A great deal of time and care has been put into lumber by the time that it arrives at our Central Wisconsin workshop. Check out How It’s Made – Sourcing for more on the amazing transformation from trees to lumber. Our first priority in caring for the lumber is making sure that it remains stable. We go to great lengths to keep our workshop moisture consistent, adding hundreds of gallons of water to the air each week in the winter, and actively drying the air throughout the summer. This allows us to maintain the integrity of the lumber while it is being stored and throughout the entire building process. The acceptable humidity range for wood products at room temperature is 35%-60%. We keep our workshop within this humidity range, and we also recommend that furniture be kept within this range to maximize its lifespan.
The sizes of the boards coming from the sawmills are random, so the first step in the process of building the furniture is to convert the boards into usable widths. We also take this opportunity to inspect every board and determine how to make the most of them.
The resulting dimension lumber is then cross-cut into the necessary lengths to build a furniture order. At this point we take a much closer look at each board, taking note of the parts of a board that may not be usable. We want to be good stewards of these natural resources, so we try to include everything that we possibly can. Cracks and hollow knots must be marked so they can be cut around. The boards may be cut by hand or by a machine that can see our markings and cut accordingly.
Meanwhile, our CNC table router is busy cutting all of the panel pieces that are needed for the same furniture order. The operator also uses this machine to cut more intricate parts like decorative arches.
Each component part of the furniture is then shaped and profiled with a variety of tooling depending on the style of the piece. Many pieces will also get mitered for corners or have pockethole joinery added.
All of the surfaces that are visible in the finished piece must be sanded to allow for a smooth and consistent finish.
Certain parts such as legs and corbels require some prep before assembly begins. Once these parts are prepped, they will be gathered to a builder’s workbench.
All of the parts are carefully selected and assembled by a skilled craftsman at a single workbench. This is where it all comes together in a hands-on benchcrafting process. Assembling the pieces by hand yields a result that large-scale assembly lines cannot duplicate.
Our hand-wiped staining process gives us the highest possible efficiency, consistency, and clarity of finish. By applying the stain by hand we eliminate over-spray and ensure that all of the stain either goes on the piece or stays in the cloth. The staining process begins with thoroughly coating the piece with a generous amount of stain. All excess stain is then gradually removed until it is completely dry.
A pre-catalyzed lacquer sealer is sprayed on to the pieces after the stain is dry. All finished surfaces are sanded by hand before the final top coat is applied.
All of our drawers are assembled using a 5-board construction. The bottom panel of the bedroom drawers is held firmly in a dato groove. The resulting drawers hold up very well to a lifetime of use.
With the drawers completed, the final step is to add all of the finishing touches, such as installing doors and mirrors. Following this final assembly the furniture is ready to be delivered.