David Stine is an accomplished man. He was raised on a 4th generation, self-sustaining dairy farm. They grew their own crops, butchered their own meat and built their own furniture. Stine then worked his way through law school at George Washington University. However, after practicing law for a bit, he decided it was time to head back to the farm. As Stine puts it, “There wasn't really an epiphany moment for me. After graduating and a year of practicing, I just realized that it wasn't for me, so I took off on my own and officially started David Stine Furniture back in 1997.”
More than 20 years later, David Stine Furniture is still in Jersey County working to handcraft beautifully simple and sustainable, custom furniture out of Illinois' finest timber. Stine's company focuses solely on “big flat surfaces” meaning tables, desks, headboards, benches and more. They do this to let the material itself be the focal point. Stine explains, “I try to celebrate that material rather than twisting the piece of wood into any sort of shape. I find it much more interesting and challenging to just let the wood be what it wants to be.”
His respect for the trees that they use doesn't end there. In fact, the trees they cut down are all sourced from his family farm, and they take great care of them. They never cut down live trees, only harvesting what's either dead or encroaching on the family's farmland. Stine continues, “We really just let the trees grow. We don't worry about trying to maximize our yields and to log every ten years. It's a totally sustainable system where we let the forest do what it wants and we harvest what we need.”
From there it's just a matter of finding the right wood for the right client. Stine works with both residential customers and commercial clients to find the piece that's right for their needs, whether it be a coffee table that ties the family room together or a conference table that makes a big statement. It's something he takes pride in and that his clients notice. Stine goes on, “I feel that our customers really respond well to the fact that they get truly personal service. What I do isn't like a commodity. It's a piece of their home. It's the opportunity to really participate that I think keeps people coming back.”
For Stine, exceeding his customers' expectations is incredibly gratifying, but if you ask what the most rewarding part of the job is, he'll tell you that it's simply just getting to do what he loves every day. Stine explains, “You know, I do enjoy meeting or especially exceeding my customers’ expectations and just allowing people to realize that they can have a super custom piece of furniture. But I think at the end of the day, my favorite part of my work is the fact that I get to be involved in every aspect of this work, from selecting and harvesting the trees to building and delivery. It really keeps me engaged, and I never get bored.”
To see more of the amazing pieces of furniture that David Stine creates or to get started on finding a work of art of your own, visit his website at StineWoodworking.com or on Instagram.