By Kevin Williams
Ha! Fun to revisit old posts. This first appeared on Amish365 back in 2012. I was prompted to write the original post by an ad that had appeared in my Sunday paper (sheesh, I rarely even look at the Sunday paper anymore). Here is the ad text:
Whether it's a 400-pound pony - or just pants and sweaters -you can feel confident that Daniel's Amish Furniture is built to last. Inside every piece you will be inspired by both beauty and craftsmanship we've spent generations to develop. The hardwoods we use are carefully harvested in the hill country of Ohio - then graded, cured, selected, and finally handcrafted into beautiful heirloom furniture. And with over 10 collections to choose from Daniel's Amish has a wide variety of styles to satisfy even the most discriminating buyer.
From the first saw cut to the seven step finishing process - - all Daniel's Amish furniture is made right here in America and you can feel confident that it will hold up to the test of time - and give your family years of use and enjoyment.
Fare Thee Well,
The ad was for a local furniture store chain. First of all, disclaimer: I've not been to Furniture Fair to see the stuff, I know nothing about the furniture's origins...each piece may be hand-made by Daniel himself and brought to Furniture Fair. Although the "400 pound pony" pictured standing in the drawing in the ad is a little cheesy. I am more interested in discussing the larger question of what constitutes "Amish" furniture? My neighbor's ex-husband was in the wood-working and furniture business once and she lamented how he had to competed against "Amish furniture" makers who used the same power tools and equipment that her husband used. Sometimes Amish are permitted to use certain modern conveniences for "business purposes", of which that would qualify. As with "Amish" food, in addition to selling a product, they are also selling a way of life and an ambiance. When an enterprise gets to be too large a scale, I don't think you could help but lose some of that Amish ambiance.
UPDATE: Interestingly back in 2012, Daniel's Amish Furniture was just taking off and it continues to sell well to this day. But, coincidentally, our Amish Cook columnist's husband is also named Daniel Yoder and makes furniture. Now I can vouch for THAT Daniel Yoder. He makes wonderful rustic pieces.
I know where I am going to go if I ever want to buy "Amish" furniture. There's an Amish settlement up in Hardin County, Ohio (and there are plenty of other examples like this) where a father and son duo have part of their barn converted into a small furniture showroom, and the back half is their workshop. Beautiful bed-frames, bureaus, desks, magazine racks, etc are all hand-made and custom-made right there on the premises. It's that type of craftsmanship and product that has made the Amish name so sought after on furniture. Or if I want rustic, I'll go to Gloria's husband. Here is a video of that tiny furniture store in Hardin County.
All of the authentically made Amish furniture I've seen has been very heavy, very well made, and very expensive. If it's really Amish made they won't go to such lengths to convince you that it is and it wouldn't be at such a low price point.
What is it about the Amish that makes it "okay" for people to exploit their religion for financial gains but the same isn't said for other religions? I've seen some stuff touted as being Mennonite-made or Mennonite-owned but it's never to the degree that people *use* the Amish to sell stuff.
Heather, you raise good points. The problem is that there ARE very legitimate products that I think it's perfectly reasonable to use the term Amish in trade but the value of those become diluted by the shady players out there.
I have my doubts that an Amish man would allow his picture to be published.
Questionable...I generally agree with you...although to find out more about the Amish and photography see my entry here http://www.oasisnewsfeatures.com/amish-101/
There are some Amish that will allow the type of shots seen in this ad, but it is questionable...
We love Amish furniture. 8 or 10 pieceses. We always go up to Berlin, Ohio and travel the back roads and stop at many barnes that are set up with all their pieces to sell. Our last venture was to W. Union in Adams county, where we bought a king bed frame, dresser and night stand. Plus a desk and kitchen table and chairs we had to order for our son who was moving into his own place. We love every design that was made and purchased. We would rather buy Amish than at a regular funiture store such as Furniture Fair where we used to buy in our younger days and almost all that furniture had to be replaced, not built as well. Thanks Kevin for all your great info on food, furniture or what ever it may be.
Thanks, Joe, for the insight...sounds like you procure the furniture in a very thorough way and that is key....you have to be willing, literally, to go the extra mile if you want authentic Amish furniture!
When I needed new chairs for our dinning room table I was luckly enough that parents have Amish friends. I had a total of ten chairs made over the years. The Amish man lived and worked in Topeka, Ind. He has pasted but I think his sons still have the work shop.
We have some Amish pieces too, bought from people who are, or who know the craftsmen. The big cabinet on our front porch came in 2 pieces and was carted home from Lancaster County in and on top of our minivan. That was an interesting trip, since we also had our 2 kids along. We have a favorite store and love all the stuff we've gotten from them.
The comment was made in the article about the Amish using modern tools. I have some close Amish friends that run a shop making rocking chairs. Yes! They use modern tools (planers -saws and sanders), BUT!!! all the tools are run by either air or hydrolic motors NOT ELECTRIC !!! The real Amish furniture is all solid wood and quality all the way.
That doesn't look like an Amish haircut on that man either. I think he's a fake.
I wanted a catalog from Gloria. She said that she would send us a catalog of her husband's furniture if we sent you our name and address and you forward it to her. I sent mine, but I never got the catalog.Here it is again. If you would forward it to her I would appreciate it. TYIA
44 Barber Rd
Carrollton, GA 30116
Wyvonne - I told Gloria months ago that you and some others wanted a catalogue, but what happens was, at the time, she said there were going to be coming out with a new catalogue and they'd rather just send that to you. I don't think the new one was scheduled to come out until around now, so I'll check in with Gloria to see the status! - kevin
Depends on the Bishop of whether the photo can be taken. I know some over in eastern Ohio that allow it and others allow it if the face is not included. Some don't allow it at all.
I have two Amish neighbors here in Kenton that build furniture. One does rustic style and another does more finished like kitchen cabinets and jewelry chests.