History



LodgeCraft bench made furniture has been featured in numerous national magazines for its furniture crafting excellence and success story.

The following is one such feature from Log Home Design Ideas emphasizing our history.

The Seed

LodgeCraft bench made furniture was established in 1988 as Montana Wood Designs by Tom Kincheloe and Dave Clarke in Eureka, Montana.

Kincheloe had just sold his stock in a lumber planing mill and was looking for a way to utilize local wood in a more conservative, value-added way. Having always admired fine furniture, especially the craftsmanship of antiques, Kincheloe felt he would like to explore the possibilities of furniture manufacturing. Clarke was already well established in chainsaw sculpting and had an international reputation for his one-of-a-kind creations. They started designing and crafting large, uniquely individual furnishings, usually displaying some decorative chainsaw art.

The Concept

After about a year, Kincheloe bought Clarke out in order to pursue his dream of producing a high quality line of lodge style furniture which was a blend of traditional furniture craft accented with natural log pieces gathered from the surrounding forests. This furniture was to be a more sophisticated rustic furniture - not log, but well crafted traditionally-made furniture. The log components were to give an artistic, unique look. The line would feature a choice of carved wood wildlife pulls as an alternative to what was commonly available.

Tom Kincheloe: The forester-turned-craftsman Kincheloe has a B.S. degree in forestry and worked as a forester for the U.S. Forest Service for a few years. Although this has proven valuable in some facets of the business, the real motivation behind his designs is an appreciation of fine furniture, nature, and the lodge living lifestyle. What better place to do this but in Montana? He learned production and business skills as a former general manager of his father's plastic manufacturing company and his sawmill and planing mill background.

The Goal

The goal was to establish this line internationally as a resource for those people looking to decorate their primary and vacation homes in an environment that was relaxing and aesthetically compatible with the natural environment. For this reason, the furniture would be called LodgeCraft Bench-made Furniture - LodgeCraft because it would give the clients' homes a lodge feel and be made from Lodgepole-pine wood; and bench-made because each piece is crafted on a work bench one at a time by one or a team of craftspeople.

The Historic Workshop

In 1989, Kincheloe purchased an historic log building of about 10,000 square feet located on three acres sitting on a knoll overlooking the small logging and ranching community of Eureka, Montana, about 40 miles west of Glacier National Park in the northwest part of the state. The building had extraordinarily beautiful log work in the ceiling trusses and was located on the site where the Eureka School House had been located at the turn of the century until it burned to the ground.

The school was relocated and a community hall was built in its place to hold plays, dances, weddings and the like. The construction was funded by WCC post-Depression moneys and various community contributors. Through the years since the building's completion in 1938, other facilities were constructed that eventually took the place of the community hall.

In 1988, the building was not being used and rain and snow melt were finding their way through the rapidly deteriorating wood-shingle roof and warping the hardwood floor beneath. Though efforts were made by volunteers to resurrect its use, the community people would not support a tax referendum to continue its maintenance.

The Reality

The timing of these events coincided with Kincheloe's plans to begin manufacturing furniture, so when his wife Patty (at the time an elementary teacher) came home from a school board meeting and told Tom that the board was discussing option for use or sale of the property, he made a proposal to lease with an option to buy, which is what happened within six months.

It turned out to be the perfect location to base the company as the aesthetics of the furniture and the building were totally compatible. Nine years later, Montana Wood Designs had evolved into a well-established producer of the totally original LodgeCraft line of home furnishing.

On October 1, 1997, LodgeCraft premiered a second line of furnishings, christened LodgeCraft's Own Montana Renaissance. Kincheloe felt that dovetailing the corner joints would represent the traditional quality that his customers associate with LodgeCraft furniture. It also provides an aesthetically pleasing look to the Montana Renaissance line which took two years to design and develop.

Today

LodgeCraft Furniture continues to thrive, producing high-quality, wood furnishings for customers around the world. We are locationed in NW Montana, at our manufacturing and showroom facility in Somers, Montana.

Showroom Address: 815 MT Hwy 82, Somers, MT 59932