Simply Beautiful Furniture.


Removing Stains From Furniture

Date added: 06-08-2013

Black marks occur on wood furniture when water penetrates the woods finish. Our furniture is predominantly an oil finish, and so these instructions are specifically catered toward Danish Oil Finished pieces only. Lacquer finished furniture requires a different approach. In the case of any veneer topped tables, extreme caution should be used. Hardwood Artisans tables are all solid wood tops, and so these instructions are exclusive to our products. Viewers should use great care if following my instructions for other manufactured tables.

We have a customer who has owned this table for about 10 years. A planter was placed on the table, and, of course, it leaked. The metal from the planter reacted with the table top, resulting in a rather large black stain on the wood. The customer tried to sand out the stain, but these stains tend to run pretty deep into the wood, so sanding is generally not a very good option, at least not as the initial solution.

The best way to deal with a black stain is to use chemicals, Oxalic Acid, specifically. It is an organic compound that performs as bleach in the applications we use it in. Oxalic acid will neutralize and bleach the black stain from wood. It is used heavily in the marine industry where water and wood are in constant contact.

Once the stain is neutralized and bleached, we still have to repair the table. We have introduced a lot of water to the top, and the table will require a light (but thorough) sanding and a fresh application of Danish Oil. That said, this table will look brand new when we are done with it. The true value of solid wood furniture – repairable and renewable. Furniture for life.





Shirlington Kitchen

Date added: 25-07-2013

When we designed the build for the new showroom in Shirlington, about two and a half years ago, there was a plan to incorporate a kitchen into the floor plan. We put in plumbing rough-in’s, and wired up 220v for a kitchen stove. Well, the best laid plans, right? We are now in the process of finishing up that kitchen project. We will be writing about the progress over the next few weeks.

 We are using 3/4″ thick hardwood plywood with finished birch wood veneer on both sides. We chose ash wood with an espresso stain as the face frame, curly maple Tansu panels with a red aniline dye stain, and left the birch plywood natural inside the cases.

I have spent about 10 days figuring out what cases were made, and what needs to be made to complete the job. Today is Thursday. There are several things involving tongue-in-groove construction that need done. Below are a series of pictures of me cutting the joints. The machine in the pictures is called a shaper, which is basically an overgrown table router with a feed tank. 

In a day or two, after the glue sets and the parts are trimmed to final sizes, I will have some pictures of kitchen cabinets in various states of completion. Stay tuned.

Mark Gatterdam

New Kid On The Block

Date added: 24-07-2013

Starting a new job anywhere is both exciting and somewhat intimidating especially for a recent college graduate; but Hardwood Artisans’ fun, fast paced environment has helped make my move to the “real world” an easy transition.

My name is Erin Gallagher; I am 22 years old and I am the new marketing coordinator at Hardwood Artisans. I am originally from Richmond but have recently relocated to Fairfax. I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to the traffic up here.

I graduated this past May from Virginia Tech, GO HOKIES!, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Communication and Spanish. I had gone into college thinking that I wanted to be a news anchor but after working various internships I realized I loved graphical design, photography, and video editing which led me into marketing. I’m just a video nerd that enjoys any creative project I can get my hands.

I am assuming the job of Lorelei Hillgren, who decided to go and get herself a college education of her own and become a cop (sorry, …..ahem….., Police Officer). She is also the daughter of one of the partners, so she has been associated with the organization literally since birth. Large shoes to fill. My first week was nothing less than high intensity and fast paced. I started working for the company one week before our biggest event of the year, the 7th annual Lemonade Social.

The first week consisted of meetings, online marketing, and ironing out details for the event. Though most of my week consisted of shadowing the current marketing coordinator and created social media graphics, I was able to view all of the details that went into preparing and executing the event. I was able to mainly observe the event and see what aspects of the event our customers responded best to, and what aspects of the event needed further development for the following year.

The entire week leading up to the Lemonade Social, Mark had shared, “We don’t only sell furniture, we sell an experience.” Curt, another partner here at Hardwood Artisans describes it as, “creating a memory”. This ideology was solidified at the Lemonade Social when I saw how each of the sales people interacted with customers; this varied from shop tours and demonstrations to general conversation between employees and customers. Many employees have created relationships with customers that span over the years, and I witnessed their relationships during the Lemonade Social.

Through observing this event I have a much better understanding and a greater appreciation of how this organization functions and look forward to continually learning new things. Mark brought me on specifically to provide a new perspective to marketing. So, with that, over the next few months keep an eye out for a little different look from Hardwood Artisans. I might be the youngest but I’ll show you I know my stuff, talk to you later….

Sofa Wall Bed

Date added: 09-07-2013

For about two years, my manager in Shirlington, Larry Northrop, has been trying to convince me that we need yet a fifth wall bed system. For about two years I resisted……okay, I finally gave in. Now, keep in mind that I didn’t think his idea was a bad one. I resisted because I knew we were talking about 300 hours of design and engineering time. I wanted nothing to do with this project, already having several jobs in the organization. Instead, in his perfect tenaciousness, Larry found his next “victims”.

Larry gained a lot of interest and enthusiasm within the organization and talked a lot about the idea with many customers. Between Larry, Greg (the founder), and Curt Smay (my partner), they worked on this project for about 5 months off and on. We premiered it at our Lemonade Social, where there seemed to be a lot of interest. 



The idea is that you have a sofa (loveseat sized really), with your bed right behind. This arrangement literally doubles a rooms capacity, making it perfect for efficiency apartments. Take the wedges off, pull the bed down, and you are ready to go to bed. The display shelf (shown with a yellow flower in a vase full of water) will pivot in perfect parallel to the ground. Nothing needs removed from the shelf. When I look at it, I see an engineering headache that was solved. Imagine a wooden object that weighs 80 pounds and moves 7 feet out on a pivot into a room like a feather. Curt actually had to design (and have made) the metal arms that allow for this movement because they just don’t exist. And yes, it took every bit of 300 hours to figure out.



The design is such that the bed lays over the seat of the sofa. The result is a bed height taller than any of our other wall beds. I have to admit that I like it, a lot. Curt and Greg did a great job executing Larry’s vision.

Right now, we are busy cleaning up the cases and applying the finish. We will be showing this new bed in our Shirlington store within the next few weeks.

For more information about this wall bed, or any of our four other beds, call any of our stores. 

The Baton Rouge Bed

Date added: 29-08-2012

Our customers are so often the exact inspiration needed for a new standard product.  Not only are you creative but you are very good designers – no wonder our standard line keeps growing.  This story starts when co-owner Mark Gatterdam met Aaron and Catherine in our showroom.

Aaron and Catherine have always had a fine appreciation for watching things unfold.  Aaron told us, “We have always appreciated furniture and viewed it more as functional art as opposed to things-to-put-stuff-on.”

Their house was built in the 1940’s by Aaron’s great grandfather for his Grandfather and Grandmother to live in.  His ever so handy Grandfather also built houses for his three daughters as well as another one for himself.  I’ll let him tell the rest of the story:

“They are all located in Baton Rouges’ Garden District Area adjacent to Louisiana State University.  Upon my grandmother’s passing Catherine and I decided to purchase the home from my dad and my aunt.  We felt strongly about keeping the house in the family; four of the five houses are still owned by relatives.  Our house is very small by today’s standards, just under 1,000 SF.

Catherine and I purchased it in rough condition.  We are on the tail end of completing a massive renovation.  Because the house is so small everything that goes in must be considered very carefully.  Too much of anything, or anything large and bulky, or the wrong color will weigh the rooms down and cause them to appear very crowded and cluttered.  Catherine and I have considered furniture very carefully.  We drew a lot of inspiration from pieces on display at the Festival of the Arts in Laguna Beach, California.

Catherine and I try to make the festival each year while visiting her grandparents on the west coast.  We have been considering furniture to fill this house for over three years…  we don’t get in a hurry.

We visited galleries when traveling on vacation and business.  I even considered building some of my own pieces (believe it or not I can hold my own in the shop.)  What initially drew me to Hardwood Artisans was the use of solid hard woods and the oil finish. No one does this for production… are y’all crazy?  Catherine and I chose standard pieces from the Hardwood Artisans portfolio.

bed sketch

We thought we would push you guys just a little bit with the idea of incorporating a more “unique” headboard.  It wasn’t until I saw the Motus Desk at the Culpeper shop that realized exactly what you guys are capable of.  We were hoping that you all could understand our broad design ideas and then use your talents and ideas to create a design that matched us.  That is exactly what you all did.  To me that is infinitely more difficult and personal then simply taking a customer’s design and building it according to spec.  We certainly appreciate the human element and emotional labor that you and your design team have incorporated so far.  We cannot wait to see the final product.

As far as names…  We’ll defiantly throw one in the hat for consideration…  We’ll need to sleep on it.  I’ll let you know our vote.


Here are a few pictures of the final bed!

What is a Penny Theater?

Date added: 06-08-2012

I was working in our Shirlington showroom a few months ago when I received a rather odd phone call.  One of our previous customers was entering to win a grant from the American Physical Society.  This was not a typical type of phone call.

He was entering the grant with the help of his family to win money to build a new, improved Penny Theater for the Noyes Children’s Library Foundation and was hoping we would help.  I told him I was interested but I did not have a clue what a Penny Theater was… do you?

Long story short the Noyes Children’s Library Foundation and this wonderful family use the Penny Theater to teach children all kinds of lessons.  The theater is small enough to be carried from one place to another yet large enough to host a whole play on it using small caricatures.

I and the rest of Hardwood Artisans believe education very important.  If you are learning the mathematics of building hardwood furniture, why the sky is blue or the technique of social marketing it is important to keep on learning.  I knew Hardwood Artisans had to help with this great project.  I knew we could build an enhanced, updated an perfect Penny Theater.  Here is what an older one looks like:


A Hidden Gem – The Culpeper Airport. Located Right behind our Shop

Date added: 19-06-2012

When we first moved into our new shop in Culpeper I kept hearing about the airport behind our shop.  There was so much vegetation (and snakes) behind the shop it was difficult to see.  I have to be honest I didn’t think much about it.

While I have had the pleasure of getting to know people in Culpeper the kind people at Culpeper Airport reached out to us and offered 20 free airplane rides at our Lemonade Social.  What a wonderful offer!  You can sign up for a ride by clicking here.

I went over to the airport this week and had the opportunity to take a tour.  I am still amazed and delighted at the neat treasures the airport has to show off.  They have a whole Commemorative Air Force (CAF) hanger dedicated to storing incredible older and historic planes – not to mention a British armored fighting vehicle – a Ferret Scout Car.  Most of the planes in the CAF hanger still fly!  Check out this plane:

Blue and Yellow Vultee BT (more…)

Hardwood Artisans chance to shine in the Big Apple

Date added: 21-03-2012


Come see us at the Architectural Digest Show at Pier 94 March 22nd – March 25.  We are happy to announce the unveiling of our newest design – The Motus Desk.  Keep an eye out for pictures and a blog about designing the desk during and after the show.

Receive $5 off your show tickets by using the code “Hardwood” when you order tickets by clicking here.


Our Shirlington Built-In Expert

Date added: 19-01-2012

Larry Northrop, our Shirlington Showroom Manager was recently featured in The Northern Virginia magazine. If you didn’t see it, here’s the magazine and his article on built-ins.

Northern Virginian Built In Cover


Kindling for a Cause

Date added: 12-12-2011

My wife, Erika, doesn’t like to waste anything. Her mother came from the Old Country and frugality was a way of life in her house. After all, many immigrants arrived at the New World with very little. My family wasn’t as interested in saving and Erika saw me as wasteful when we merged our lives together. Over 25 years ago, when I started working in the shop of The Loft Bed Store, I would occasionally bring home a couple buckets of scrap wood; small, 0r randomly sized chunks of kiln dried cherry, oak, walnut, and mahogany known as mill ends. We’d use this in our small condo fireplace since we couldn’t afford to purchase seasoned firewood for our occasional fires. She couldn’t believe this stuff was just thrown out. (After all, her mother would have found a way to build a house with it or sell it on Ebay.) But in creating furniture, the fact is that every single inch of wood just isn’t usable. Though the shop guys are very cognizant of using each piece of lumber to its fullest potential, there are sap stains, splits and other irregularities that need to be cut around. Then each piece needs to be edged, squaring it up, and other trim scraps are added to the pile. Admittedly, it is tough seeing all this beautiful hardwood tossed. Well, not exactly tossed. We do send it to the local landfill, to be ground up with other things like yard waste and used Christmas trees. That mixture is turned into mulch.


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