Thomas William Furniture is located in Southeastern Wisconsin, between Madison and Milwaukee in a town most people have a hard time saying, Oconomowoc. The shop is 900' feet and houses one furniture maker, Tom Dumke. Tom's commute to work is a short one, 50 feet. He starts his day at 6:00 a.m. and continues through until 5:00 p.m. six days a week, Sunday is his day off.
We built the shop and our home in 2001. The design of the shop complimentary with the design of our home. I remember our neighbors thinking it was a mother-in-law suite when we first built. The shop was the first to go up as building the shop first allowed us to do a lot of our own work on our home.
In January 2003, Tom expressed to me he wanted to quit his CNC machining job and go full-time with his woodworking business. Knowing the talent and gift he had been given, I knew that he was to go full-time. . .but not just yet. Tom's first day full-time was June 1, 2003.
Tom has dedicated much of his life to mastering traditional woodworking methods. He creates carefully hand-crafted furniture from a selection of superior hardwoods. He evaluates the wood for grain-pattern, texture, density, balance and color, with the trained eye of a master craftsman and the heart of a true artist. Careful attention to detail ensures a superior product that will grace your home with a simple and lasting beauty.
Our shop and home are on 2.2 acres which gives us room to breath. Our neighbor, Val, had already planted a prairie around her home and had a good start on it. We thought about it and saw the beauty of the prairie, wild flowers indigenous to Wisconsin, we decided to do the same. It took about three years to prepare and after 13 years, we have an acre of wild flowers that surrounds our shop and home.
A good supply of lumber is important and all the boards that Tom purchases he hand picks for each piece of furniture. He creates carefully hand-crafted furniture from a selection of superior hardwoods. He evaluates the wood for grain-pattern, texture, density, balance and color.
Our mission is to build fine, quality furniture that celebrates the natural beauty of wood with a graceful, modern or traditional design, and is a joy to own.
Tom's work is influenced with a deep respect for the furniture craftsmen of the 17th and 18th centuries. Their knowledge of form, balance, joinery and of wood movement is evident in the pieces of fine furniture that still exist today. He relies on shared expertise of those craftsmen from long ago and those of today, who continue to up hold a quality of excellence in creating traditional fine furniture of heirloom distinction. He unashamedly admits that the traditional masters of his medium, such as Thomas Moser, Garrett Hack and Chris Beckvoort influenced him.
He uses only solid hardwoods throughout each piece, always reading each board’s grain pattern and figure to determine its best use in creating an attractive and functional piece of quality furniture. The Shakers have had a profound influence on Tom's work: their clean unadorned simplicity, functionalism and craftsmanship. Whether building an exact reproduction or drawing inspiration for my own designs, he keeps the basic Shaker tenets in mind.
Every piece is built by Tom. His aim has been, and continues to be, to create the highest quality individually built furniture to suit your specific needs. Toward that end, he uses the best wood available and time honored joinery techniques. When you invest in Tom's furniture, you get the benefit of over three decades of experience in joinery, wood technology, restoration, design, technical perfection, and meticulous craftsmanship.
Certainly his prices can't compete with mass produced, factory-made furniture. Production shops deal with the average needs of the average consumer. He constructs each piece individually, taking as much time as he needs to achieve perfection. Upon purchase, he signs and date each piece. Tom's clients value the beauty of solid wood and appreciate things finely constructed. After all these years, Tom still works alone. Each piece is designed, laid out, glued up, sanded, constructed and finished by Tom.
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