Woodworking + Furniture Making
Woodworking from Amana Craftspeople with Over a Century of Tradition
From the village cabinet maker to the furniture maker to the home workbench Amana residents have a long history of making handcrafted wooden products during our communal past and that tradition lives on today. Many of the homes have workbenches where hobbyists handcraft items for their family, friends and in some cases to sell in the shops. The skills that were honed over a century ago making furniture for the residents of the communal seven villages are very evident in the wood items you’ll find in the Colonies today. Those skills have been passed from generation to generation and pride is still evident in every piece.
For over a century Amana craftspeople have been producing solid wood furniture and two shops continue the tradition today. Both work in solid wood but there are differences. You’ll want to see both of these shops and compare to find the item that is just right for you.
Amana Furniture Shop
The Amana Furniture Shop in the main village of Amana is part of the Amana Society (the original settlers) and is owned by their stockholders. It’s the larger of the two furniture operations and more well known. You’ll find a large showroom of the furniture they handcraft with styles ranging from very traditional to very contemporary. They have even been known to make “super custom” which is essentially almost anything that a person can draw up. The showroom features vignettes including some upholstered furniture (not made in Amana) and you’ll find furniture for almost every room of the house. Take a moment and venture up the steps to the clock room. The Amana Furniture Shop is well known for the many clock styles they make. Some are even limited editions. Also upstairs, you’ll find a workshop gallery where you can watch the craftsmen apply their skills. Understand, in the Amana Colonies furniture is not made on an assembly line. It is done on a workbench situation which means 1 craftsman per each piece of furniture. They will make several of the same type of item at one time to increase efficiency but they do all the work up until the finishing, at this point the ladies of finishing department will take over to apply a silky smooth finish. This ensures that each piece of furniture is finished the same way and will match.
This is not your typical furniture store furniture. This is furniture made to last and with the care of an individual craftsman whose name is on each piece. This is real furniture so expect the price to be higher than that stuff you find in most furniture stores that is imported from the Far East. The quality of the wood furniture is unsurpassed which is a legacy of the Amana name and the craftsmen that came before.
The second craftsmen that also make upper-end solid wood furniture is Schanz Furniture which is located just east of the village of South Amana on Highway 6. This is a private family-owned shop that is a bit smaller and where several generations of the Schanz family handcraft furniture. Hear the showroom is smaller and not as spacious but you’ll find solid wood furniture similar to what you’ll find at the Amana Furniture Shop. The Schanz family will also make furniture for every room of your home and does quite a bit of the “Super Custom”. They will show you an album of past projects they have made including reproductions of the senators’ desk at the Old Capitol in Iowa City.
Furniture from the Amana Colonies will stand the test of time.