Inside a Furniture Shop with Amish Cabinet Maker Dennis

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.

Get the Amish in your inbox

Join 15,000 email subscribers. No spam. 100% free

    Similar Posts

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    1. KJV Conservative

      So Where Does It Begin?

      I”ve read in an older topic (where one of Amish America” s son was having financial trouble) that is not typical for Plain people to be wealthy, not when they first start leave their parents anyhow. I cannot remember where I heard it,maybe on Amish America, but aren” t loans difficult to come by/discouraged in most Plain communities? Does Amish Aid cover that, or am I just hallucinating on what I have and have not read?

      Smiles and Blessings,

      1. Loans are actually quite common, for financing a home purchase or a farm or business. Bank loans are common but there are also loan funds set up and operated by Amish on a low cost basis in a number of communities.

        There are also separate Amish-run aid programs which focus on helping out with medical needs or in cases of disaster.

        Some Amish become quite wealthy, usually through business, but few would start out that way on setting up their own households.

    2. Gary Counterman

      Wonderful Article

      Great idea for an article, Erik and nicely written and really interesting, Dennis. I’ve only seen a couple Amish owned furniture shops, both in New Wilmington, Pa., the larger one with belt driven machinery and tools powered by a diesel engine. The smaller shop mostly hand tools, both places were a good and interesting experience to have. There were many carpenters and wood workers in past generations of my dad’s family, so it also helped give me a clearer understanding of what their work would have been like and what was entailed. Thanks for this wonderful topic on a really enjoyable blog site!

      1. Thank you Gary! I am not a woodworker, but I’m glad for the detail Dennis included in the article, I thought it might appeal to those who are.

    3. Slightly-Handled-Order-Man

      At least one of my uncles was a carpenter by trade. My one uncle had a knack for odd and functional shacks, especially on his hobby farm, which I suppose indicated that he did quite well for a career working on building houses and such. I used to have a lovely bowl he fashioned from the knotty part of a tree. Sadly though, he ain’t Amish, and would probably giggle at the Hutterites in his community.