Karges carefully crafts our exquisite masterpieces especially for you in our Grand Rapids, Michigan facility. It is more of a work studio than a factory. We do not do mass production and we do not make a product until you order it. Karges artisans are committed to let every chair, desk, table, bed, chest, sofa, and side piece emerge with integrity and handcraftsmanship and be its own unique piece. You may register your piece with us at Karges as with any piece of fine art.
Fluted and spiral dowel construction, spline and tenon techniques are how we assemble products and have been for over 300 years of fine furniture building. That is the collective age of all our brands. The luxury of modern machines, such as CNC, and duplicate carvers, allow for a safer process for our artisans, yet they do not replace the beauty our artisans’ hands add each day to our pieces. While we do marry new techniques and superior process, there is not a piece we make that does not include considerable hand work from our crafts men and women. No machine can duplicate the beauty of hand carving. Undercuts, deep scoops, chisel marks and other details are created by the carver’s skilled use of traditional chisels. Our methods are not the fastest nor the cheapest, but they are the best and define Karges as one of the last great American furniture companies.
Customers value our world-famous finish as our most unique feature. Our process is complex and requires over thirty steps with the final detail being hand rubbing, a step that creates a luxurious depth of finish and tactile feel, second to none. Wood’s inherent beauty can be lost in mass production. When each piece is crafted individually, a skilled finisher can accentuate grain pattern with glaze or padding, giving full play to qualities unique to the figure of that particular wood. The process of bringing wood to its greatest possible beauty cannot be hurried. Karges has over fifty master finishes to choose from ranging from clear wood stains to artistic painted finishes, metal leaf finishes, and hand painted faux marble finishes. Each of these are uniquely created through hand applications and ensure no two pieces are alike.
From our top-grade lumber and exotic veneers to our finishing materials and fine Italian brasses and hardware, Karges selects only the finest materials to go into each piece we make. We have a sense of responsibility to our artisans, our community, the generations of Karges family before us, our designers and dealer network, our customers, our country, and our world. Materials harvested from our earth have been our companion and our resource for over a century. We honor that and we wish to leave a positive imprint on our world.
In 1886, Albert F. Karges, a first-generation immigrant, invested $600 to begin making moderately priced, American-style furniture out of local hardwoods in Evansville, Indiana. Karges was one of more than forty furniture companies in the area at this time. After WWI, Albert’s son, Edwin Karges Sr., an artist at heart, joined the company. After traveling Europe, Mr. "K" convinced his father to try some of the unique and traditional designs of European furniture. Because of Edwin Sr.’s designs, Karges Furniture pulled away from the pack with elaborate, carved case pieces and was set on the path to becoming the company it is today.
Edwin Sr.’s son, Edwin Karges Jr., “Eddie” as he was known, graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in wood technology. Eddie developed a finishing process that was second to none. The Karges finish still sets Karges apart and is well known in the furniture industry as being unique, artistic and full of depth and dimension. In the early 1970’s Eddie’s daughter Joan Karges Rogier brought a true understanding and appreciation of craftsmanship to the company. She was committed to preserving and growing the knowledge bequeathed to her by her predecessors. Joan continues to lend guidance and knowledge to the company. Joan’s daughter, Gretchen Rogier Keith, now the 5th generation of the Karges Furniture family, inherited the experience and passion of her family business. Gretchen is an integral part of the company today and oversees the Karges brand for Kindel Grand Rapids.
In 2014 Karges joined the Kindel Grand Rapids family. All operations were moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where the practices of bench made furniture continue. The partnership brought together two family owned companies, each with over a century of experience, shared values in hand craftsmanship and superior execution. Karges is meticulously hand crafted by the skilled, passionate artisans of Grand Rapids who remain dedicated to the mission upon which Karges Furniture was founded.