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About


"Master furniture maker, Robin Wade know's just how to showcase the beauty of natural wood."  -  One Kings Lane

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About


"Master furniture maker, Robin Wade know's just how to showcase the beauty of natural wood."  -  One Kings Lane

Robin Wade Furniture is a celebration of nature

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—a fusion of forward-thinking commitment to the environment and a quiet, harmonious design aesthetic. From his "slow studio" in North Alabama, award-winning wood artist Robin Wade designs and crafts one-of-a-kind handmade furniture.

Years before a piece is ready to enter a client's home or a gallery, the process begins—naturally—with the tree. Sustainably harvested, each specimen of hardwood is flitch sawn into natural-edge wood slabs, debarked by hand with a draw-knife and stacked to dry, usually for years, before the final cure in the kiln. From here, Wade and his team use both hand and power tools to bring his visions to life, then finish each piece with a hand-rubbed oil blend. Each organic furniture creation balances the raw, natural beauty of locally sourced hardwoods with minimally invasive, clean lines—a juxtaposition Wade calls both rustic and modern. “I haven’t yet found a better artist than nature,” he says.

 

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Our Mission


“Robin Wade Furniture is driven by a desire to celebrate and honor the natural world through our craft."

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Our Mission


“Robin Wade Furniture is driven by a desire to celebrate and honor the natural world through our craft."

Mission Statement

Robin Wade Furniture is driven by a desire to celebrate and honor the natural world. We strive to exhibit this celebration and respect in our manufacturing process, and create furniture that encourages and inspires renewed awe and appreciation of nature.

The goals in our mission statement are lofty indeed. It can be difficult to feel a sense of wonder and respect for nature when one works with natural materials every day. Familiarity breeds contempt, as they say. However, those of us who pour our sweat, tears, hearts and souls into this business have never lost our focus. We subscribe to a set of key core values. These values explain why we feel awe, respect and a joyful celebration in each and every piece we create.

We Practice Sustainability

At RWF we are constantly seeking out ways to make our business more sustainable. Practicing sustainability is one way we celebrate nature: by taking only what we need, and giving back as much as we take. This not only celebrates nature, but celebrates life in general, ensuring that future generations will be able to feel the same awe and joy in a natural environment that we do today.We take our time, enjoying the journey as much as the finished product.

In our Slow Studio process, a piece of furniture takes time. Still we take our time, ensuring that the piece is made right and made to last. We do not believe in instant gratification. Instead, we enjoy the effort it takes to create a piece of high quality furniture. When you take your time, the process becomes as valuable as the end product.

Robin Wade Furniture Mission Statement

Robin Wade Furniture Mission Statement

We Have A Local Focus

There are many places in the world that can inspire an appreciation of the beauty of nature. But the first place we always look for appreciation and inspiration is our own backyard. In our determination never to take anything for granted, we begin at home. We celebrate the beauty of the Alabama wilderness and source all our materials for our furniture locally. We often source trees that have been blown down by winds and storms, giving these pieces a new life in someone's home. Why go further when beauty can be found all around you?

We Value Beauty

At Robin Wade Furniture, we are not just in the business of making furniture. We are making art. We believe that appreciation of beauty is one of the key ways to encourage a feeling of awe and wonder about the natural world. Truly, the world we live in is amazing. When we build artifacts from the raw materials this world provides, we owe it to nature and to ourselves to work as hard as possible to preserve that amazement.

We Allow Nature to Speak for Itself

When you purchase a piece from Robin Wade Furniture, there is no veneer to mask inferior products and no stain to hide a wood’s natural grain or color. We let nature speak for itself. In order to respect nature's voice, we must ensure that it has a voice for a long time to come. Our values do not allow for clear cutting of forests, either foreign or domestic. We do not practice importing, which pollutes the earth’s waters, or long-distance trucking, which pollutes our air. What you see—a  locally and conscientiously made piece of furniture—is what you get.

Walnut logs headed to the RWF studio

Walnut logs headed to the RWF studio

We Cultivate an Environmental Conscience

Last, but certainly not least, Robin Wade Furniture strives to be an environmentally aware company. Our conviction is that we cannot bring nature's beauty into peoples’ homes through the furniture we create if we do so at the expense of nature itself. To do so would be to rob nature of its beauty, and be left only with wooden furniture as hollow reminders of what we once had. We do not want to see our furniture become memorials of a lost wilderness. So, we strive to be a model of ecological thoughtfulness in everything we do.

A Labor of Love

This company is a labor of love as much as it is a business. We don't just mean love of what we do (though we do, of course, love making beautiful furniture) but also a way to demonstrate our love of Alabama and of the natural world to others. These pieces of furniture stand as a testament to the fact that we care deeply about what we do, who and what we affect by doing it, and how we affect them. We hope all of this can be seen in the pieces we create and the process by which we create them. For us, each piece we create is an opportunity to express and confirm our beliefs.

 

 

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Our Approach


“Wade first salvages felled trees (mostly walnut) from a surrounding 60-mile radius, then seasons and kiln-dries their wood for two to three years before even starting to make a piece of furniture.”  — Robb Report

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Our Approach


“Wade first salvages felled trees (mostly walnut) from a surrounding 60-mile radius, then seasons and kiln-dries their wood for two to three years before even starting to make a piece of furniture.”  — Robb Report

Robin Wade Furniture would obviously make a stunning addition to your home or design project. However, there are other economic and environmentally conscious reasons to choose a walnut dining table, cherry bench, or other organic furniture piece from this southern wood artist.

The Robin Wade production process is extremely environmentally sensitive. Each piece of Robin Wade furniture begins as a hardwood tree not far from the RWF Slow Studio in Florence, Alabama. Wade is extremely conscious of sourcing every piece of wood used to build his furniture locally. In addition, trees are not taken down just for the sake of building furniture.

Another victim of the F5 tornado that ravaged the South in April 2011 was a massive ole oak that provided shade to historic Barton Hall Plantation. With our In-house sawmill, the natural edge slabs were cut, air dried and just recently have returned from the kiln.  A few pieces have already been completed.

Another victim of the F5 tornado that ravaged the South in April 2011 was a massive ole oak that provided shade to historic Barton Hall Plantation.

With our In-house sawmill, the natural edge slabs were cut, air dried and just recently have returned from the kiln.  A few pieces have already been completed.

Not only is the wood used to build RWF pieces local, but the product itself is 100% made in Alabama at the RWF Slow Studio. In fact, each piece is made by hand, utilizing age-old wood working skills and tools alongside modern tools. To say this process takes time is an understatement - in fact, it takes years. Once a downed log is located, it is flitch-cut into organic edge lumber, retaining the sapwood. The bark is then removed by hand with a drawknife. Once the lumber has been prepped by hand, it is stacked to naturally air dry (this is where the years come in), and finally put into a kiln for the final cure.

After the wood is dry, wood artist Robin Wade begins to work his magic. He and his studio craftsmen create one-of-a-kind furniture pieces, works of art that accentuate the grain, the shape, and the beautiful imperfections that make each piece of wood uniquely gorgeous. Each piece is solid wood, finished with a hand-applied oil, and celebrates Mother Nature’s unique creations. These breathtaking works of art—a timber table, a walnut bench—are heirloom pieces, not disposable mass-market items available at big-box retailers or big-name furniture stores.

Robin Wade

Robin Wade

With Robin Wade Furniture, you are buying a real, 100% natural product—something created in nature and made into functional furnishings by wood artist Robin Wade. When you purchase a Robin Wade Furniture piece, there is no veneer to mask inferior products, no stain to hide a wood’s natural grain or color, no clear cutting of foreign or domestic forests, no importing to pollute the earth’s waters, no long-distance trucking to pollute our air.

Enjoy perusing Robin Wade Furniture’s sustainable, one-of-a-kind, handmade pieces of art pictured here on our website. We hope you will appreciate the natural beauty found here. Feel free to visit our gallery to see, touch, and feel the pieces, and consider bringing a little piece of Mother Nature’s bounty into your home.




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Natural Edge Lumber


We go to great lengths, taking years in order to retain the natural shape of the tree.
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Natural Edge Lumber


We go to great lengths, taking years in order to retain the natural shape of the tree.

What do we do to our logs to turn them into the kind of hardwood lumber we need to make the kind of furniture we want? And since we are so dedicated to preserving the natural beauty of the wood, why process at all? The answer is that some processing is essential to create quality furniture that lasts, but we insist on as minimal a process as possible.

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When we mill the hardwood logs into lumber we exclusively flitch saw them. This means that we are creating natural edge lumber. When the logs are flitch sawed the edges are not trimmed to make perfectly rectangular lumber; rather the irregular natural edges are retained.

The next process is debarking. The tree bark is removed by hand from the natural edge lumber with a draw knife. Why do we remove the tree bark from the natural edge hardwood lumber? Wouldn't it be that much more natural looking if we left the bark on? Possibly, but most tree bark will eventually fall off after milling which we are sure would not delight our customers if it happened in their living room. Also the bark retains moisture that can cause problems in the drying process.

Speaking of the drying process, once again we opt for the most natural and least environmentally disruptive process: Natural air drying. This is a long slow process; when we stack our lumber to naturally air dry it takes years. In Alabama, to lower the internal moisture of our natural edge lumber to about 30% it takes one year per inch of thickness. Most of our natural edge hardwood lumber is cut 3 to 4 inches thick so we're looking at three to four years of drying. This natural air drying not only limits the carbon footprint of our enterprise, it also allows the stresses associated with drying (the shrinking) to ease without causing breaks.

Our final process is some kiln drying, a process we keep to a minimum by the extensive natural air drying. This lasts about two weeks and is essential for producing furniture grade hardwood lumber (and if any additional stress and cracking take place, it occurs in the kiln and not in our customer's home or hotel).

The RWF way of doing things: Minimal processing with maximal respect for the environment to produce the highest quality and most beautiful product.


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Real Honest Furniture


No magic here.  No scraping, aging, embellishing, or even stain.  Just a desire to showcase the inherent beauty of mother nature with minimal intervention.

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Real Honest Furniture


No magic here.  No scraping, aging, embellishing, or even stain.  Just a desire to showcase the inherent beauty of mother nature with minimal intervention.

Photo by famous civil rights photographer Charles Moore 

Photo by famous civil rights photographer Charles Moore 

What exactly does real mean? Many things. It can mean very ("I had a real good time!"), legally verifiable, physically existing, not imaginary, essential, sincere ("These are my real feelings), a kind of number, authentic, genuine, undisputed, traditional. And that's not a full list. But the real question is: what do we mean by real at RWF? What we mean by real is natural, without artifice. We wouldn't paint oranges to make them look like apples. If we wanted apples we would get apples. We do enhance, but we don't alter. It looks like walnut wood because it is.. The color of the wood comes from natural aging, nothing else.

The designs in the wood were already there, we just aged the wood and oiled it to bring out the natural chatoyancy, design and color. The natural edge to the slabs is not cut off. We don't use tricks; if the furniture looks heavy, it is. In our joinery, we don't hide the oversize screws we use, we showcase them. If we need to add a structure because of the weight of the components, we don't camouflage it, but leave it readily apparent. Michelangelo was famous for saying that he would look at a piece of marble and see the potential sculpture within and then sculpt what was already there. We feel the same way about the wood we use. Our task (and joy) is to let the true nature of each piece shine through, to expose and enhance its beauty for the enjoyment of all.

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American Made


American-made furniture, hand crafted, right here in Florence Alabama

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American Made


American-made furniture, hand crafted, right here in Florence Alabama

One-of-a-kind custom furniture from sustainably harvested local hardwoods

One-of-a-kind custom furniture from sustainably harvested local hardwoods

Many companies claim that they produce and sell “American-made” furniture. But on closer inspection, some use woods harvested in South America, some upholster with fabrics woven in China, and some integrate springs and hardware shipped from every corner of the earth. Many claim they sell American-made furniture because the far-flung pieces are assembled in the United States. Very few companies can honestly claim that they truly offer American-made furniture.

Robin Wade Furniture is one of those proud few. RWF pieces begin as hardwood trees within a 60-mile radius of the Slow Studio located in northwest Alabama. When a tree comes down, due to natural causes or human intervention, Robin and his crew harvest the tree, mill the lumber, and dry it locally, a process that can take years. When the lumber is ready, Robin’s artistic eye imagines what each piece might become—a walnut table, a cherry bench, an oak conference table, a contemporary daybed, or a maple chair. And then he goes to work in his Slow Studio, creating one-of-a-kind functional art pieces from each piece of locally harvested lumber.

Robin Wade Furniture is hand-crafted, American-made furniture that fills a home with warmth, natural texture, and exceptional beauty. From the harvesting of the tree to the wood’s preparatory process, from the designing to the crafting of a finished one-of-a-kind product, every step is completed in the Southeast corner of the United States—American-made furniture crafted by an American wood artist.