Alan Barkman is always one step ahead. On a recent visit to his woodshop in Ohio, our DutchCrafters team found it bustling with activity. At Barkman Furniture, Alan and his craftsmen use a blend of traditional woodworking techniques and state-of-the-art woodworking equipment. They remain devoted to their top two priorities when it comes to building Amish furniture:
#1 is producing furniture of the highest quality.
#2 is making sure it’s worthy of being handed down from one generation to the next.
Entering Barkman Woodshop
As Alan showed us around the shop, he filled us in on some new design features his team is working on. Ultimately, these help to create furniture that looks better, lasts longer, and is more enjoyable for the customer to use.
The Frame Within
Barkman furniture is built to last. The finest quality solid woods are used to make each piece. In addition to the strength provided by the select hardwoods, Alan likes to add a frame inside the frame to take case pieces like dressers and chests from exceptional to exquisite.
Within the chest, an additional wood framework is added for reinforcement. Adding this layer inside prevents the drawers from ever coming out of line. There’s no movement of the drawer boxes except for a smooth open and close. The frame adds extra rigidity along with full thickness on the sides.
Building inner frames for reinforcement.
Grain Matching Greatness
A stand out characteristic in solid wood is the wood grain. The process of sanding and adding stain color enhances both the color of the wood and the grain. The wood grain itself is natural and unpredictable and is a feature that brings uniqueness and mystery to solid wood furniture.
At Barkman, the woodworkers are using a new grain matching technique that we got to see on a live edge dining table. This technique preserves the natural pattern and flow of the grain.
Matching the grain on a live edge.
Initially, the live edge was one complete piece. The table extensions are cut directly from the original piece of wood so when they are inserted, the grain matches up perfectly for a continuous, uniform look.
Iron bracing is run along the bottoms of the table and leaves to prevent warping. There is a built-in slide lock underneath the table that contributes to holding the leaf in place. This leaf style is a variation of traditional table leaves. Here, the table opens at the ends, and that’s where the leaves are added. This leaf style adds ease of access and keeps the center of the table in one piece.
Metal bracing on live edge table leaves.
In other Barkman news, our team was treated to a peek at a new Barkman table. The Amish Yosemite Round Dining Table has a tubular welded steel frame. It has a thin edge with a 1” thick top. This sturdy frame is shown in earthstone, a popular color choice.
The Amish Yosemite Round Dining Table at the Barkman Woodshop and on DutchCrafters.com.
Barkman Furniture offers contemporary designs crafted with beautiful lines and curves as seen in the Amish Christy Fanback Dining Chair. You can count on new developments from Barkman as they are always thinking outside the box with their solid wood furniture designs.