Shaker Furniture Business Blossoms in Walton
“A particular chair, a table we like to sit at, a cabinet whose proportions have always pleased us – certain pieces of furniture, congenial to our eye or our touch, have a way of becoming part of us.” To the casual observer, furniture may not appear as romantic as John Verdon – owner and master woodworker at Mountain Cherry LLC in Walton, NY – poetically describes on his web site www.mountaincherry.com. However, one will certainly appreciate the passion for creating fine cherry furniture and the attention to detail displayed in Verdon’s craftsmanship.
Ten years ago, Verdon left a career in advertising and subsequently moved from his northern New Jersey residence to western Delaware County where he developed into a skilled Shaker furniture builder. His commitment to good design, quality construction, and customer satisfaction is evident in the pieces he creates. In fact, every piece of furniture he builds and sells was originally designed with his own home in mind. “If we don’t love it ourselves,” Verdon adds, “we don’t offer it to anyone else.”
Establishing a woodworking studio in the Catskills was a dream realized for Verdon with support from the Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC) and USDA Forest Service’s Forestry Grants Initiative. Prior to his award, Verdon relied on word-of-mouth referrals and the occasional local advertisement to attract business. With WAC’s support, Mountain Cherry LLC developed more than a dozen new furniture prototypes, photographed them and launched a new online showcase. Furthermore, Verdon consulted renowned Catskill woodworker Paul LaPierre of Mountain Sun Workshop in Hunter – a fellow WAC grant recipient – to learn about upgrading his shop’s tools and marketing to a wider audience. He says, “The connections I make with other woodworkers in the Catskills through WAC have really helped me in choosing the right tools for my shop.”
Verdon sees beauty in the natural character that a tree develops throughout its life in the Catskill forest and selects strongly grained hardwood because it produces a more desirable finished product. Using a simple, hand-applied finish of tung-oil and beeswax, he is able to emphasize the eye-catching grain patterns inherent in the boards he chooses. For that, Mountain Cherry fills a niche within the furniture market that relies on sustainably harvested and locally milled wood abundant in the Catskill Region. Verdon hand selects his cherry boards from area lumber outlets like Quality Hardwoods in Sidney, NY and Wightman Specialty Woods in Portlandville, NY. He also has built several pieces from the black cherry and maple selectively harvested (and air-dried) from his own property, a Certified Tree Farm with the American Forest Foundation. Through his participation in the American Tree Farm System, Verdon’s woodlands will continue to produce healthy, high quality trees for timber, while protecting water quality, creating wildlife habitat, and providing a peaceful mountain refuge for his family for years to come.
To view the company’s online catalog, place an order, or receive more information about Mountain Cherry Furniture LLC, please visit www.mountaincherry.com. Directories of local sawmills, lumber outlets, and woodworkers in the Catskill Region are available by contacting Collin Miller, Forestry Program Specialist at the Watershed Agricultural Council at (607) 865-7790 or [email protected].