DENVER - Woodsmith and Azure Furniture founder Corbin Clay is featured in this weekend's Wall St. Journal, as a trendsetter in helping popularize beetle-kill pine wood furniture. The wood features a distinctive blue cast.
Clay founded the aptly named Azure Furniture, Inc. in 2009, with a mission to introduce beetle kill pine into the modern furniture market, making use of lumber from some of the millions of acres of pine beetle killed trees while breathing life into furniture production and design.
Currently Clay is also one of five finalists in Ketel One Vodka's Gentleman's Call competition (the prize is $100,000), cited in the nomination for making the blue-tinged beetle-killed pine furnishings trendy, while helping the wood industry and the environment. In Denver building cabinets and buying furniture tinged with the azure-colored wood from the beetle's larvae has become a popular design style.
The latest media positioning reflects Clay's smart use of brand marketing, vital in growing his young business. He sells his furniture in an online store, with pieces ranging from $309 for an end table to $1,199 for a dining table. Azure Furniture also sells cabinets, bookcases and media storage furniture.
"I was fortunate enough to receive my training from a German master craftsman," Clay says in an online interview. His shop offers "a nice blend of high end craftsmanship with the speed and efficiency of a mass-production shop."
In a video (below) he shows viewers around his shop, filled with familiar tools of the custom woodshop trade, both hand tools and power tools such as a DeWalt chop saw, Delta boring drill, Oneida dust collection system, and sliding table saw.
He sources some wood from the Hester's Log and Lumber Company, which specializes in processing beetle-kill lumber and provides wood Aspen, Lodgepole Pine, Engleman Spruce and Douglas Fir trees.
"Our goal was to take wood from the four millions acres of dead pine trees we have in Colorado and use that as an inexpensive material to build heirloom quality affordable furniture," Clay says. “Why cut down living trees when there are so many standing dead?”
Clay says 100% of the beetle kill pine used in his production is Colorado-sourced, mostly from Summit and Grand counties. Wood finishes and powder coating are both formaldehyde-free. Low-VOC coatings are allowed to completely off-gas before shipping. Laminates are developed from recycled paper, and applied to surfaces with Greenguard certified contact adhesive.