Tom Dumke and I, Linda, Tom's wife, are the people behind the scenes at Thomas William Furniture. Tom is the artist who selects the lumber and then crafts some of the most amazing furniture you have ever seen. I am the artist who handles all other business details, including marketing, bookkeeping, customer follow-up, taxes, scheduling art shows and dozens of miscellaneous business functions that appear in running any business office.
Tom grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and learned a solid work ethic from his father, a Controller for Delco Electronics. From Tom's earliest years, he was always curious about how things worked and how things were constructed. Tom developed an appreciation for the careful and precise use of tools, by examining how things were made.
In High School, Tom's detail-focused approach helped him to excel in gymnastics, which demands a careful, precise delivery to do well. Tom participated in the 1978 State Gymnastics competition.
He studied architecture at Miami Dade College in Coral Gables, Florida. Circumstances caused him to return to Milwaukee, where he started working at a small specialty machine shop, where his brother, John, worked.
While working at the machine shop, Tom and I met, and later, married. We purchased a distressed older home and slowly refurbished it, room by room. I had my eye on a bedroom furniture set, and we went to the store to purchase the bedroom set. As Tom examined the furniture, he said to himself and out loud, "I can make this. I can make this better - a lot better."
Tom spent twenty-five years of his career as a CNC machinist. During this time, Tom noticed he could make much better furniture than he saw in any store. He began to study Fine Woodworking, using various trade publications, periodicals, historical furniture schematics and plans. That is when he began to closely examine pieces and really think about the designs and intentions of the 19th century craftsman. In 1996, Tom turned his woodworking hobby into a career, as the Thomas William Furniture Company was open for business.
Tom credits the company's success to his partnership with me. Throughout our marriage, we have continued to pursue our love of making wood furniture. At first, we supplemented our income by building special furniture pieces for friends and family.
In 2003, Tom retired from the machinist industry so that he could pursue his true calling; a furniture master craftsman. Tom designs and builds great furniture while I assist and manage the business.
We have expanded the business beyond side jobs. Tom distributes his furniture through art shows, interior designers, the internet, commission, sales and return business from happy customers.
Tom has since exhibited his furniture throughout the United States, received numerous awards and completed several commissions. Tom's furniture pieces are widely collected.
What began as a woodworking experiment really appealed to Tom's careful, precise nature. Tom discovered that he really enjoyed building quality furniture. Tom's talent and woodworking skills have grown into a business with many happy residential, professional and academic customers. We invite you to be one of our happy customers.