Sam Case, of Samuel S. Case Cabinetmakers, was not only our neighbor in downtown Purcellville for many years, but was a man as in love with the history and tradition that a hand crafted piece of furniture can bring to a life well-lived as we are. He was a man committed to handmade quality and old-fashioned, personalized service. In the many years he headed Samuel S. Case Cabinetmakers, he developed a reputation for excellence in construction that we always admired, carving a niche of his own in the arena of woodworking.
Born in Purcellville, Sam’s family worked with wood in Virginia since the late 18th century and dealt in American antiques since the early 1900s. Everything he knew about the furniture he crafted, he learned from the many books he grew up surrounded by and that he later collected.
Sam left his background in graphic design and gravitated toward the family business, doing carpentry work and learning the process of solid furniture construction from building custom furniture in his garage. Watching, doing and studying the design and construction of classic furniture led him to growing a successful business who’s reputation still echoes in our industry.
In the beginning, most Case Cabinetmaker’s pieces were built one at a time. In our small community, Hunter Kelly kept Sam stocked with antique lumber through Cochran’s Lumber and Millwork in Bluemont, Va and then through us, Shenandoah Furniture Gallery. One man would take a project from the raw lumber stage to the finishing room. Sam designed almost all of the pieces by hand, constantly referring to his vast library. He’d often draw the patterns on plywood and have his employees build a prototype.
Sam built a reputation in traditional styles, which are well suited to the classic homes in the Washington D.C. area. His family’s commitment to hand-crafted quality endured for decades, and his talent and appreciation for the artistry of wood construction was rare and is missed. During our time together in the business, it was Sam’s dedication to excellence that was the fire that fueled our frequent collaborations.
Shenandoah Furniture and Samuel S. Case Cabinetmakers both had their niche in the business of making beautiful handcrafted furniture, our specialization and style choices were often different, so we were often able to refer customers to each other if what a customer needed was not exactly a right fit. Sam believed that when you are in love with your work, success will eventually follow. We shared that love for the beauty, history and legacy of antique wood, and he certainly lived that adage by an example we have continued to set.