The Art of Furniture

Charleston Forge has a long history of hand-building beautiful, high quality, steel, wood, and leather furniture. We have an extensive catalog of products and do a large amount of custom work and have built product for retailers such as Room & Board, Restoration Hardware, Crate & Barrel and Bloomingdales, just to name a few.

The Original Cascade Table

Jeff Greer - Monday, August 01, 2011

Vicki Krueger, right, of West Jefferson, NC is seen with me, Art Barber, company chairman, when Vicki came by our Boone, NC facility last week to pick up the Cascade Drink Table she won during the Facebook competition the we held earlier this year. Vicki received the very first of these tables that we built. The competition asked Facebook fans to suggest names for the new product and to get their friends to “Like” their idea.

Vicki, a kindergarten teacher at Two Rivers Community School in Boone, toured the company’s factory with her husband, Steve, and got to see the manufacturing process up-close from start to finish. During the tour Vicki got to meet Ernie Houser, one of the company’s team of long-serving employees and the artisan who built the prototype that she now owns.

“I am truly thankful for the opportunity to own such a beautiful piece and have the opportunity to win it through the Facebook contest,” said Vicki. “Knowing that my table is from right here in the United States makes it more special to me.”

The hammered steel base of the table is one of the signature looks of Charleston Forge furniture and is similar to the company’s Hudson collection. It is complemented by a unique cast-glass top. The Cascade was introduced at the High Point Furniture Market in April 2011 and has been added to the catalog following a very strong reception from buyers and designers there.

As always, thanks for your interest.

     Art Barber
     Co-Founder & CEO

Press from the Furniture Market

Philip Holman - Thursday, April 07, 2011
Charleston Forge Featured in Furniture Today.

Thank you Furniture Today for writing about the U.S. flag hanging in our High Point showroom. We're re-posting their article about us from their Furniture Market coverage this week. 

You can also read their article on how American-made furniture is a growing category in the furniture market in general on their website at:

Thanks, and we're glad to have you on board FT!

More from the High Point Furniture Market

Philip Holman - Tuesday, April 05, 2011
We thought we'd share some images from our showroom in High Point where we are in the thick of things enjoying this year's furniture market. We hope you like what you see.

Above: A portion of the front room at our High Point Showroom
Below: Just a few of the nearly 40 NEW products we introduced at market this week. 


Charleston Forge Furniture, and Commissioned Jewelry

Philip Holman - Monday, April 04, 2011
High Point Furniture Market - April 2011

              Company president, RIck Grant, right, helps a customer try on a necklace made exclusively for Charleston Forge
by Boone artist, Kim Miller, at the High Point Furniture Market. At left is the "Ellipse" necklace,
part of the line of jewelry commissioned by the company.

We're having a great furniture market. We sold three times as much the day before it opened as we did all last market.  Saturday (opening day) was good too!  The media and customers are loving our Made in America story. More news coming as the show goes on.


P.S. Click here to see Carolina Rustica's thoughts on Charleston Forge.

What A Complement

Philip Holman - Thursday, March 31, 2011

The USS Greiner, on which my father-in-law served during World War II.

To emphasize our determination to manufacture and preserve jobs in America, we are displaying the American flag that flew on the warship that my father-in-law served on during World War II in our High Point showroom.

It reminds us of the sacrifices made by so many Americans who give their lives to protect the privileges we enjoy today. It symbolizes how lucky we are to have the freedom to live, work and play in such a great country. It calls out to all who pass by that our furniture is MADE in AMERICA.

We're passionate about what we make and where we make it and it hurts to see so many jobs lost from this country.  It's not easy being in business here, but then again, business is not easy anywhere!

To compete with the world in our industry, we know that we have to be innovative, fashion focused, passionate, efficient and constantly evolving.  We're actually seeing an increase in orders and have expansion plans, so it's obvious to us that our market likes what we are doing.

We will be showing table tops that an artist makes for us by melting glass and pouring it into molds. We've expanded our Warehouse Collection which features our signature metal frames and tops made with wood reclaimed from shipping pallets. We've added floor to ceiling mirrors (with acid etched mirror) and small upholstered stools to this collection. We made some display trolleys with metal frames and used old pine boards that we got from a Dutch cheese factory as the tops. (Come early, there are only a few available). New transitional and contemporary glass top coffee tables and drink tables by designer John Kolkka are spectacular. We even commissioned a local artist friend of ours to make us a line of jewelry that combines the same elements and techniques that we use in furniture making. Charleston Forge and jewelry, it's a natural!  

It's all simple yet sophisticated, casual but elegant, imperfect but perfect. If that flag could talk, we think it would say, "Well Done!"

Thanks for reading,

     Art Barber
     Co-Founder & CEO

A Selection of Our New Products for Spring 2011



Top Left: The Tangle Pub Table and Counterstool.
Top center: The Warehouse 72" Cocktail Table
Top right: The Cascade Table with cast glass top

Bottom left: The Cheeseboard Display Cart
Bottom right: The High Country Console

Forging Steel

Philip Holman - Thursday, March 24, 2011

Behind the scenes again: One of our Blacksmiths forging a solid 1x2-inch, piece of steel for a custom base.
The table-top that will go on it is a beautiful cross-section of a 34-inch wide parota tree.

Behind the Scenes at Charleston Forge

Philip Holman - Tuesday, March 22, 2011

We thought we'd share some more pictures from our North Carolina workshop. Top left, hand-forging tapered legs for a prototype table. Top right, powdercoating (painting) a steel chair frame. Bottom right, the welding of a custom console being finished up. Bottom left, a blacksmith's sketch and his tools sitting by his workspace. Just more evidence that at Charleston Forge, it's always American Made.


Philip Holman - Thursday, March 10, 2011

My grandfather, of German descent, was a very creative guy. He wasn't an artist, that I know of, but he was always conjuring up something that nobody else had thought of, or if they did they had never acted on the thought.

Back in his day, most homes that were fortunate enough to have some sort of central heating burned coal. The furnace was in the basement so one had to carry the coal in buckets from where the coal delivery truck dumped in the yard to the basement. Pop, as we called him, poked a hole in his basement wall and installed a motorized conveyor system that delivered the coal to a bin right beside his furnace. He never patented the system that he created but he should have.

Sometime back in the late 1940's he made an elaborate Christmas tree stand that would take me too long to explain, just know that he loved having people over to their house to have their picture made by the tree. Honey, my grandmother, held the camera and Pop would always tell his friends (soon to become his victims) to look at the tree and touch it so they didn't look so posed in the picture. The moment they touched the tree, he mashed a button and the tree would fall right into the friend's arms. Honey would always catch the terrified looks on their faces as they thought they had destroyed Pop and Honey's beautiful Christmas tree. We have hundreds and hundreds of pictures of their friends with the funniest looks on their faces. That tree stand still exists but I think the last time my Dad rigged it up in the house I grew up in was over forty years ago. Those of you who remember the TV Show called Candid Camera, they once contacted my Dad to see if they could film it but Dad turned them down. It was our secret to keep until now.

I'm no artist either but I think some of Pop's creative chromosomes worked their way into my life. The beautiful little table that we just gave away reinforces that in my mind. He was always thinking of things to do or make that not everyone else would even dream of. I'm in the furniture business and it's a fashion business so I'm always dreaming of shapes and components and techniques and colors and whatever I can do that not everybody else is doing.

The cast glass top on this little table has been laying around our shop for several years. I knew it was something special because I haven't seen this type of glass used as a table top anywhere in the industry. It's made by pouring molten glass into a mold, causing it to cure with gentle waves and wrinkles and air bubbles. It's not perfect, but it's perfect. It's a slow laborious process and we couldn't introduce it into the market because the source we got this piece from couldn't deliver the quantity we'd need. Finally, we found a glass artist who is able to provide the quantities we need, and like me and Pop, he is creative enough to figure out how to make it work, so here we go.

Congratulations Vicki, you just won something very special. Copies are sure to come, but you have an original. If you take care of it and this story, I'll bet that when the next generation rolls around, some kin of yours will have a very valuable piece of American made furniture from Charleston Forge. Thank you for wanting it so bad and appreciating it so much.

- Art

Behind the Scenes at Charleston Forge

Philip Holman - Monday, March 07, 2011
We've found that people who visit Charleston Forge love it when we take them around our workshop and show them how our furniture is made. From forging the steel frame parts, to welding, to cleaning up, to painting the finished pieces -- it's a fascinating process. Visitors get to watch skilled artisans use very basic elements -- steel and fire -- to make great furniture.

So we are inviting you to come visit us here in the beautiful High Country and see for yourself what goes into making Charleston Forge furniture. Tours are Tuesdays between 9 a.m.and 3 p.m. and you must call ahead to make a reservation. Below left is an image of our powder coating system in operation, below right is one of our welders at work on a baker's rack. For more images from our workshop floor check out our Workshop page on the website
. If you're interested in scheduling a tour give us a call at 828.264.0100. We look forward to seeing you.


Look, Listen, Smell, Feel, Understand...

Philip Holman - Saturday, February 26, 2011
On Friday I drove to High Point, North Carolina, the location of one of the world's largest and longest running furniture exhibitions, to meet with some very talented women. They are helping us set up our showroom for the April furniture market there. Our mission is very simple, make our customers say "Wow"! Riding with me was one of five MBA students from Appalachian State University who are helping us with various projects at Charleston Forge. I knew she would love this day.

I'm a very visual person so they took me to Anthropologie, a very hip women's clothing, accessories and home decor store in Greensboro. They said, "Look, Listen, Smell, Feel, Understand...  DO IT!!

I saw fresh colors, unique layout, and great presentation. I heard good music, energetic music, power but not pounding. I could smell the fresh flowers, and the candles burning, not sweet, just right. I felt the texture of the clothes, the reclaimed wood and the barely finished metal components of floor mirrors and display racks and the yarn that some creative genius arranged to form a display that just made me think, "how simple, how cool"! The result? Smiling customers, happy sales people, busy sales people, and a busy cash register.

On many levels I saw similarities between what we do here at Charleston Forge and the great things going on at Anthropologie - but I learned a great deal too.
Thank you ladies. It was a great day. I get it! LET"S DO IT!

- Art Barber, Chairman/CEO

251 Industrial Park Drive, Boone NC 28607 USA

p. 828.264.0100

f. 828.264.5901