Why Authentic Craftsmanship Matters

Beth Rice 31/08/2023

Build it quicker. Get it faster. Machines that can do what humans do are incredible. Let them do the work to build more, faster. That’s better, right? Or is it?

Mass production often leads to products of lesser quality. Rushing just won’t deliver the same quality that taking time will. As products and clothing wear out, break down and get thrown out, consumers must replace them. As we look to the future to live in a more sustainable world, it’s becoming clear that a quick build is not best. Are you really saving on a dining table that will need to be replaced in five years? What’s the alternative? Many are switching to it. The alternative is a return to authentic craftsmanship.

Return to Arts & Crafts

The Arts and Crafts movement occurred in 19th century Britain. It basically was an objection to the decline in craftsmanship associated with machines and factory production. It called for a return to high standards of slow steady craftsmanship. Slow it down to produce higher quality products and enjoy the process that’s involved.

Machines taking over creates a break in authentic, original work. Everything starts to look alike. Cheaper materials are employed to make it faster. Getting lost in the rush is the tradition of handcrafting and the skill of a knowledgeable builder who has made it a lifelong trade.

The move towards living in a more sustainable world has renewed interest in authentic craftsmanship. As more households commit to being kinder to the environment, they’re moving toward natural, sustainable furniture that is built well and will last. Two characteristics that are moving to the top of the list are quality and durability, characteristics you’ll always find with handcrafted wood furniture.

So, what’s so special about authentic craftsmanship? What does it stand for? Why does it matter?

Amish woodworker
An Amish woodworker at work in his shop.

Authentic craftsmanship, or quality craftsmanship, is work that’s backed by skill and done with integrity in the pursuit of excellence. It takes time, devotion, and intentionality. Fine craftsmanship creates beautiful products, but also rounds out the picture by offering high function and durability.

Artisans who offer a quality build don’t rush. Instead, they take pride in their work. They enjoy and embrace the process. This is reflected in a product that the consumer can take pride in. Authentic craftsmanship utilizes time-honored techniques. The craftsmen who build Amish furniture for DutchCrafters use sustainable practices and minimize waste.

Fine Woodworking Techniques

Some of the techniques that clearly spell authentic craftsmanship for furniture include things like dovetailed drawers and mortise and tenon joints. Many Amish craftsmen grew up learning woodworking and continued to pass their techniques on, contributing to the rich character of their creations.

A dovetail joint connects the front, side and back of a drawer. This type of joint is strong and secure. It won’t come apart easily with wear and tear over the years. Woodworkers cut wood boards so that they interlock with one another to create a dovetail joint. The boards are carefully glued together and dried for added reinforcement.

Mortise and tenon joinery has been around for thousands of years and is a mark of authentic craftsmanship. A tenon is a wood piece that’s cut to fit perfectly when wedged into a mortise, which is a hole cut in the wood. The two are put together. Glue is added for reinforcement in some cases, but is rarely needed for this type of joint. Mortise and tenon joints are considered the strongest for quality wood furniture.

These are just a couple examples of authentic craftsmanship that contributes to a better piece of furniture.

Quality Wood

Fine craftsmanship demands quality materials. Only premium quality woods are used in the crafting of Amish furniture. Wood comes from sustainably managed forests that ensure trees are replaced and supported. Each piece of wood is unique, with its own wood grain pattern adding to the masterpiece.

Premium quality wood is carefully selected to craft Amish furniture.

High Function

High function is a hallmark of fine craftsmanship. Examples include drawers that pull out smoothly, some with soft close slides that help them shut quietly, lift top coffee tables that open with ease, and touch lighting that illuminates hutch contents. The list goes on and on. Products built using authentic craftsmanship should be delightful and easy to use and easy to maintain. Furniture that can perform multiple tasks is highly valued.

Many factors contribute to creating a piece that offers the highest function and durability. Woodworkers measure carefully and accurately. All the angles must be perfect. There are no flaws allowed.

Amish Parrish Dining Chair
Amish Parrish Dining Chair in solid brown maple wood.

Custom Build

One of the reasons quality craftsmanship takes time is the attention to detail. The process is not rushed. Instead, each step requires precise action and accuracy. Woodworkers are pursuing excellence with every step, from choosing the wood to cutting it, building the joints, hand sanding the edges and more. Amish craftsmen are proud to be a part of the Slow Furniture Movement.

More and more homeowners are looking to buy it once and have it for always. Customization is zooming to the top of the list for furnishing or remodeling a home. Custom furniture allows you to select options like size, wood type, stain color, features and functions that serve your home best. It’s furniture built the way you want it, furniture you can personalize.

Creative and Innovative

Not only does superior craftsmanship offer high function and stunning presentation, but it digs deeper, tapping into creative thinking and innovative planning. Woodworkers who take pride in their craft look to be unique. Our Amish woodworkers are always looking to add unique features and functions to wood furniture. Their wood furniture is not like the rest. It stands out. The difference stands out strong when a solid wood handcrafted piece is compared to a mass produced one made with cheap materials.  

Furniture Built to Last

At DutchCrafters, we don’t think twice about promoting that our furniture is built to last. It has solid wood and authentic craftsmanship to back it up. The highest quality materials and practices are used, and that means the furniture is going to last not just years, but for generations. Our furniture is known as heirloom quality, and this level can only be achieved by traditional craftsmanship.

Albert Barkman of Barkman Furniture shows the strength of his popular Amish Christy Dining Chair.

As consumers start moving away from substandard furniture that clearly lacks quality, they’ll be moving back toward the luxury, function and look of furniture backed by quality craftsmanship. And that’s just fine with us.

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