Our History & Vision
Mike Benner was trained in classic, 18th & 19th century furniture reproduction by one of the foremost cabinet and furniture makers in the United States. After years of study, Mike established Benner ‘s Woodworking in Lebanon, Ohio, providing custom furniture utilizing techniques accumulated by designing and building thousands of museum quality pieces of furniture and custom cabinets.
Benner craftsmen carefully build and finish fine, hand-made furniture for your home or office. Our vision is simple: The use of top quality hardwood lumber, modern tools and equipment combined with traditional joinery techniques guarantee the integrity of each piece of Benner furniture for life.
The Building Process
Sorting the Boards
Boards are sorted for color, grain and width before being cut to rough length. The best are separated out and marked for drawer fronts and table tops, side panels and other visable componets.
Skill and experience is required on the part of the craftsman to “read” the boards, and predict the picture that will be created when they are placed together in the finished piece. A good eye will lend balance to the piece, while a poor grain match will cause a distorted and potentially mis-matched look.
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Once the boards have been cut to rough length, they are brought from the lumber room to the main shop where they are milled to their final dimensions. Again, great care must be taken to maximize yield and to ensure that the components are dimensionally accurate. Any errors at this juncture would be compounded later and cause problems with fit during assembly.
We use traditional joints to build our furniture because they continue to provide the strongest way to hold two pieces of wood together.
The main joint employed in all our furniture is the mortise and tenon. With the aid of modern adhesives it provides excellent strength. The main application for this joint is where two components meet at right angles, typically at the junction of a rail and a leg.
For drawer construction we use traditional dovetails to join solid maple drawer components. Accurately cut dovetails are extremely strong, and when the drawer is opened, our owners enjoy seeing a perfect row of dovetails down the front edge.
This is where all the effort involved in marking and tracking individual components really pays off. It is always exciting to see matched legs, panels and drawer fronts finally come together to create symmetry in the finished piece. Although many of our designs are now standardized, each piece of furniture is unique by the individual nature of the wood that it is made from.
Once the furniture is built, it is placed in a dust-free environment where it is finished and prepared for shipment.
Finishing provides the necessary surface protection against a lifetime of daily use. On another level, finishing allows the wood to reveal its true character.