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Dining Furniture: A Conversation with a Local Craftsman

08 Nov 2018

After visiting another of our local vendors, we continue to be impressed by the attention and care that our partners put into every aspect of furniture making.


We visited the Saloom factory in Winchendon, MA, a few stepping stones away from its original location in Gardner. Gardner was and remains to be to known for its hustling and bustling furniture community. A sense of history and pride runs through their business as they're essentially the last factory standing in what used to be a hub of furniture making in Massachusetts.


Who is Saloom?


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As for why Saloom makes furniture: it wasn't happenstance. The owner, Peter is, in his own words, "deep into the craft of making furniture." And they've been making it, specifically dining furniture, for 35 years.


"We're a dining furniture specialist with customizable pieces that vary in style from traditional to radical contemporary."


Saloom uses solid maple exclusively, which comes from robust maple forests in New England. Maple is not only ecologically sound, but it's also the perfect wood for dining furniture because it's a hardwood, has a smooth surface, and it finishes well.


Additionally, Saloom takes sustainability seriously and is happy to source from flourishing forests that are actually bigger than they were 50 years ago.


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Like Circle, Saloom is a family business. Peter collaborates on a daily basis with his wife, Linda and his son, Peter Jr. We formed a long-standing relationship and partnership with them over 40 years ago. "Working with Circle has been great because of our close proximity and because we're able to get invaluable direct feedback from the stores and customers," shares Peter. "We also find that Circle is always informed about what the consumer is thinking."


Read more: Why is Wood Furniture So Expensive? A Detailed Breakdown


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Quality Culture


When it comes to quality control, Peter describes, "We don't have one person that's considered a quality inspector. Instead, we have a "Quality Culture." From the climate control room where color grading happens to the finishing room where sealer is applied, every craftsperson carefully considers quality.


While every step of the construction process has human hands behind it, Saloom uses high technology systems to keep up with the ever-growing furniture industry. Innovation is incredibly important to them and they have a dedicated space in the factory to experiment and create new designs. Peter Jr. describes, "A lot of companies will do this with a computer, but we love the hands-on process."


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Every process, from designing a dining chair to upholstering the seat, is done by hand. Peter Jr. explains, "Upholstery is labor intensive. It's a trade, it's not something anyone can do."


Saloom offers a wide range of colors and finishes, from rustic and raw to glossy and black. Peter Jr. showed us one of his favorite finishes, a transparent, modern gray tone that showed the integrity and natural qualities of the wood. The dining table looked both rustic and modern. "We're woodworkers and we like the way wood looks," he explained.


Read more: Homeowner's Guide to Natural Wood in Furniture


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Final Thoughts


Taking a tour of the Saloom factory gave us an in-depth look into the journey of furniture making from concept to finished product. Every stage takes time and precise technique. For this family, it's a labor of love and a passion project that turned into a thriving business.


Come into a showroom and talk to a designer about our locally made, hardwood furniture. While quality construction may be hidden in the details, our designers can walk you through the processes and construction techniques that make our furniture stand out.


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Author: Guest Author