How humane is the furniture you buy?

Today the vast majority of furniture sold in India specially on e-commerce platforms is factory-made. Why is this a problem? In this blog post let’s try to explore the drawbacks of mass produced furniture and how the furniture at Kaashthkaari is different.

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low prices are forgotten.” – Benjamin Franklin

Furniture is like an investment, that you do to basically make your interior space livable and usable. If you remember, our parents or grandparents always made a  great deal in buying any furniture item. Even till today if they have to buy a furniture, they specially look for solid wood furniture because of its durability and authenticity. With advancements in technology, today manufacturers are able to produce furniture in huge numbers in a short time. But most of this furniture is either outsourced or imported from other parts of the world, or is being produced in high speed manufacturing units present in our country. What this unfortunately has led to is that handmade and custom pieces of furniture are becoming a rare find in Indian homes.
While mass-produced furniture is becoming a norm in India, and imported furniture is constantly picking up with now new players in the market like IKEA, it is all the more important to be aware of how this factory-made or imported furniture is threatening our environment and destroying the traditional and age old art and culture of handcrafting solid wood furniture of India.

  • Factory made − harming our planet
    Factory made furniture causes all kinds of pollution throughout its lifetime, and is definitely not a good choice if you respect your environment. Most high-speed manufactured furniture or imported furniture is actually made of engineered wood, like MDFs or Particle boards.  Being artificially made, their production requires a lot of additional heat and energy, which further adds up to the global warming issue. After production, the transportation of these imported furniture over long distances again causes significant pollution. Many of these engineered woods also contain VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), which are toxic, air-borne chemicals that pose significant health risks as they vaporize in air even at room temperatures, thereby polluting the very air of our homes. After causing large carbon footprint during its production and transportation and then polluting the air in our homes through its lifetime, factory made furniture when discarded does not stop polluting our environment. It takes up space as landfills, and being not completely biodegradable, it creates a cycle of waste causing land and water pollution.
    However, Kaashthkaari only uses locally sourced natural wood, which is a renewable resource, for our furniture products. Natural wood being completely bio-degradable and our furniture being completely handcrafted, it requires no heat or any non-renewable source of energy for production. Because the furniture is sourced and made in India itself and not overseas, transporting the products from our workshop to your home consumes substantially less fuel. And you can breathe easily and without any fear as natural woods do not contain any kinds of harmful chemicals or VOCs.
  • Handmade is more humane
    Factory made furniture is typically glued, or is fastened together after manufacturing different parts separately in bulk. This makes the joints poor in quality and life. Also while polishing the product is either dipped into or sprayed with finish materials until it drips. This creates patches or blots of excess finish material around joints and edges. But when it comes to handmade furniture, the whole process is much more intimate as each furniture item is made as a whole and not in bulk. This helps in properly joining all parts with either screws and nails or by using traditional joineries like dove tail or tongue and grove joints. Making it much durable and holds together for ages. And while polishing too, before applying the colors and wax, the painters precisely hand-rub all the surfaces to make them smooth and even. Hence, there is nothing hollow or fake about handmade furniture.
    At Kaashthkaari, everything is Hand-Carved & Hand-Rubbed. Minimum use of machines helps us to produce decorative, original and much humane pieces which surpass the factory made furniture that feel robotic with their manufactured cuts and lack of human touch.
  • Buying factory made could mean wasted money
    Being produced at high-speed and in bulk, factory made furniture does become comparatively economical. You buy these so called inexpensive piece of furniture expecting them to be light on your pocket, but in just a few years they lose the luster or even break. So you simply replace it with something cheap again. If you purchase a factory made dining set for say ₹ 35,000 and replace it every 10 years with another set that, let’s assume costs the same price, you actually could end up spending ₹ 21,00,000 in your lifetime on just tables and chairs.
    A handcrafted dining set from Kaashthkaari shall cost significantly less and will last a lifetime.
  • Increase of Factory made − Dying local art
    India has a long and rich history of furniture making. The origin dates back to 14th century AD when the furniture was limited to just utilitarian pieces like low chairs and charpayi which with foreign influences developed further. We can witness the beautiful amalgamation of English sensibilities and Indian craftsmanship that happened over the years, in our antique handmade furniture pieces. For a very long time, furniture making was considered an art. The craftsmen and carpenters were much regarded even in higher sections of society and among royalties. After all their wood crafting skills had the magic of carving, engraving and hence preserving legends and folklores in wood for generations to come. But with increase in furniture making factories and more furniture being imported, our indigenous art and craftsmen community both have taken a hit and are slowly dying.
    At Kaashthkaari our devout craftsmen take pride in handcrafting all our furniture products from traditional tools. Because of this our wooden furniture retains its ethnicity, durability and elegance. We are trying in our own small way to keep our valuable indigenous art of furniture making alive. 
  • Factory made − hampering the ethos of keeping heirloom
    Even today in Indian homes one can easily find at least one pair of chairs that actually was brought by their Grandfather or Great grandfather. Back then even when families shifted to a new city or a new home, if not all at least that one Grandpa chair or that bed which maybe your mother got in her dowry, was always carried along. Furniture in India were like memoirs of family stories and never just any item to be used for few years and then discarded when you are bored of it. It was preserved and valued like heirlooms and passed over generations. This was possible because the furniture had that quality and strength to last this long. Trying to continuing your grandfather’s tradition, when you grow old, do you wish to pass on a ‘China’ made rocking chair to your grandson? For sure factory made or imported furniture can never have that timelessness as they cannot last for generations and look as nice even for 20 years in future.
    Only quality handmade wooden furniture like that of Kaashthkaari are inheritance-worthy, and shall not just be an investment in your home, but an investment in your family which you can cherish for years.

So next time, before you buy any furniture, especially wood furniture, don’t forget to ask how it is made. Furniture made in countries like China, Indonesia, Malaysia, is going to be factory made. If it was made by hand, look for the artistic feel and small flaws in its carvings, smoothness of its finish and polish colors. Avoid anything that appears too manicured, lacking soul and character and appears artificial or robotic, as it is surely a  sign of manufactured furniture. Cherish the tiny flaws of handmade furniture, it signifies the artisan quality and craftsmanship it takes to make it, thereby promoting our local industries and traditional art of furniture making, along with also safeguarding our environment.

 

And don’t forget to check out Kaashthkaari’s artistic and completely handcrafted wooden furniture collection. All products are exclusively made by our local artisans from natural solid wood and all designs are need based and user friendly.