Company's chairs withstand 9,000-pound tractor's weight
American manufacturer L.J. Gascho uses machinery in demo
Clint Engel -- Furniture Today, September 1, 2010
Maust had thought about running a tractor up the backs of chairs for years, but he "about died" when company owner Lyle Gascho pulled up with his largest 9,000-pound John Deere tractor with attached front loader, said Charles, director of corporate communications for Art Van.
The Top 100 company discovered Gascho some 20 years ago when a former executive was dining at a nearby restaurant on what turned out to a homemade table by Lyle Gascho, a fourth-generation farmer turned professional woodworker.
Gascho tables soon were a big hit for Warren, Mich.,-based Art Van. But eventually the popularity of the golden oak look started to fade.
More recently, Art Van challenged the case goods producer to develop updated looks. The supplier came through with six new dining sets, featuring the same solid-wood heirloom quality but in looks that bridge traditional with more modern styling.
At its home here in Pigeon, Gascho sat the tractor on two chairs from the Saber collection (one of the six new groups) by using hydraulics to push the front loader bucket down into the ground to lift the front wheels, Yowler said. The chairs were placed under the raised tractor and the wheels were lowered onto the chairs.
Lyle Gascho was in the tractor and on the chairs for about 15 minutes while the retailer shot photos and video for sales training purposes. The chairs, each featuring 30 mortise and tenon joints, emerged unharmed.
"To be honest, we didn't know if it would work or not," Yowler said. "I remember Redford saying, ‘No way!' after Lyle pulled the tractor out. We were just looking to do something that impressed Art Van and gave us an edge over our competitors. We like to build the quality story and heirloom furniture feature into our products, so this definitely supports that statement."
"My line," Charles said, "Even a 9,000-pound tractor can come to dinner."