Kittinger Craftsmen take pride in every piece that they handcraft. To them, furniture-making is an art. Our plant is filled not with laborers, but specialists - carvers, cabinetmakers, wood and veneer experts, finishers, upholsterers and more - who share in the company tradition. In fact, one family has produced five generations of Kittinger craftsman with more than 175 years of combined experience.
Many specialists may play a role in the crafting of a single part. Making a ball and claw leg, for example, is not a simple task. The leg starts out as a solid column of wood. The mill department is responsible for making a rough cut. Following the detailed drawings, a craftsman bandsaws the column into a superficial outline of the piece. Next, the multiple carving machine is used to refine the shape. This machine allows as many as 24 pieces to be worked at the same time.
The individual pieces are then returned to the hands of a craftsman who uses a spindle carver to carefully shave and sculpt the leg into its characteristic curve. Finally, the experienced hands of a master carver adds the finishing touches. Using the same type of tools employed by English craftsmen in the 18th century, this highly skilled specialist routs and carves intricate details along the mahogany surface. Each piece is carved to perfection, but retains the unique character of an object made by hand.
On a table or cabinet that requires delicate Queen Anne scrolls or delicate shell carvings, Kittinger carvers work meticulously on one piece at a time. It may take two full days to carve four sofa or desk legs. But work of this high caliber can only be accomplished by hand. Each arm, leg or finial is a work of art. No machine could duplicate the crisp details produced by the hands of a Kittinger craftsman. Each carver maintains his own set of tools. A craftsman grows accustomed to his tools’ weight, shape and balance. A chisel becomes a veritable extension of the carver who uses it.