or to remove fingerprints, use a good grade furniture polish. Our favorite is Old English Lemon Oil, but Guardsman is also a good choice!
- The finish will have a chemical reaction if it comes in contact with rubber cement, airplane glue, or similar products.
- Permanent magic markers and cigarette burns cause permanent damage to the finish.
- The finish will scratch and the wood will dent, so be careful not to slide heavy objects across the table, counters, dressers, etc. A staple or even a hard crumb could cause a surface scratch or indentation.
- This is solid wood furniture, and it can be refinished.
Made in 1983. Refinished like new.
If the damage is a deep scratch or dent and the finish is broken, the damage can be minimized.
- First, soak the dent with a water saturated washcloth for several hours.
- Then, while protecting it with a damp washcloth, apply a steam iron to the dent and process will help swell the dent out to the original level.
- Please call us for advice on this process.
Restore to New
Having been in business more than 50+ years, we have families who bought a table when their children were small. Then, when their family grew up or the table passed to the next generation, they brought the table back to us and we refinished the tabletop to look as good as new.
If you have any questions, please call us! Our furniture is built to endure the test of time. A great heirloom to be shared over the generations.