Shaker Style and Mission Style Are Not the Same
It can be a challenge to see the difference between the two styles, they are so subtle. Mission furniture compares to modern style, using straight lines throughout the design and construction with square corners and box-like shapes. You’ll also find that Mission style furniture uses tenon joints to hold the pieces together, creating a hand-made look that’s the hallmark of the style and the Arts and Crafts movement. This creates a classic look that’s perfect to use in both modern and old-style homes. Mission style is sometimes called a transitional style because of this versatility.
Shaker style has the straight, simple lines of Mission style furniture, but it also includes some softer, rounded elements in pulls, knobs, and shapes of trim on doors.
Interesting Fact: One-piece wooden clothes-pegs for hanging up coats were invented by the Shaker community in the 1700s.
No Two Pieces Are Identical—Accept No Imitations
Mission style or Shaker style, no two pieces will ever be the same. Each piece of furniture is made from carefully selected pieces of wood, and the type chosen depends on personal taste or the purpose of the piece. The pieces of the log that are chosen also differ depending on the effect the artisan is looking to achieve.
The furnishings should be solid wood and quarter-sawn or plain sawn, and can be made of any portion of the tree, be it the heartwood (interior) or the outside circumference. It is often kiln-dried.
There is a whole rainbow of stains to choose from, not to mention upholstery colors and materials. The finishing will be applied by hand sanding and varnishing, creating a flawlessly smooth finish that lasts for years. There should be no evidence of machinery in the assembly or manufacture of the piece if it is truly an authentic piece. Amish beliefs prevent the use of electricity, and woodworking tools in Amish shops are powered by hydraulic and pneumatic power that is run on diesel compressors.
No Composite Materials Allowed
You won’t find any composite wood, particle board or laminate in the construction of a piece of Amish furniture! It should have a weight to it and “feel” substantial. This means you can pass these pieces down to family members for years to come. A piece of quality furniture is an investment, and since the Mission and Amish style of furniture is so classic, it moves from decade to decade and fits in to any home décor.
If you are considering new furniture or even a single piece for a special spot in your home, consider the timeless beauty and enduring appeal of Amish furniture. It will be a part of your family for years to come!