On a recent trip to Chantilly, VA, for a Capital Fair Craft Show, we combined a delivery to the Rasnake family. The entertainment center, affectionally named the Beast, designed to hold a turn table, vinyl records, CD’s, CD player and other audio equipment. The Beast was a heavy 72.25″ Long x 25.5″- 26″ deep x 48″ high made from solid red oak. Red oak is 15% heavier than cherry or walnut. We packed the beast with other craft show items allowing for an easy removal out the side door. Once at the Rasnake’s house, we accessed the back door at ground level. It took 5 people to carefully pull it out of the van, in through a door and set on the floor for a break. We used carpet sliders to aid in pushing the unit through another door to its destination. Jeff and Sandee were excited to add another piece of George’s Furniture to their growing number of quality hand crafted heirlooms.
In The Beginning
It all started when Jeff and Sandee came to Lancaster County over 20 years ago. During their trip north, they stopped at an antique refinished furniture store. A beautiful bed set caught their eye and was just what they were looking for. That night at a hotel they spotted a brochure in the hotel lobby about a small furniture store and wood shop in Marietta, PA – “Georges Woodcrafts”. George greeted them and his love for building solid wood furniture spilled over. Jeff had grown up with a Grandfather that worked with wood but when he met George he stated:
“Wow I thought I knew a lot about wood working but after spending hours that day with George, my wood knowledge exploded. I immediately saw the quality of construction and the ability to custom tailor my furniture to my desires was over whelming”.
Meeting a Master Craftsman
The Rasnakes spent many hours that first day at George’s showroom. George explained the practice of wood kilns using high heat for drying wood and why he prefers to slow dry wood which is less stressful on the wood. Sometimes taking 2 years to dry the wood. George shared the reasoning for his unique design of the spindle back dining chairs. The strength surpasses others with its 8-sided rungs perfectly angled into a thick contoured seat. The multiple rungs joining to the seat gives the chair extra strength rather than relying on one long back/legs piece joined to the seat (one back joint). The design of an engineer. When asked if George would build a ladder back chair, he said that he could not put his name on it because he didn’t think it would hold up.
“Georges Furniture is like no other. Built to last a lifetime and longer. “America’s heirlooms” today. We hope our children and grandchildren will cherish it all as much as we do after we are gone.” -Sandee
When Jeff presented a sketch of his idea for a TV stand, George recommended changing the height to the same height of a dresser. Jeff was grateful for the advice, and it turned out to be a very good recommendation. During their visit, the phone rang, and Jeff remembers overhearing a question asked by the caller. “Do you work in pine wood? George’s reply was that word “Pine” is a bad word around quality handcrafted furniture makers. Pine does not stand up to the test of time.”
Why protect all surfaces?
A difference in George’s furniture. A water-resistant finish is sprayed on all surfaces which protects the wood unlike the “old school way” of covering only the parts that are seen. George explained the importance of covering all surfaces helping the moisture to exchange equally in all parts of the furniture. Moisture changes when the weather changes. Solid wood breathes. If one surface is protected and another is not, the moisture exchange will be different causing the wood to expand and contract at different rates. It also protects the furniture from water getting caught under the finish, unable to escape, causing the white water marks. All parts are solid wood not just the visible surfaces.
Practical and engineered with precision
When George was designing a new piece of furniture, he was also thinking about how to make the furniture stronger and more durable. He kept the future in mind and asked questions to help his customers think about the future and how their needs might change. It’s easier to change a design before they build it then to remodel it later. George had a way of helping people find the best fit in his rocking chairs. 7 different sizes are available depending on a person’s size and structure. Jeff remembers George picking the best size for him and no other rocker fit better.
House is full
Over the 20 years, Jeff and Sandee have added to their collection. Almost every room is enhanced by a piece of George’s Furniture. During that time, they purchased two bedroom sets, bookcases, two desks, jewelry box and quilt stand. The most cherished piece is a beautiful cherry apartment-size drop leaf table.
“We return to Marietta and George’s year after year purchasing everything from a kitchen table and chairs to our last addition the a 6ft by 2 ft oak entertainment center, nicknamed “Beast” by the craftsman who built it because of it’s size and weight. We love it.” -Sandee.
Jeff and Sandee love to share their furniture with friends and family that visit their home. Their niece purchased her cherry dining table, leaves and a bench in 2003. We welcome everyone to come and see what the Rasnakes found over 20 years ago when they visited George’s wood shop. See furniture construction in our wood shop and browse the two large showrooms. The quality speaks for itself.
How to spot Quality
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.