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Lessons in so-called "Arts & Crafts" furniture buying

I'm wondering if anyone else out there is also frustrated by the reproductions of Arts&Crafts/Bungalow style furniture that purport to be made "entirely of quartersawn oak" but turn out to be cheap imports. In my case, I purchased (for over $1,000) a bungalow-style dresser on ebay (it is actually a Tradeswins product, but it is sold by a guy with a lot of "bungalow" style stuff and a very impressive array of products). It superficially looked O.K. and was really heavy. Well, one day I had to move it a bit and was intrigued when I noticed that the back actually swayed--what the hell. I thought. It turns out that the back is a piece of (get out your airline vomit bags) of masonite. Horrified, I called the smooth-talker, who claimed that nobody finishes the back of dressers and the like anymore because it is a "waste of materials." Worse, later I noticed that the lumber must have been milled by an escapee from an eighth grade shop class: one side is a crazy quilt of plain, rift, and a bit of quartersawn oak. I could go on, but, lucky for me, four years ago I had the good fortune of buying three tables (at an absolute steal on ebay) from the family business of Dryad Studios. Now, these pieces are the diametric opposite of the thinly-veiled garbage described above: they are examples of the kind of furniture making fanaticism that is a hallmark of true Stickley devotees. Well, you win some and lose others, I suppose. Guess I should take out of some issues of Craftsman magazine and get to work. . . .

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Comment by Dryad Studios on January 9, 2012 at 11:25am

And, many thanks to you, Ester, for your kind praise and comments. We will be joining you on these pages to try and offer our different philosophy to this discourse. Thanks for your patronage. Our commitment to quality and customer care has kept us 2 years behind on orders for the past 4 years.

It is observations such as yours that provide the mortar for the bricks of our lives. Thank You

Comment by Fiona ni'Giollarua on July 29, 2011 at 12:46pm

Hi Esther

I was lucky and inherited most of my large pieces of period furniture. That being said, I wouldnt purchase furniture on ebay simply because I cannot examine it first hand. Have you tried visiting  I prefer to buy antiques, not modern reproductions, as  antiques *should* appreciate in value. If they are loved and well maintained, there is no reason they shouldnt last another hundred years. I doubt the same can be said for *most* modern repros. Im sorry you had such a disappointing and frustrating experience, but as the saying goes...Caveat emptor, buyer beware.

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