Our customers discover Georges Furniture by many different ways. Whether they find a brochure In Lancaster County, searched for quality furniture maker online, see the handmade furniture in a friend’s home or listened to the excited story of a satisfied customer, the furniture amazes them each time they enter the showrooms. What beautiful furniture, wonderful craftsmanship!
Explore handmade furniture
The Amsterdam family was no different. They came to see the wood shop tour and discovered the unique features of handcrafted, custom, and signed by one craftsman furniture all in one place. At the end of the tour they responded,
“Our house is full of furniture, however if we ever need furniture we know where we will come.”
Two years after their visit, Hurricane Sandy hit the Eastern seaboard of the United. The family watched in terror as the water arose, filling the first floor and proceeded up the stairs to the next floor. Their furniture did not survive the flooding. Once the hurricane moved northward, the cleanup began.
Return to George’s
Once the clean up finished and their house ordered, it was time to look for furniture. As promised, the Amsterdam family came to the showroom with a unique request. “Will you help us fill our house with furniture?” I never thought I would be an interior designer, but they spread out the floor plan on our dining table and we proceeded through each room. First was the dining room then the master bedroom. I worked with each family member deciding the perfect design and options.
Which furniture to make first
Several hours later came the challenging part. Which room to make first. Dinning, master bedroom, teens bedroom, living room or den. Out of necessary, the dining table and chairs won along with the bedroom furniture. We updated each other as the house neared completion and ready for delivery.
Over the next couple of years, we filled their house with custom handmade furniture designed to their desires. The furniture will serve the family for decades to come. Want to join in the discovery of quality craftsmanship, visit Georgesfurniturepa.com or visit our showroom and wood shop.
How to detect Quality
To help you start the process to high-quality, handcrafted furniture, we created this handy checklist to spot high-quality furniture. Download the checklist here so you know what to avoid in your furniture shopping. Then call us when you are ready to design your own customer, handcrafted piece.
Download you Guide to High-quality Furniture
George’s Difference – Viewing Your Own Handcrafted Furniture
The next time you visit Lancaster, PA we want to give you a tour of our shop where each piece of our solid wood furniture is handcrafted & custom made. Yes, it is true! We love bringing guests on a tour of our wood-working shop. Quite honestly, that is what makes us different from nearly any other furniture shop you can think of.
Of course, it is not just a tour of some automated wood shop. You see our craftsmen at work, literally drilling, planing, and staining with the tools in their hands to produce your perfect handcrafted solid wood furniture. Actually, we invite not only our guests but any customer with any order in progress to schedule a time to visit & watch their furniture crafted by hand right in front of their very eyes. That was how Tom & Karen found us!
See furniture order handcrafted
“My wife and I had been furniture shopping for over a year and decided it was time to buy. While my wife was getting ready, I decided to make one last internet search for Lancaster County furniture stores. I was positive that we had already visited every furniture store so I was not optimistic about finding something new. George’s Furniture appeared on a list of stores we had previously visited, some of them multiple times. They were located near Maytown so I clicked on their website.” -Tom
The beauty of creating custom handmade furniture is that we can support your vision in a way that works for you, instead of just selling you assembly line, machine-made furniture.
Perhaps you need a dining table that is large enough to host all your children & grandchildren for a holiday meal. Maybe you are looking for a bedroom set that can become a family heirloom & add to the beauty of your home. In the professional setting, we even love designing executive desks & conference tables. (Did you know we even designed a conference table for the Pentagon?)
Beginning the handcrafted furniture process
“We were met by Anthony upon our arrival. After explaining what we were looking for, he expertly guided us through all the options. When ordering custom made furniture there are lots of decisions to make. After several hours our order was finalized.” -Tom
Tom and Karen worked with our designers to create the perfect dining set to meet their specific needs and interests. They also scheduled an appointment to see their furniture in process.
As we walked them through the tour, they saw the chairs ready for assembly. The artisan carefully placed glue into the precisely angled holes drilled into the seat for the chair legs. Tom and Karen observed the chair leveling process to make sure the chair would sit level in their home.
“I didn’t realize that so much work goes into making furniture.” — Tom
The finished table waited in the completed area. In the wood shop, they could see the other pieces of their set in progress too. A bench sat ready for assembly. The glued together coffee table wood top was ready for its next step of shaping and edge routing. The stained pantry waited for the final clear water-resistant coat of catalyzed conversion varnish.
Assembly lines vs handcrafted
Several minutes into the tour, Tom asked about the difference between George’s furniture process and other furniture manufacturing.
He referred to the cost and time difference of mass production assembly lines. We know many of our customers & guests wonder the same thing.
To be quite honest, mass production uses automated production lines and large sheets of plywood and particleboard in the construction. Since their focus is often on quantity over quality, they spend little time on matching grain or on preparing the wood well for assembly. We take the extra time of planing, cutting, and gluing the solid wood pieces together. That is what makes our process so different.
The path to quality
Handcrafted custom furniture made at George’s shop displays the careful attention to the wood grain, design, durability, and strength of the construction. Can I walk you through our complete process?
- Each artisan selects properly dried solid wood boards & cuts them to length. They use a jointer in their preparation process to make the boards flat, square & easy to assemble together (You can find out more about how jointers work here.) A thickness planer is also an essential part of this process to prepare the board & ensure that it is the same thickness all the way around the board. (The thickness planer is explained more here.)
- The furniture is ready for assembly after construction of all the individual parts. All those individual parts often include legs, skirts, tops, sides, solid wood drawers (fronts, sides, bottom), raised panel doors, rungs, seats, chair top, tongue-groove backing, etc.
- Next, they stain it and apply a clear coat of finish. The artisan signs and dates their finished piece before an all-over light sanding and final application of water-resistant clear coat of spray-top to bottom, inside and out. We actually asked our previous customers if they can still see the signature on their piece & these are the photos they shared with us.
- The final step in assembly is installing the hardware such as knobs & handles on drawers, adding in the table slides (our extension table is one of our most popular products actually!), and completing the tongue and groove backing.
- Last stop is the storage area where the finished product waits for the completion of the other pieces in the order. For example, maybe you have ordered a full dining table & chairs set like many of our other customers. Maybe you even ordered a bedroom suite of a bed, night stand & chest of drawers. This final waiting area is where we collect all pieces of an order before we deliver the complete set to the customer’s house.
Time to enjoy your gorgeous handcrafted furniture
“Our furniture was recently delivered and we are very happy with all the pieces. They are gorgeous and exactly as we ordered. The entire process from beginning to end was very pleasant and trouble free. We visited the shop and saw several of our pieces while in production. In closing, my wife and I would like to sincerely thank everyone at George’s Furniture.” – Tom & Karen
This is what makes us different from any other furniture shop you have visited. You set the vision & we are happy to share our catalog of creations if you need inspiration. Then you can tour our shop to watch our master woodworkers bring your vision to life. Finally you get to enjoy quality, handcrafted furniture that will last your family for decades.
To help you start this process to high quality, handcrafted furniture, we created this handy checklist to spot high-quality furniture. Download the checklist here so you know what to avoid in your furniture shopping. Then call us when you are ready to design your own custom, handcrafted piece.
Does real wood furniture even exist anymore?
Meet Charles. He was seeking real wood furniture, an entertainment center, in fact, made of real wood that was high quality, not just a particle board & plywood piece. His search led him to many furniture stores & small businesses around Lancaster, York & Harrisburg. While our area includes many amazing small businesses (there is seriously so much to do here in Lancaster), Charles was having a hard time finding what he wanted. The majority of pieces he found lacked any hardwood elements. Instead he kept finding particle board & plywood pieces, the exact materials he wanted to avoid. If he was going to make a solid investment in his furniture, he wanted to know it would be durable, strong & resistant to warping or breakage.
Then Charles found George
While shopping at Meadow Brook Farmer’s Market in Leola, PA (which has since closed), Charles discovered George’s Woodcrafts storefront. After seeing our display of high quality, solid, hardwood furniture, he picked up a business card and called us. In fact, Charles came to visit our wood shop and showroom located near Maytown, PA, just a short drive from his home. At George’s, Anthony, one of our designers, greeted Charles and gave him a tour of the factory. Charles knew this was the place to get real wood furniture.
The Beauty of Real Wood Furniture Customized to You
Now, time to dive into the George’s Furniture process!
After discussing various dimensions and designs, Charles used his drafting ability to draw up detailed sketches of his entertainment center. Anthony took the sketches, verified the construction integrity and prepared an estimate for final approval by Charles.
Once Charles approved the final plans, one of our skilled craftsmen got to work! Each piece created by George’s Furniture is signed by the creator. You can actually see some signatures of our craftsman right here. Plus the beauty of custom wood furniture is that you, as the customer, can select the wood, stain & design you want. Charles loved the fact that he could choose 100% solid oak hardwood. Since all of the hardwood used at George’s Woodcrafts is native to PA, Charles knew he found the quality he was searching for.
Real Wood Furniture: no going back now
Truth be told, once Charles had that real hardwood entertainment center in his home, he knew he wouldn’t be satisfied with anything less than the George’s Furniture quality for all his future furniture purchases.
In fact, over the many years, Charles did indeed return to George’s to purchase many furniture pieces. Of course, each piece was custom designed & handcrafted according to his desires & specifications. (He is not the only customer who got hooked on George’s custom real wood furniture.) George Martin, our founder, even surprised Charles a time or two by making personal deliveries of the furniture.
Real Wood Furniture: high quality that lasts for years
The amazing thing about high quality real wood furniture is how long it lasts, and when you find the high quality craftsmen that we have at George’s, you just can’t help but bring every project to them. Thirteen years after Charles purchased the original entertainment center, 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 now complete 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 Pennsylvania solid hardwood, made in America and above all will last for decades: That is what we do at George’s Furniture. Order your own built-to-order, custom made to your specifications piece of George’s furniture. Start here with our guide to spotting high quality furniture. Then you can come and see right where your furniture is built or simply contact us.
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.
What do you love about your antique furniture? Sentimentality & nostalgia. Those nostalgic feelings probably trigger wonderful memories with your family. Maybe it reminds you of visiting for Christmas as a child or bringing your children over to play baseball in the yard with their grandparents. That is why it is so important to craft furniture that can withstand the years, the memories, the horseplay so you & your families can have visible mementos of those experiences. (Plus, it helps that our furniture is also super comfortable & durable!)
Even though antique furniture lasts longer than low quality furniture it also deteriorates. Some of the biggest causes of weakness in antique furniture include poor adjustability to extremes in humidity, weak joints or low-quality workmanship. In fact, today I want to share with you 3 of the biggest issues we see in antique furniture & how we design our furniture differently to avoid those problems.
Challenge 1: Humidity
One of the most common issues you may see in wood antique furniture is wear & tear due to changing humidity. Dry Forced Air heat will dry out furniture in the winter while damp summer weather provides extra moisture. Considering these two extremes, we specifically craft our wood furniture to handle changing humidity levels.
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. When the furniture can respond to humidity as one unit, it is more protected from warping or weakness.
Challenge 2: Weak joints
Let’s talk about rung joints. Maybe not a typical topic of conversation unless you have ever tried to pick up a chair where the back comes off in your hand or sat in a chair and the rung pops out leaving your chair in pieces. Aside from the frustration & inconvenience, this can become an expensive situation when your only solution is gluing the rungs for the rest of its life or replacing the chair. We avoid this situation from the beginning with our method of attaching rung joints.
On chairs where it is 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.
Challenge 3: Warped wood
One final way we see weakness in antique furniture is simply due to thickness and the support of the wood. We have broken down our process of selecting & preparing the wood in this blog about our complete handcrafted method. The thicker the board the better however anything over 12 inches in width needs to be supported by a table skirt, wooden batten or toeboard. Learn about solid wood bottoms of the dresser drawers, the strength of a dining room table, & even in the durability of our non-tip rockers.
George’s commitment to solid wood construction has always included solid wood drawer bottoms. As a result, you don’t have 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!
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. The Pentagon even commissioned one of our extension tables for their conference room!
You can especially see the strength of high-quality wood in our non-tip rockers. 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.
Ready for strong, heirloom furniture that does not wear with age or bad construction?
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 ideas and desires for functional furniture and George’s craftsmen will make those dreams come true. And the best place to start when you are dreaming up your perfect dining set is knowing what to look out for. Start with our “Guide on How To Spot Quality Furniture” & give us a call as soon as you are ready to jump in to designing your own high-quality furniture.