You may ask me, “Is this a typical Amish shop?” Good question. Let me explain why. Another shop ten miles from here might be run totally with a generator, and contain a computerized CNC machine to work with cutsheets drawn up on a word processor.
And a third shop, the same distance away, might not have one bit of electrical equipment anywhere, down to the portable gas lamps. In some other communities, even hydraulic power is prohibited and all machinery is powered with belts and pulleys on a line shaft underneath the floor connected directly with the motor. Hand tools might be powered with flex shafts instead of air.
Not only does this depend on the local congregation’s direction on these items, but it is often a reflection of the owner’s convictions. Some shop owners have been drawn to more high-tech tools, but many learn you also must increase production enormously to pay off the investments. Increasing production can lead to more headaches (paperwork, employees, etc).
Is it worth the hassle to have the busiest and the most top-notch facility if I don’t have time to spend with my family? This question not only affects the Amish, but likely you too.
The above is excerpted from an article titled “Inside an Amish Furniture Shop”, which I asked Dennis, a cabinet maker in Indiana, to write for us.
In the article, Dennis gives a virtual tour of a shop in his community. He also discusses things like Amish outsourcing, workman’s comp, and specialization. You can read Dennis’ article in full here.