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How to Select Bookshelves for the Serious Collector

Serious collectors spend hours fretting over how to best display their books, whether their library is made up of rare and antiquarian books, encyclopedias, first edition hardcovers, trade paperbacks, or vintage mass-market paperbacks. Some treat their libraries as a display, others regularly consult them either for work or for pleasure. Some prefer to display a carefully curated selection alongside other antiques and collectibles, while others hope for a place that can contain their unwieldy and esoteric interests. There are many considerations a serious collector should keep in mind when deciding on a bookshelf, including design, type of wood, stain, and location.

Design – The design you choose will reflect your personality and the relationship you have with your library or your collection. For antiques and collectibles, bookcases with glass doors are a great way to display your prized possessions without leaving them exposed. Antiquarian book collectors may also want to take advantage of glass doors combined with a higher number of shelves in order to preserve the condition of their library. If you’re more practically minded and want a place to store books you frequently consult, consider a sleeker design that fits well in offices. Consult our full catalogue of bookshelves to decide which one will work best for you.

Wood – The type of wood you choose depends on how you plan to use the shelves and how much weight they are going to bear. With a Woodcraft bookshelf, you can choose from five different types: maple, wormy maple, pine, oak, and cherry. Pine is typically a more affordable material that works well with many different stains, but it is not advisable if you plan on storing heavy books. It’s a pliable material that will bend under enough stress, and you can also dent it if you are not careful. Oak is a better option for the collector who is mad about his library or keeps complete collections of heavy encyclopedias. Cherry is another popular option for those who are interested in creating an elegant display case, because of the way it ages. Because its colour naturally darkens over time toward a warm brown or red, some prefer not to stain cherry at all, but let it evolve over time. It’s a highly sought-after material among antique collectors because there is no way to truly fabricate the effects of time on cherry.

Stain – We offer a wide range of stains at Woodcraft for you to select from, and much of it relies on your personal taste, as well as the prevailing colours of the room. If you want to create a clean, austere look, a white or grey stain can create a neutral effect that leaves the focus on the books themselves. Red or Brazilian cherry stains give a feeling of warmth to a room, while lighter shades of brown can be used to complement rustic atmospheres. You could also use espresso or ebony black for a professional effect in your office or your study at home.

Location – Finally, decide on the ideal location for your shelves: typically, you can find a bookcase in an office, study, living room, or bedroom, depending on whether they’re used for display, personal and private use, or for work. There are a number of tips for displaying books themselves that can enhance their aesthetic value in your home, as well. Wherever your place your bookcase, make sure you get a custom case that fits your taste and fills you with pride every time you go to consult your collection. The team at Woodcraft can help you find it.


Custom vs. Big Box Furniture

When Woodcraft Furniture was first founded, its reason for being was to make beautiful, handcrafted pieces that would quickly earn a place in their owners’ hearts. That hasn’t changed since the 1970s, and it’s why we remain committed to providing handcrafted, solid wood furniture for your dining room, bedroom, office or study, and living room. We believe that we offer a better product than big box furniture stores, and we can provide it because we care about you, your home, and your personal tastes.

Wood furniture is not just durable and long lasting, it also never goes out of style, and our designs avoid “trendy” traps like fashionable colours that are destined to become tomorrow’s fashion faux-pas. We use enduring, classic finishes for all of our pieces, and we let you decide the combination of material and finish that will fit your home and give you the most satisfaction out of your purchase.

Made to Fit

Custom furniture makers take into account the dimensions and shape of the room where the piece will be. For example, all of the dining tables available from Woodcraft can be made to fit the size and dimensions of your dining room. Our tables fit both smaller, square rooms and longer, elegant dining halls for households that love to host dinner parties or have the entire family over for the holidays. Custom makers can also fit their pieces to irregularities in your home or office, such as odd corners, rounded walls, or even sloping ceilings in finished attics. Often these irregularities leave rooms with void and useless spaces that could otherwise be completed with a desk, sofa, bed, or bookshelf.

Choose Your Wood

Whether you are building your dream centrepiece, completely to your personal requirements, or using a catalogue design, the choice of wood should be yours. While your options differ between pieces, you can generally choose between:

  • Pine (a softwood), very easily cut and stained
  • Oak, a reliable and sturdy material that will hold up to more wear and tear than pine
  • Maple, a hardwood like oak that is very durable and also available as “wormy maple,” with more texture and naturally-formed knots that add an element of patterning to the surface
  • Cherry, which can be stained to offset the changes to its colour that occurs naturally over time, or left on its own, which results in a deep, rich reddish-brown hue

Choose Your Finish

Once you’ve selected the materials with which you would like to make your piece, it’s time to select your finish according to the colour scheme and atmosphere of your room. Our team is happy to help you select a colour and finish if you need guidance, just ask for our help or visit any of our retail locations across the GTA.

Your Taste, Your Personality

When it comes to custom built tables in Toronto, Woodcraft puts in the design, craft, and care it takes to make the piece that will match your home. Get in touch with us and request a quote for your special project. Big box furniture stores just can’t provide the same attention to detail or meet your personal taste the way a custom furniture maker can.

Make Your Office Your Own with a Handcrafted Desk - Featured

Make Your Office Your Own with a Handcrafted Desk

If you’re outfitting your home or workplace office, don’t underestimate the importance of your desk. It’s the place where you spend hours every day, and it can become your best friend if you take the steps now to find one that you will love. At Woodcraft, we don’t just recommend a handcrafted, custom desk because we’ve been building them for over 40 years; we also understand that your workspace should reflect your habits and your personality.

The three most important factors you should keep in mind when you are choosing a desk are shape, storage space, and style. When it comes to quality, there is no competing with handcrafted wood furniture, and going custom gives you the freedom to choose the wood and colour to match your bookshelves or other interior decorations. When it comes to shape, storage, and style, choose your options based on how you work.

Shape – Do you require multiple computer screens to work effectively? You may want an L-shaped design that allows you to pivot from one screen to another. A traditional rectangular design works for most, but you will also want to consider height for ergonomics. You should also be able to choose between features such as a keyboard pull out vs. a centre drawer. These are all facets unique to your own work habits; make sure you have the desk that works for you.

Storage – Save yourself hours of lost productivity by staying on top of clutter. As soon as that stack of papers starts to pile up next to your computer, take the time to sort it out. A disorganized workspace creates distractions since clutter competes for your attention. It can be difficult to concentrate on the task at hand if you keep a pile of papers and forms that you need to deal with next to your computer. It’s like having your To-Do List hang over your head all day, reminding you of all the other tasks that you have to complete. Make sure you have enough drawers, and drawers that are the right size and depth, to meet your organizational needs.

Style – All of the desks we offer at Woodcraft come with a variety of wood and colour options for you to choose from. For example, our Downton Executive model is available in maple, pine, oak, and vintage cherry, with your choice of colours ranging from a light white stain to gunstock walnut or ebony. Select your colours based on the other pieces in your office, whether they’re bookshelves or cabinets. We also have a wide range of desks to choose from, whether you’re looking for a contemporary style or a simpler student-style option.

We take your office seriously at Woodcraft, which is why we also offer full suite collections that include cabinets and shelves. While you can choose between our standard styles, we also create totally custom pieces that will fit your personalized needs and inspirations. Get in touch with us if there’s a piece you’ve always dreamed of having, but could never find at the store.

How to Care for Wood Furniture

Wood furniture is a generational investment: the dining table that’s been in the family for almost a century, the desk that passes from grandparents to children when they first move out for school, the china cabinet that gets handed down from mother to daughter over the years. Properly caring for a piece will ensure that it lasts long after you have handed it down to your children and on. That’s why we here at Woodcraft wanted to put together a few tips for people considering a new dining table, desk, or cabinet.

The First Month

After you first bring home your custom wood piece, you still have to give it time for the finish to cure. Do not use any water or solvents on the piece during this initial period, and avoid placing hot or cold objects on it (such as a coffee mug or casserole dish just out of the oven). Also during this initial period, open any drawers or doors that belong to the piece for one hour each day. Exposing the interior to air every day will allow the finish inside drawers and storage space to cure properly.

General Maintenance Tips

For everyday care, follow these useful tips:

  • To clean it, use warm water with a cloth. Once the finish has cured, the water will not damage your furniture, but do not let it soak. Afterwards, dry off any moisture still left lingering with a dry cloth.
  • You can dust the piece, and we recommend you do so frequently, with a soft, dry cloth. Follow the pattern of the grain as you do so to avoid abrasion.
  • Avoid using wax or polishes that contain silicone – modern finishes do not need these products. It’s sufficient to dust cabinets and tables, and clean them with warm water only when dirt has accumulated.
  • Keep your piece away from vents, baseboards, and radiators, as the dry heat can shrink wood and cause it to crack. Read more about preventing dryness during the winter below.

Seasonal Care

Don’t let the piece come into direct contact with sunlight, especially during the summer. Keep drapes or blinds closed throughout the day. In the summer heat, the temperature of direct sunlight can become extremely warm, and it will cook the finish. During the winter, use a humidifier to control the humidity; the ideal level of humidity is 40-45% for both furniture and people.

Refinishing Services at Woodcraft

Over time, nicks and scratches in the finish are inevitable. We don’t just build furniture at Woodcraft, we also refinish it with an unrivalled attention to detail. We can eliminate scratches and gouges, as well discolouration, in addition to mending minor problems like loose joints. Is your antique heirloom starting to look a little outdated in your contemporary home? We offer plenty of finishes that bring your antique up to date so that it stays cohesive with the rest of your home. We strip old finish by hand, not in tanks, thereby preserving joints and veneers, and keeping the wood from drying out. We pay close attention to every job – we can even preserve those storied scratches you’ve told so many stories about. While you want your furniture to stay beautiful, it’s normal for things to get damaged, and sometimes it’s just not worth erasing a good memory or a mark of family history. Just send us a picture of your piece and details about what you want, and we’ll get back to you right away with a quote.

Choosing a Type of Wood for Your Dining Table

You’ve decided to invest in a custom made wooden dining table – something that will last for years, if not generations, that will anchor your dining room’s decor and act as a showcase in your home. Wood is an elegant and timeless material that can be shaped and finished according to today’s trendsetting designs. At Woodcraft, we offer a wide variety of standard designs for dining tables that you can customize by wood, colour, texture, and size. It can be a lot to choose from, especially if you’re not sure where to start. We suggest that you begin by deciding the type of wood you would like to use, and we’ve put together this quick guide to help you make up your mind.

Cherry – Cherry is remarkable for the quality of its colours and grains, and it polishes very well. The colour is known to darken over time, and while some people count this as a fault, any good craftsman will take this change into consideration from the beginning. Plenty of people covet cherry for its ever richer colour, year after year. Although the colour changes, it is largely unaffected by seasonal changes thanks to its pores and straight grain.

Oak – Oak is an incredibly durable material that resists warping. Oak is relatively affordable in North America, and it’s a favourite for Woodcraft tables because it’s a sturdy hardwood. It’s particularly grainy, and the patterns depend on the species. Whereas red oak’s grain has a swirling pattern, white oak has a striped pattern. White oak is particularly resistant to water damage, which is why it was a popular choice for boats and whiskey barrels.

Maple – Another hardwood, maple has a white, creamy colour. It is particularly hardy, and it’s frequently used in dressers and cabinets. You won’t have to worry about denting a maple dining room table. Maple goes particularly well with darker stains and can be made to look like cherry. It also darkens with exposure to sunlight, so be aware of how you place it in relation to windows.

Wormy Maple – This is a softer type of maple that hosts the Ambrosia beetles (hence why it is sometimes called Ambrosia maple). In the past, it was often considered a “discount” material because of the discolouration and holes made by the beetles, but today it’s highly sought after because of its design appeal.

Pine – The downside to pine is that it is a softwood lumber, and therefore very susceptible to dents, and you will have to treat it gently (i.e., keep Halloween pumpkin carving on the kitchen counter). It’s straight grained and naturally white or tinged with yellow, while the knots are brown. It works wonderfully for creating a farmhouse look in your home, as it has a naturally rustic feel to it.

Most of our dining tables at Woodcraft are available in several of these woods, and we encourage you to explore how each will look with different colour combinations. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have further questions finding the right materials for your needs.