About Smuggler’s Notch Custom Furniture
Smuggler’s Notch Country Furniture is made entirely of solid wood. There are no wood by-products, such as MDF, Presswood or veneers found anywhere in our furniture; not even in the drawer bottoms or furniture backing.
The cabinet furniture, including television cupboards, step-back buffets & hutches and all bedroom furniture is made of solid Canadian white pine that is kiln-dried to the acceptable furniture industry standard of 6 % to 8 % humidity. The wood thickness is either 3/4” thick of 4/4” (1 inch) thick depending on the piece and the parameters used in our designs. Most furniture backing is either 5/8” tongue-in-groove spruce or red pine. The cabinet pieces are made full-length (to the floor) and then decorative bracket feet applied.
The furniture is built mainly using splines and wood glue to hold door frames, facades and panels together. Drawer faces are made with a mortised joint and the drawer bottoms have a ‘floating’ panel mortised into the four sides of the drawer box. Great attention is paid so that our drawers glide almost as effortlessly on wooden runners as they would on metal drawer glides. On pieces where it applies, our adjustable shelves are made with breadboard ends to prevent twisting. The shelf height adjustments are done with pegs.
Glazed door furniture has the glass inserted separately in the panes and held in place by wooden straps.
The harvest table bases have mortise-and-tenon joints to the apron and the harvest table legs are turned from a 4” block of maple. The paysanne & ladderback chairs and stools are made of maple also, for maple’s inherent strength and durability. All of the vertical pieces on the Windsor chairs are made of maple but the seats are pine and the bowed back is made of ash.
Finally, on all this finely built furniture, we apply a hand finish to mimic the look of a genuine antique. Our finishes are hand-painted and distressed by hand so that no two pieces are identical. Each piece is protected by at least two coats of polyurethane varnish and a coat of furniture wax that requires no maintenance. This finish protects against water marks and can be cleaned with a clean, damp cloth.
Wood: Environment, Care & Cleaning
Solid wood furniture is built to become heirlooms to future generations, but how it is cared for will affect its longevity.
Our furniture is built with kiln-dried wood, which means that it is “cooked” in a large oven to dry out the sap and other moisture. Some moisture must be left in the wood; otherwise it will absorb all of the ambient moisture around it once it has been turned into furniture and it will expand. There is also a chance that some sap will seep out of the wood even after it has been converted to furniture and finished. The beads of sap can be removed with soap and water.
When solid wood furniture is placed in a damp environment, it can swell slightly; conversely, when it is placed in a dry environment, the parts will shrink. Obviously then, very damp or very dry environments should be avoided. Some shrinkage will most likely occur during the first heating season that the furniture is in a home. Great care has been taken in the designing and constructing of your furniture to allow for the natural expansion and contraction of the wood over the course of a year. Avoid placing your furniture directly in front of direct heat. Balancing the moisture level of your house is important to your furniture.
With wood, it is wise to avoid extremes. Changes in temperature, such as those found in unheated garages, sheds, etc… (cool at night, warmer during the day) can cause small cracks to occur in the finish. Hot air, such as comes from a central heating, should be avoided, because they cause extremely localized drying of the wood.
It is the nature of solid pine to slightly twist and torque because it grows in rings. This behavior is not a flaw of the furniture product nor the wood but simply a characteristic of solid pine, something to be aware of as part of pine’s natural charm. Our furniture designs have taken this into account, but some mild twisting is unavoidable on doors, tops and table panels particularly. We always stand behind the quality of our cabinetry but some normal wood character is not always a warranty issue. When twisting or shrinkage is excessive, compared to standard wood behaviour, then we repair or replace the piece at our discretion.
Direct sunlight has a bleaching effect on wood and finishes but it can be prevented with the use of blinds or drapes.
Smugglers Notch Furniture is finished with a minimum of two coats of satin finish polyurethane and a light coat of liquid furniture wax. This finish is impervious to water and needs minimal maintenance. Your furniture can be cleaned with a soapy cloth and then wiped with a dry cloth. Cleaning products can mark the surface of our finished furniture.
All Smuggler’s Notch furniture is made of solid wood. All cabinet pieces are pine. Chair bodies, some seats and table legs are hardwood.
Stained Pine: Refers to our default tops. These are solid pine and available at this price in any of our five stain colors; Natural, Puritan Pine, Black Cherry, Espresso or Walnut. If not otherwise specified, the default stain will be natural.
Hand-planed: These tops are planed to open the wood grain and groove the wood. The result is a more rustic looking finish, which is slightly uneven and usually results in the stain looking a little darker.
Birch: This is a hardwood so this option is available for those clients who find pine too soft. Birch looks, feels and finishes like maple but is not as costly as maple.
Glaze: Glazing furniture is another level of finish, which is applied to the body of pieces. Glazing is much more noticeable on light colors than dark, to the point that I would suggest not using it on dark colors at all. Glazing darkens the finish. The liquid adheres to the paint, making the finish look older and dirtier. There is an up charge for glazing.
Custom Benjamin Moore: It is not always possible to carry enough colors to please everyone, so we can finish furniture in any Benjamin Moore color that is available to us. There is an upcharge for buying and finishing in Benjamin Moore paint. Please note that we use flat finish paint and then put a polyurethane finish over the paint. Therefore, the color may vary slightly from the samples provided by Benjamin Moore.
Painted Interiors: All painted finishes are normally done 2-tone, as shown in the catalogue. We can paint the interiors of bookcases and hutches for an up charge. Please call us for exact cost on the piece you are ordering.