There is an intrinsic value in a piece of custom-made, solid wood furniture that cannot be measured in mere dollars.
That custom dining room set you just purchased may be brand new, but it is somehow already a family legacy. Those who crafted it did not only produce a well-functioning furnishing, they also manufactured history.
Mike Taylor, co-proprietor of Great Canadian Solid Wood Furniture in Orangeville, has been in the business for decades and provides an explanation why the market for this product endures.
“People still like quality,” he says. “They like the touch, the feel and the look of it.” Mike also adds, on a more practical note: “It may cost more, but it saves you money in the long term.”
Indeed. A prefabricated, mass-produced furnishing can look good and certainly serve the purpose it was purchased for. In about three to five years, however, it could be worn out and listed on a social media buy-and-sell site with the caption: “Free to anyone who can come and take it away.”
On the other hand, a decently maintained piece of custom solid wood furniture can last an infinite number of years. Should the owner decide to sell it, he/she will likely get a
As well, it is custom made. The owners possess pieces that are distinctly theirs and one of a kind. While the premade furniture is immediately available, the work of Great Canadian can take from six to ten weeks to deliver.
That has not deterred the company’s loyal clientele since, as Mike puts it, “nobody has a problem waiting for quality.”
Another important benefit of wood furniture is that it is relatively easy to clean, maintain and – should the need or desire ever arise – it is also easy to refinish.
Wood is a solid and strong medium to work with. Over time, with proper care, it will remain that way. It doesn’t take much to keep your solid wood furniture looking great; a regular wipe down with non-petroleum based wood cleaner is really all it takes to keep furnishings looking nice.
It is safe to say that the preference for wood and its innate rustic charm is timeless. Whether it be pine, oak, cherry or whatever species, it will never go out of style.
Mike sees ambrosia, or wormy maple, as a type that is currently quite popular. It is essentially maple that the ambrosia beetles have got at. At one time, that would have condemned the maple to the firewood pile. These days, it is viewed as unique stuff.
“It has character,” he says. “It is also cost effective and it really looks nice.”
Character is what solid wood furniture is all about. While two pieces from a specific collection may look the same from a distance, a closer look reveals that each has its own distinctive wood grain and other unique characteristics. Over time, solid wood pieces are bound to have some bumps and wear, but compared to veneer covered particle board that can chip, dent and become an eyesore, there is no argument that solid wood is just plain better.
It’s your choice. You can pay for a single, high-quality piece, or you can pay several times over for something of lesser quality.
As far as the aspect of wood staying in vogue, do you remember the four-by-eight sheets of wood paneling that covered the walls of practically every rec room in the 60s and 70s? Now, there is something that seems to have fallen out of favour. Yet, custom wood walls are an integral part of Great Canadian’s business. That is because the wood strips meticulously fitted together are, like the furnishings, distinct and durable.
In keeping with their commitment to provide unique and lasting work, Mike and his business partner Misty Gillis have opened up their Broadway showroom to local artists, and artisans, to display their wares.
It is Mike and Misty’s way of promoting the area’s culture and talent. It might also be because Mike and these artists and craftspeople are kindred souls.
Would it be safe to label furniture maker Mike Taylor an artist? “Well,” he answers. “I’ve been called worse.”
Written By: Dan Pelton | Photography By: Cory Bruyea