Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ’s
Q1 I cannot find the chair that I am looking for. Can you help me to find it?
A On the HOME page, please click on the red button “SHOP & ORDER YOUR CHAIR”. This will take you to a page that is categorized by Product Type, Institution, Chair Models, Product Line, and Product Size. There is also a search function at the top left, under the heading, PRODUCTS. If you want to see Captain’s Chairs, simply type in “captain” and click. If you require some assistance, we are here to help. Please call us at 866.748-2230.
Q2 Can you make our Captain’s Chair with different color arms or crown (header)?
A Yes, please see the page CHAIR DETAILS and FINISH for more information. Special wood stains and special woods are possible, but these additions will affect pricing. Each product page on this website contains some drop-down menus that will enable you, the user, to affect the price of your chair based on options and features that you choose. This may be a bit confusing, and we are here to explain pricing more clearly. We can walk you through our AlumniChairs.com website and its product pricing if you would simply phone us at 866.748.2230. We are here to help you understand the many options and their effect on pricing.
Q3 You state that your chairs are Made in America. Aren’t all college chairs made in the U.S.A.?
A The simple answer is “No”. Some chair marketers make chairs overseas. Some chair marketers buy parts from sources overseas and only assemble the chairs in the states.
Alumni Chairs is unique among college-chair companies. We maintain four strict policies regarding our sources of chair parts: (1) we rely on shops that build all parts within the shop in Ohio depending on the chair model; they are entirely vertically oriented; (2) shops that build parts locally near the assembly and finishing shop all in Ohio, (3) we use only wooden chair parts from the United States, and (4) all milling and assembly are performed within the USA. Our full-size chairs are built in Northeastern Ohio; our miniature chairs are built in Montrose, Colorado.
Therefore, in our chairs, all parts fit perfectly – made of familiar American woods that have been harvested from local forests and cut at local sawmills.
In full disclosure, our chairs may be more expensive than the factory chairs that prevail in college bookstores and college-chair websites. Those less-expensive chairs are made of wood from southeast Asia. Our chairs are built and finished entirely by Amish craftsmen in northeastern Ohio. Therefore, be cautious regarding lower prices and questionable claims of “Made in America”. Such prices can be misleading, and such claims can be deceptive.
We recommend that you purchase chairs truly Made in America.
Q4 Are your woods any different from the woods used by other chair companies?
A Alumni Chairs builds its chairs from American woods, exclusively. Our oaks are American White Oak and American Red Oak – all sourced from Ohio. ALL wooden components of our chairs are truly and exclusively American.
The largest college chair company builds its chairs from a wood that they call “Malaysian Oak”. It is NOT oak. It is wood of the Hevea species which is otherwise known as rubberwood, plantation hardwood, or parawood. In 2002, the Malaysian Ministry of Primary Industries began promoting rubberwood under the contrived name of “Malaysian Oak”.
Some chair makers ship maple from the American Midwest to Asia for milling at reduced production costs, and the finished products are return to the U.S. for assembly or sale. Alumni Chairs does not do this. Our chairs are made of American woods and are milled and assembled in the United States, exclusively.
The largest prodicer of captain’s chairs builds its chairs of maple exclusively. Therefore, its chairs that boast “cherry” arms and/or crowns merely offer maple arms and crowns that are plain maple stained with a cherry stain. The areas that, thus, stained to look like cherry do not really look like cherry.
We at Alumni Chairs make all of our captain’s chairs with true, solid cherry arms and crowns. Our clients who request cherry arms and/or crowns received exactly that: real, solid, cherry arms and crowns that display beautiful, rich, interesting cherry grain – much more attractive than inexpensive white maple parts merely stained to look like cherry. Our clients deserve real cherry.
Q5 Can I simply order on-line, pay, and have the chair shipped?
A That depends on the chair. We offer so many options with each chair that, in order to ensure that our clients are completely satisfied that they will receive the exact chair with the exact features that they want, we strongly recommend that you talk to us. Chairs are complex products, they are expensive to ship, and our chairs offer many variations of wood, stain, fabric, leather, hand-striping, two-tone finishes, multiple woods, multiple logo techniques, multi-colored or monochrome logos and seals, personalized plates, and multiple shipping options. So, PLEASE PHONE US to discuss all the options available to you before you commit to any particular chair or chair features.
Q6 Can you make a chair for any college?
A When making a chair to represent a college, university, or any organization or business entity, we need their permission to use their trademarks or protected images. Typically, large and medium-size academic institutions require licensing protocols. These schools maintain careful control of their trademarks and, often, they seek royalty revenue. There are approximately 2,400 four-year colleges and universities in the United States, and we are unable to become licensed with all of them – it’s expensive and it requires very burdensome administration and reporting. Therefore, when a customer requests a chair for a certain school, we simply contact the school, request permission, and request the art for the official seal or logo.
We can probably gain permission to make your chair, but we need to contact your favorite college or university and request that permission. Sometimes that process is speedy; sometimes, it takes some time. Just ask us to build your college chairs, and we will expedite the process to gain permission and begin building your chairs.
Q7 What is the usual turn-around time after I order my chairs?
A Most of our chairs can be constructed and delivered within 3 – 8 weeks. Some require 9 – 16 weeks, depending on the complexity of the chair. Only three of our more complex chair models require significant lead times. We hesitate to make promises, but we can offer what we beliueve are valid estimates to our clients. PLease explain your deadline or special event and we will give you our best estimate of a delivery time.
In order to learn delivery times, please phone us at 303.399.3339 for an estimated delivery timeframe.
Completion time depends on the season relative to graduation and the holidays. Other factors are the logo art or seal art of the institution being represented by the chair; some colleges and universities are extremely slow to respond with permissions and/or the necessary art for the chairs. Sometimes institutions can respond in hours. Sometimes they require months! Another potential delaying factor is the delay in decision making my some customers or their colleagues.
The best approach to meeting a deadline is to speak with us, explain your desired time frame or special event date, make decisions promptly, and place your order. We will do our part to make things happen quickly. We haven’t missed a deadline, yet!
Q8 Can you put names and dates on our chair? …and can you put a brass plate on our chair?
A We can put names on your chair. It depends on what text you want, where you want it, and how you want it to look. We can put names, dates, and other text on the front of the chair’s crown (or headboard), but this can be complicated by limited space and your preference of color and font. It requires a little bit of thought and planning. We will ask you to phone us and discuss what you want.
Typically, we advise customers to consider being faithful to the institution being represented by the chair and to put only the logo or seal in the most prominent position – the front of the crown. We would, then, add personalized information (text, names, and dates) on the rear of the chair via a metal plaque (silver or gold plate). We choose the color of the plate to match any gold or silver components on the chair – such as gold or silver hand-striping (accents).
Regarding a brass plate, we do this frequently. A personalized brass or silver plate can greatly enhance a personal gift chair. We normally make a shiny gold plate or a shiny silver plate with black font in any reasonable number of lines on a size of plate that fits the chair appropriately. We prefer that our customers create the desired content (test) in their preferred font with all of the proper editing necessary (in PDF format). We can transfer that text to the plate perfectly with no misspellings or errors – exactly as you present it to us. We can also add your company or institution logo as space allows.
Some folks have requested a brass plate on the front of their chair, but we always advise against that because of the potential of snagging and damaging clothing on the corners of the plaque.
Q9 Can you make custom chairs?
A Yes we can. We offer 25 models of chairs and many options and features. So, nearly ever chair that we make can fairly be considered “custom”.
We work with skilled Amish craftsmen who can design and build nearly any hardwood chair that you would want. So, if you would wish to build an entirely unique and new chair design, we can do that. You will need to consider costs and time both of which will be greater than our standard chair models, but we can give you the special, custom chairs that you have been dreaming of.
Q10 Is it possible to contact Alumni Chairs customers to learn about their experiences with your company?
A We are happy to refer prospective clients to an existing client as part of the final decision process – once permission is granted by our client in advance. We must always respect the time, privacy, and wishes of our existing client base. Therefore, we refer potential customers carefully and sparingly on behalf of serious, potential clients.
Q11 How can I be sure of the color of the wood, stain, upholstery, or leather that I would order?
A Nearly all of the materials that constitute our chairs are natural materials. Natural materials can vary significantly in color, but we are very careful to be true to the expectations of our customers. The best we can do to assure potential buyers of our chairs is to display sample images on our website. Please see the pages WOOD and FINISH for color samples of wood and stain. Regarding fabrics and leathers, we can provide physical color samples for your approval.
Q12 Does Alumni Chairs offer credit? …and what are the terms?
A Yes, and it is very easy and fast. On our CHECKOUT page there is a link to PayPal Credit. You can use PayPal Credit’s digital, reusable credit line to purchase your chairs and get six (6) months special financing on any of our chairs every time you shop on AlumniChairs.com. You can receive a credit decision in seconds with PayPal’s quick application. Your PayPal credit line can be used for purchase elsewhere, as well – with other companies and other websites – anywhere PayPal is accepted.
Q13 What are your payment terms?
A We require payment in advance of building your chair. We can not build chairs based on partial payments or deposits.
There are three important reasons: (1) We build our chairs in small woodworking shops in Ohio. These shops have cash outlays in advance of building your chair. They also have payroll considerations. We are unable to directly carry the cost of our customers’ orders. (2) Nearly all of our products are essentially CUSTOM products. Therefore, your chair will most likely be a chair unique to you, your family, your organization, or your business, and it will not be marketable to other Alumni Chairs customers. (3) If a customer changes his/her mind after receiving his/her chair, the shipping costs and potential damage to the chair in transit are prohibitive. We need new, potential customers to commit to their chair. We believe that careful planning, conversations with Alumni Chairs, and referencing of our testimonials should enable you to order with confidence. One alternative that meets the needs of both Alumni Chairs and our customers is PayPal Credit.
Q14 What credit cards do you accept? …and will my transactions be secure?
A We gladly accept payments via Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express.
All transactions are handled securely through PayPal.com. Therefore, you can be assured of safe processing. PayPal and Alumni Chairs DO NOT retain any records of your credit-card information. Once you have completed your purchase transaction, you will receive an automatic receipt from PayPal. When we have received your payment, we will begin building your chair.
Q15 Do you accept company checks or personal checks?
A We are happy to accept checks, providing that we have spoken to you, have become familiar with you, and have discussed your chairs and all necessary details of your chair. Because every chair is custom-built for a customer, we require payment in advance. When we have received your check, we will begin building your chair.
Q16 How should I present logo art or our college seal to your company? What data formats do you need?
A We prefer to receive logo art in EPS format and in Black and White, typically. That is best for a monochrome (single color) logo, regardless of the ultimate color of your logo. If you would order a logo in multiple colors, we would need to know the PMS (Pantone) colors of the final art.
If EPS format is not possible, we can work with a JPG or JPEG file if it is in high resolution. If there is some doubt or concern about the logo, please phone us at 866.748.2230.
Q17 How should I take care of my chairs?
A Follow common-sense principles of caring for your chairs beginning immediately after you receive your new chair. The first rules to observe are the following: Do not use harsh chemicals, solvents, or chemical wipes to clean your college chairs. Wipe the wood surface with a soft, damp cloth, and use a soft, dry cloth to dry. Maintain moderate temperatures, and avoid direct sunlight. Keep your shipping carton in case you move. Avoid extremes and exercise common sense.
Q18 What is your warranty policy?
A Please visit our webpage, Limited Warranty, for an explanation of our limited warranty. Our General Warranty Coverage extends up to twelve months from the date of delivery. Twelve months is the standard within the fine furniture industry. Please be aware that we have repeat customers who have purchased our chairs for many years with no warranty issues. You can effectively avoid warranty situations by (1) purchasing truly American-made college chairs, (2) reading testimonials of chair companies, (3) carefully inspecting your chairs upon delivery, and (4) following wise principles for caring for your chairs.
Q19 Why do Amish chairs involve multiple woodworking shops?
A Great question. Many folks are surprised to learn that the Amish furniture industry is founded on many small woodworking shops, and, with a few exceptions, each shop works in its specialty area of construction, parts fabrication, fabric, upholstery, and finishing. The great benefit to our customers is that, through our relationships within the Amish community, we can provide beautifully constructed chairs with wonderful, elegant finishes that are true to the Amish tradition of fine furniture. This is how we deliver excellent college chairs.
Q20 May I order Alumni Chairs without logos?
A Certainly! All of our chairs are available with or without college seals, trademarks, other images, or text with the single exception of one of our chairs is fully upholstered and cannot be embellished by logos. All other chairs can received logos or seals.
Q21 What is the Alumni Chairs “return policy”?
A You may return eligible items within 30 days of receiving an order for a refund of the chair value. The original receipt is required. It is essential that clients notify Alumni Chairs immediately if a manufacturing defect has been identified.
Certain chairs are INELIGIBLE for refunds: (1) Chairs with institutional logos, (2) Personalized chairs, (3) Chairs made to order, (4) Custom chairs, and (5) Items damaged through normal wear and tear. More information about our return poilicy
If you do not see your questions presented and answered here, please phone us at 866.748.2230 with your questions. We will do our best to answer you fully and to add your unique questions to this page. Thank you!