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A Brief History of Amish Handcrafted Furniture

Posted by SCF on

Handcrafted Amish furniture has a deep history in the United States. In fact, the origins of creating Amish furniture can be traced to before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Furniture that has been being created for such a long time must have a long and rich history, and Amish furniture does not disappoint. Following is a brief history of Amish handcrafted furniture.

Early influences

The Amish movement began due to a split in the Swiss Mennonite Church. Before long, swarms of Swiss people migrated from their homeland and settled in Pennsylvania and parts of the Midwest. They created close-knit communities that were based on the ethics of integrity, self-sufficiency, and hard work. These tenets seeped into every aspect of their lives, including the crafting of furniture. Thanks to the popularity of folk art in the early 20th Century, Amish furniture became highly sought after by many people in the United States.

The Amish way of life

Those who live in Amish communities live basic lives. They have no need for the modern conveniences on which most of us have become dependent. They do not drive automobiles, but rather are content with moving from place to place either by walking or via a horse-drawn carriage. They also do not take advantage of modern conveniences such as electricity. Since the Amish have chosen to live such a non-complicated life, their choices of livelihood have always been limited to those that can accommodate their lifestyle. Most adults who do not wish to become farmers decide to focus on carpentry since it does not have to compromise their way of life. Also, handcrafting quality furniture provides a good way to make money, since those who live in an Amish community still need to produce an income.

Acquiring skill

Most Amish furniture makers acquire their skill in a natural way. It is handed down from previous generations. Most crafters start learning how to make furniture when they are children so they can help out in the family store and contribute to the household income.


Amish handcrafted furniture is always made solid wood and never from inferior materials such as particle board or laminate. Furniture makers pay great attention to the materials they choose for their furniture. They closely inspect each piece and pay particular attention to the grain of the wood. Common types of wood the Amish use to create their furniture include hardwoods such as northern red oak, maple, beech, elm, pine, cedar, hickory, walnut, and mahogany. The specific type of wood that a crafter chooses to use depends on the use of the piece of furniture that is being created as well as the desired look of the finished piece.


The Amish do not use electricity, so they needed to find other ways to create their furniture. The tools the Amish have always used to fashion their furniture are hydraulically and pneumatically powered and run on diesel generators. Since the Amish are adverse to modern technology, they use old-fashioned tools to do their work.Further, they complete all of their sanding and finishing work by hand. To dry the furniture pieces, the Amish opt to use open-air seasoning and kiln drying. These techniques add both beauty and strength to the wood. Because of its strength, resilience, and high quality, Amish handcrafted furniture is designed to be handed down for generations.

Intricate handwork

Amish furniture is known for its intricate handwork. The details and finish are all completed by hand. Some common characteristics of Amish furniture are dovetail joints and mortise and tenon joinery as well as pocket screw construction. These techniques allow them to fuse pieces together seamlessly.

Common styles of Amish furniture

The most common styles of Amish furniture include Mission and Shaker styles. Each style has its own distinguishing features. Both of these styles of furniture are considered classics and never go out of style, which is beneficial since they last a lifetime.

  • Mission style furniture is easily identified by its classic straight lines and exposed joinery. Mission style designs tend to be simple and clean.
  • Shaker style furniture is also simple, but it is generally designed with durability and functionality in mind.
  • We will create any style design you want.

At Secret Compartment Furniture, we create our furniture designs in the same way the Amish have done for centuries. We provide beautiful handmade furniture that is designed to look good and last forever. All of our furniture is created by hand by Amish craftsmen in Holmes County, Ohio. Our aim is to create heirloom quality pieces that you will want to pass down to your family for generations. Our furniture is all custom-made so we can accommodate virtually any personal specifications our customers desire. Plus, we specialize in creating furniture with secret compartments, so that you can hide just about anything in plain sight! Contact us today to see what we can create for you.