Not only have we been working with wood in some capacity for our entire lives, many of us learned the skill from past generations. We also live in a community of craftsmen, with whom we can compare techniques and experiences. We don’t just make your furniture because we need a job. We make furniture for you because this is what we love to do.
Our shop is in rural Missouri, not far from a well-known Missouri State Park, Bennett Springs, famous for its trout fishing. We encourage you to visit both our shop, where your furniture is made, as well as our new showroom next door. We may be a bit out of the way, but the quality, durability, and one-of-a-kind nature of our creations is what brings people to us. Plan a visit, stay for a totally home-cooked lunch, view local quilts, and buy some fresh produce along the way. There are no Sunday sales in the area, but guests are welcome any other day! We are located on Highway E, just down the road from Tunas, Missouri. If you get confused, just stop and ask any other business in the area that you’ve driven by; we truly are a community here.
Imagine buying a piece of furniture that looked and felt exactly how you imagined it should. Now imagine that everything happening before and after your furniture was made was as appealing as what you saw in front of you — that the people who made your chair or table actually touched every step of the process. Sounds fantastic in this age of huge overseas containers of products coming from other countries on barges, but just imagine that it doesn’t always have to be that way.
First, there’s the trip to the local sawmill. We use logs custom cut to our specifications and personally examine each item before it is purchased. Or, we might choose timber from locally-owned forests. Our Quality Control Board isn’t a bunch of guys we put a hard hat on and gave a clipboard to: these are people who grew up surrounded by forests. When they sit down for a lunch break, they talk about annual rainfall and wood-boring beetles. The same folks who load the wood into the truck and haul it to Niangua Furniture’s Shop, are probably the same ones who tenderly pack it up for shipping to you. Of course they will treat it right: They made it.
Our shop has four different kilns (fellow craftsmen please see the description below) because we understand that oak wasn’t created to be treated like cedar and that no wood acts exactly like hickory during the drying process. Instead, we give each wood the utmost respect it deserves. In return for that respect, your furniture will last for generations.
What about waste? Current estimates show a huge 70% waste factor for products produced in mainstream society. We don’t just dump the sawdust into the landfill — it’s used in stables. It’s used for compost. And the scraps of wood we simply can’t make anything out of? We use those in a wood-burning device that helps heat the shop.
This is how we live and work, and we aren’t planning on changing the way we do things. Perhaps these scenes appeal to you.
And if they do, welcome to Niangua Furniture.
We have several kilns, each suited to different species of timber and thicknesses. For instance 3 inch thick hardwoods like walnut (plentiful in our area) are best dried in our vacuum kiln, which works more efficiently than other kilns since the water evaporates at a much lower temperature (starting at about 115 degrees F) when a vacuum is present. We also have a 4,000 board foot dehumidification kiln and two traditional cycle-venting kilns.
After drying, we bring the lumber to the proper dimensions, but for the key boards used for most of our distinctive furniture, the live edge of the tree (minus the bark) is preserved throughout the process. This is something that the mass producers of furniture just can’t do. It does not scale well into a large, high-volume operation.
Our bark-on feature, also seen in many of our products, requires another unique treatment. The most significant part of this process is that while our customers gladly stay nestled under their quilts a bit longer on those really cold mornings, we are out harvesting trees to use for our bark-on process. We know that if the trees are harvested at other times during the year, the bark-on look will eventually become bark-off. We wouldn’t want this to happen to our own furniture, so we aren’t going to let it happen to yours.
Interested in more about our construction techniques? Come see us.