A Walk in the Woods

“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” Henry David Thoreau 

Henry David Thoreau has left us with many memorable quotes including this one that suggests we look a little more carefully at the things that surround us. Can you imagine “a walk in the woods” every time you sit down at the dining table or slip into bed? That is the experience we think you will feel with a solid wood dining table or bed from Gat Creek.

See the beauty of the grain of solid wood from Ash, Maple, Cherry, and Walnut. Feel its strength. Appreciate that while men and women may make beautiful furniture, only God can make a tree.

Gat Creek Furniture is located in Berkley Springs, West Virginia in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, a stone’s throw from Harper’s Ferry, and the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers.

jackson dining table gat creek furniture
jackson dining table gat creek furniture

Furniture making may not be an exclusive American art, but it is one American craftsmen and women have perfected over the centuries since when pioneers fashioned rough-hewn tables and beds from native woods. Today, Appalachian hardwood is prized for its stability, tight and consistent grain, beauty — that woodworkers and homeowners value most. We believe owning a piece of the American forest is in keeping with the spirit of Henry David Thoreau, to “live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach…”

Sunbury bed Gat Creek Furniture
Sunbury bed Gat Creek Furniture

Craftsmanship is a fundamental part of furniture making. To quote Gat Caperton, president of Gat Creek, “Joinery is one of the things that make solid hardwood furniture incomparable. In the old days woodworkers were called joiners for their skill at joining wood together using miters and dovetails and other techniques that withstood wood’s natural expansion and contraction. Craft and workmanship produced joints that lasted decades, or even generations. Look at the joinery of antique hardwood furniture. It’s a thing of beauty.”

 

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Who, what, and where is Gat Creek?

Is the question, who is Gat Creek, where is Gat Creek, or what is Gat Creek?

gat-creek-banner

Who is Gat Creek?

The name behind Gat Creek is Gaston Caperton, Gat to his family and friends.

Where is Gat Creek?

Gat’s story is that growing up in West Virginia, he and his family lived in home in a forested valley surrounded by mountains. Like most kids, Gat and his brother spent their days playing along a nearby creek that wound its way through the valley. Being a year older and bigger and taller than his brother, Gat saw the creek first and proclaimed it his by way of conquest. Gat’s brother protested to his parents, who gave into the fatigue of chasing two boys under the age of five, finally relenting in Gat’s favor,

“Okay, it’s Gat’s Creek.”

The name stuck and now appears on maps, along with a road of the same name.

What is Gat Creek?

Almost 30 years later, Gat Caperton fell in love with a local furniture company in Berkley Springs that built antique reproductions using local craftsmen and women as well as Mennonites and Amish workers from Pennsylvania and Ohio. The company was Tom Seely.

Gat was interested both because it was a local West Virginia company and because Gat was in love with the idea of designing furniture. A background in business and finance helped seal the deal.

“I am fascinated by people who buy troubled businesses, then fix them and make them profitable,” Gat would later say.

He bought the company and eventually gave it the name it now proudly carries. Twenty years later, Gat Creek is still American made, using solid wood cherry, maple, and ash. And now sells through a network of 200 national retailers from coast to coast.

One of these retailers is Tradition Home. We are proud to say that we were the first Tom Seely and Gat Creek retailer west of the Mississippi, having earned our spurs working with May and Bud Ledtke at Village Antiques in Vienna, Virginia.

* Footnote

It is interesting to say that during World War II, Tom Seely served with the Flying Tigers in Kunming, China; and Bud Ledtke was a B-17 pilot with the Eighth Air Force flying out of England, where he met his future wife, May, who work alongside General Curtis LeMay.

Gat Caperton is named for his father Gaston Caperton, two time governor of the state of West Virginia. The unusual last name traces its origins back to Lincolnshire, England and before that to the bailiwick of Caux in Normandy, France. It is said that the Caperton family was descended from Le Cappere of Ayncourt (Aincourt), and was granted lands by William the Conqueror, their liege Lord, for their prowess at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.