I would say at least 50% of the pieces I handle are mid 20th century solid rock maple, and made in New England. There's a few reasons for this. Firstly, in their old orange-y varnish they're pretty plain jane, dated, and boring. No one wants them, which means I can find them for cheap. Second, they're beautifully made so I gravitate towards them naturally. They often require less work than both older and more recent pieces of furniture simply because they were constructed of top shelf chunks of thick, durable, glorious maple, and put together with care and skill that is rarely seen in other 20th century furniture. Finally, most of these pieces were originally purchased by baby boomers as they decorated their post war homes. As those baby boomers downsize, move to retirement homes, or move south to more temperate climes, their estates are being liquidated and vast amounts of mid 20th century is flooding the market.
All of these are happy circumstances for the furniture refinisher. Solid maple pieces are GREAT candidates for refinishing, and it's amazing what a little paint can do to make a lame old hutch look fresh and modern once more. This is a vintage Temple Stuart hutch I snagged at the ReStore in Cromwell a few weeks ago. It's marvelous but booooring. Luckily, I have a client who had the best vision for it, classic black and a cream backboard, vintage bail brass pulls with just a bit of gold highlighting, and a warm deep stained top. And now, freshly refinished, there's no reason this piece can't last many generations to come!