“It’s just like going to a farm in the country. You feel you’re in another world,” says a Cane Farm Furniture customer.
In fact, a visit to Cane Farm Furniture in Rosemont is a trip to the country and to what was once a poultry farm. Owner Phil Cane’s father, Charles Cane, started the chicken farm in 1927. Phil grew up on the farm, and the family lived in a stone farmhouse dating to 1822. The house still stands, and is currently rented to tenants.
In 1965, the family business changed direction, and woodworking became the focus, with an emphasis on early American reproduction and Shaker-style furniture.
“My dad enjoyed building furniture as a hobby, and it grew into a business,” says Phil and Carol Cane’s son Owen, also now an owner, and who works with his father building the furniture.
Situated on 88 acres (50 are farmed) just off Route 519 in Rosemont, the company manufactures and sells furniture, and also rents a number of buildings to other businesses, including the U.S. Post Office.
The workshop is located near the showroom, which features a large selection of the Cane handcrafted furniture as well as lines from other manufacturers. Tables, benches, cabinets, hutches, desks, book cases, and beds are specialties, and much of the work is custom.
“Typical wood for early American furniture is pine,” explains Owen Cane, “and we also use cherry and walnut as well, especially if customers request it.”
Much of the furniture is painted, as it was in the 18th and early 19th centuries, he adds. Black, brick red, and dark green were popular then, and a number of the Cane’s pieces feature those colors.
A selection of Windsor chairs is also on display as well as Windsor benches, including those with double loops. “Plain and simple” settle benches are other special items, as are blanket chests and firewood boxes. An interesting wall-hanging cabinet features a door made of a shutter from one of the farm’s buildings. As Mr. Cane says, “It was a great way to re-cycle the shutter!
“Our pencil post (4-poster) beds are also very popular,” he adds, “and we have a low post version, too.”
In addition to the pieces they make themselves, the Canes offer lines from other manufacturers, such as D.R. Dimes, Warren Chair Works, and Jonathan Charles. “We also sell upholstered furniture from Johnston Benchworks,” adds Mr. Cane.
An excellent and extensive selection of accessories is on display in addition to the fine quality furniture. The handsome and conveniently-designed 4,300 square foot showroom features six attractive room settings, offers lamps, wall art (including framed paintings of all kinds) and interesting decorative pieces. Vintage military prints and photos from the Civil War and World War I, also of old-time baseball and rowing teams, authentic models of World War I biplanes, and model boats, including a one-of-a-kind wooden sailing ship, featuring incredible workmanship and attention to detail, are all available.
A genuine propeller from a pre-jet age airplane is a conversation piece, and handsome copper post lanterns would be an addition to any exterior landscape. Fun metal reproduction “Balance Toys” appeal to children and adults alike, and collectors will also be intrigued by an authentic hatbox from the famous Dobbs Hat Company.
“The nice thing about our business is all the people we have met over the years,” notes Phil Cane. “There are many repeat customers from all over the area, including lots from Princeton.”
Test of Time
“I especially like making the furniture. It’s a collaboration with my dad,” adds Owen Cane, who has a degree in fine woodworking. “It’s creating something from a drawing and then seeing it come to life. I’m really hands-on. I like to work with my hands. Many of our pieces are really one-of-a-kind. The grain of the wood can be different in each piece.”
The Canes are proud that their pieces stand the test of time, and can be passed down from generation to generation. Every piece they make demonstrates their knowledge of 18th and 19th century construction details, materials, and finishes, and their respect for the properties of the wood.
Cane Furniture Farm’s location in rural Hunterdon County is a plus for visitors. Just outside of Stockton, the setting ensures a relaxed and unrushed visit. The nearby Colligan Inn (famous for the well in the Rodgers and Hart song “There’s A Small Hotel”) is a long-time Cane customer.
After more than 45 years in business, the Canes continue to enjoy their work and take pride in providing customers with quality furniture and accessories. As they say, “We look forward to doing this for a long time and seeing the business grow.”
Hours are Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 1 to 5, and by appointment. (609) 397-0606. Website: www.canefarmfurniture.com.