As part of Handworks 2015, the Amana Furniture Shop offered a tour of their production woodworking shop. The tour was limited to 25 people for each tour. I was fortunate to get a 3pm Saturday tour.
The Amana Furniture Shop is one of the four shops actually owned by the Amana Colonies Corporation. The other shops are, the Woolen Mill, Meat Market and the General Store. There are many, many more interesting stores and shops in the the colony.
The furniture production shop is responsible to design, build, finish and complete 100’s of various products. These range from any type of household furniture, to clocks, slab top tables, cutting boards and custom orders. More than half of the work is custom order ranging from changes in dimensions to ideas sketched out on a single piece of paper. The production shop is at least 6 months behind at all times.
Our tour guide, the manager of the woodworking production shop, Bruce Trumpold. He gave a great introduction and history of the Amana Colonies. One very pertinent facts is the Amana Colonies corporation owns 30,000 acres of land, 7,000 of which are forest land. The forest lands are managed to produce wood to be harvested for the production of furniture.
The furniture production shop employs 12 full time workers (meet the craftsmen). Approximately eight of these are finish craftsmen. There are two people whose primary job is to pull stock for each build order from the vast inventory of walnut, cherry, oak and a few other species. These two people hand select boards and complete the milling as prescribed. There are at least 2 women who do all of the finishing including stain application and spray finishing of all of the completed pieces. All workers seem to do to double duty on things like final assembly.
Please enjoy the pictures of the tour. Take time to read the comments on each picture as these tell the story in more detail.