Miniature furniture for cats promotes Japanese woodworkers
October 27, 2017 | 10:11 am CDT
Based on a sofa from Hiromatsu Wood Work’s Santa Fe line, the miniature for cats even has miniature distressing to simulate the full-size finish.

A campaign to reinvigorate the furniture industry in Okawa, Japan, is using miniature mid-century modern furniture sized just for cats.

“Craftsman Made” is a campaign dreamed up by Hiromatsu Wood Work Co. and Onishi Wood Crafts Co. Hiromatsu’s 88-year old designer Yu Watanabe said in a blog post, “I was also making furniture for children, I thought that for cats is also interesting.” He noted the huge popularity of cats across the globe and especially in Japan, so it seemed natural to use felines to promote furniture.

Sized just for a cat, the bed from Onishi Wood Crafts, offers a comfortable sleeping spot for your feline.

Some of the furniture is based on Hiromatsu’s Santa Fe line of pine furniture. The feline miniatures are even scratched by hand to reflect the distressing techniques used for the full-size pieces. (What? They didn’t wait for the cats to scratch the furniture themselves?) “It is work that can only be done manually,” said Watanabe. “Skill and the sense of the craftsmen are necessary to give natural taste.”

The campaign is all about long-lasting craftsmanship. “We cherish the lives of customers and provide furniture with a high quality of living, making furniture,” said Watanabe in the blog post. “For that purpose, we think that we need to pursue comfort in the whole space, not furniture alone, we also produce items related to our lives, such as watches, lights, wooden toys and bags. As furniture there is universality, and things that can be used for a long time.”

Emphasizing hand work and attention to detail, the makers at Hiromatsu and Onishi hope their cat furniture brings attention to all of their furniture craftsmanship.

They describe the furniture as “capricious and free-spirited,” much like cats. You can watch a video showing cats checking out the furniture below.

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William Sampson

William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editor of FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC.