Canada's Amish and Mennonite communities live only in Ontario. If you want high-quality, handcrafted, old world furniture, visit furniture stores closest to these communities. Not every furniture store in Ontario will carry Amish furniture. Only those that have a signed contract with the Amish and Mennonites will sell their furniture on consignment. Besides finding the stores that carry and sell Amish-made furniture, you should know more about these pieces and what makes them so exceptional.
Amish Trades All Done by Hand
Whether it is farming or furniture craftsmanship, Amish do everything by hand. The Mennonites may use some modern elements in their daily lives, but they, too, work mostly by the sweat of their brows and their bare hands. That means every spindled chair is hand-carved, and every table leg is pounded in without the tools of manufacturing and industry. They use wooden mallets, chisels, hand crank lathes and drills, and metal hardware is used very minimally. The result is furniture that is solid, durable, unique with its own minute flaws and strengths.
Much of the Amish-made furniture is heavily influenced by hundred-year-old Shaker and Quaker Dutch furniture making. You can see this in the simplicity of the headboards for beds, and in the pine cone–topped posters of a canopy bed. There are some German influences as well, taken from the predominantly German Amish that migrated from Pennsylvania, USA, to Ontario, Canada. All of it is crafted from wood harvested within the communities and never reproduced or made in a factory. As antique furniture will attest, Old World craftsmanship and building techniques hold together longer and better than modern furniture.
Choice of Finishes
Since the Amish create their own wood stains, you can choose light, medium or dark hues. Mennonite communities either make their own, or purchase a stain that they cannot otherwise reproduce themselves. You will never get painted furniture from Amish woodworkers, unless you purchase it naked and paint it yourself, which is not recommended since it reduces the value of the pieces.
Where to Find Amish Furniture
If there are any Amish woodcrafters close to you, you may be able to ask around the community for someone that can make specific pieces for you. Out of the 35 Amish and Mennonite communities in Southern Ontario, it is very probable that you will be able to find one woodcrafter who will build furniture for you. Otherwise, these same woodworkers and woodcrafters take the items they make to the larger cities nearby and sell them through furniture stores in Toronto and Kitchener. Smaller cities like Peterborough also have furniture stores that sell Amish goods.
If you're not interested in Amish furniture and would like to find a reputable store in Toronto, visit Buona Furniture.
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