A 7-inch wood comb made of locally harvested German ash wood, cut and smoothed by hand in Germany by fourth-generation master comb makers. An Italian brush in ash. Poplar fruit crates hand-made by Pennsylvania Amish and stained in golden oak. These are the types of hand-made wood products, all of them modestly priced (under $50), each with a long, long back story, that have been selling at online retailer Kaufmann-Mercantile.
Now the retailer is commissioning a line of solid walnut and oak furniture: trestle tables, islands, benches, chairs. And at price points from $625 to more than $3,000.
In its smaller household products, the descriptions are a tad pedantic and even overwrought, such as this write-up of an Italian birch hairbrush: "Widu means wood in Old English. A hairstylist in Milan invented the product to soothe the scalps and untangle the hairsprayed, blow dried, overworked and broken ends of the hair he worked with every day. The wood used in the bristles is hornbeam, a variety of birch wood found in Europe.
It's the same wood used in the pegs holding together giant windmills, proving to be trusted in strength. It would take a knot of epic proportions to cause one of the bristles to snap.
Commissioning its own line of hardwood furniture is a big step - and a welcome one.
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