Launched last year to take on Etsy, the e-tailer Handmade at Amazon now offers many more wood products, which are rising in price and style. Established woodworkers seem to be jumping in, using the channel to tap into Amazon's millions of online customers.
Part of the appeal for shoppers is the back story of the furniture pieces - who made it, where did they learn the craft, where did the lumber originate. Reclaimed wood tends to have an edge in this sales environment, since its always comes with a history. The individual craftsmen are part of that storyline, and their profile, usually accompanied by a photo set in the woodshop, are included.
RT Trading, for example, tells this story about a very heavy, 7-foot long cherry coffee table, priced at $13,400.
Here is the most amazing tables ever! Years in the making this is definitely a one of a kind piece. Made from beautiful north American cherry harvested from our own timber stand. Such an incredible table at over 4" thick and 7 feet long weighing in at 260 lb. This will be the center piece people will want in their home. Perfect for a chalet or any great room. I only have this one table available!a dining room table or a conference table.
The E. Jacobsen Furniture Maker Company, whose mahogany table was shown above, was formed in 2002 by Eric Jacobsen after he had worked for seven years at the renowned Irion Company Furniture Makers. "During my time at Irion I tapped deeply into the knowledge and skills of the many furniture makers who had worked there before me. Deep knowledge and skills were developed studying the design and restoring quality American Furniture," Jacobsen relates at Amazon.
"It was a great opportunity to learn and build this furniture at the quality level and authenticity that it deserves. My motivation in starting my own company came from a desire to become totally immersed in the full spectrum of activities and skills that are demanded by this special body of furniture; from lumber procurement to the final finish. We mill and dry the majority of lumber we use, construction, carving and finish are all completed on site. Total end-to-end control of the entire process has allowed us reach a level of quality that we feel pride in.
"In creating a highly carved chair or a simple end table, we begin the process with a series of drawings. Inspiration may come from photographs, a museum piece, measurements, or simply a rough idea presented by our clients. Most pieces are drawn full scale as this is the best way to determine when the piece is correctly proportioned. A full size sample is often made to ensure that a design with three-dimensional features is correct from all viewing angles.
Next in the process is the selection of wood. We have a comprehensive inventory of hard-to-find woods including mahogany, walnut, tiger maple, flame birch, and other highly figured hardwoods. Most of the lumber we used is processed on site with our sawmill and dry kiln. We are not sawing for yield as most sawmills do. We are sawing with furniture in mind and what specific pieces would benefit the most from the current log we are cutting. This set of boards is then kept together throughout the entire drying process. They are then labeled, cataloged and go on the shelf to wait for that perfect project."
Earl Nesbitt Fine Furniture is offering a solid mesquite live-edge slab and glass table, which he calls "Through The Heart" because the solid mesquite book matched slabs were cut directly through the heart of the tree revealing heart-shaped inclusions.
Inset custom-fit glass showcases the solid mesquite trestle base with slab legs. This is contemporary furniture at its very best and a truly one-of-a-kind piece of fine furniture. Dimensions: 100" x 44" x 30" tall. Price tag? $22,500. Earl Nesbitt, based in New Mexico, is a well-established woodworker with a fine pedigree in training and experience.
Chamfered edges and a incredibly smooth, high-gloss, water repelling finish complete the messages behind this piece: Detail, beauty, elegance. The tables are 62" L x 96" W x 29" H, as each piece is custom, we do not offer returns. Price tag: $13,800. Shipping is included, but unlike regular Amazon buys, no returns.
When Handmade at Amazon first opened, it featured just 56 wood furnishings for sale, 16 of them from Italy. Overall there are 166 furnishings priced above $200, including solid Yellow Pine wood table by Mark at Ekisma in Florida, retailing at $1,999. Now there are 481 wood furniture items, made by artisans on almost every U.S. state, plus and 213 items are priced above $200. Species include birch, cherry, maple, oak, pine, walnut, rosewood, cedar, and elm.
Handmade at Amazon has structural advantages over Etsy - given the 285 million Amazon shoppers who will be exposed to it. Etsy has 22 million regular shoppers. The numbers of wood products and dollar volume sold by Amazon are significant.
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