Feb. 7, 2018: Martin & MacArthur Workshop
Martin & MacArthur, a place of fine craftsmanship : HSBP Tour February 7, 2018
The store was started by John MacArthur in 1957 and eventually took a partner - Doug Martin When he was 70, John retired and left Doug to run the business himself. When Doug decided to retire, he went on a search for the perfect person to replace him: He choose Michael Kam who gave our tour. The company is still run as a family business (that’s the definite ambiance).
Twenty-one of us were lucky enough to go on the tour of Martin & MacArthur. We learned about Koa and the construction/building of their fine furniture and accessory pieces. Beautiful pieces which most of us have never seen – beautiful! Go look in a store, you will be wonderfully surprised to see what is there today.
Mr. Michael Tam took us on our tour and gave us the history of the company until the present day. We started at the landing pad where craftsmen bring up finished pieces ready to be sold there or sent to a store. We went all around the factory and were introduced to the master craftsmen who shared their work and the pride they take in their skill with us
Martin & MacArthur was established in 1957 and still buys Koa from the same families they did years ago. The original intent was to make something special for/in Hawaii. They choose Koa because this is the only place it grows. It wasn’t easy, the company was founded when formica was “the thing to have” – not wood. The same three generations of families from the Big Island still supply the Koa. It grows high up on the mountain and everything is still harvested one by one. They only harvest fallen trees which are taken out of the forest very carefully by the land owners., They do not cut living trees, only harvest from the ones that have fallen and even then, they (M&M) pick and choose carefully from among those. The Martin and MacArthur people go to the forest and choose felled trees individually and the land owners get them down the mountain. The trees are specially marked and matched (afterwards) – which answers the “how do you know you are getting what you picked from the forest floor?”
Martin & MacArthur only buys Koa from Hawaii. They wanted to support Hawaii from the beginning of their business. The second of the original owners just retired recently (Doug MacArthur) and still comes to visit.
The factory is filled with wood, work in progress and craftsmen. The craftsmen are very special – each with their own job. Each piece is made totally by one person and signed by them, also. There is plenty of room to work, as well. It is not a crowded factory floor – each craftsman is given enough space to create a fine piece of workmanship for someone else to cherish.
It was amazing to go there and see the work being done, the immense amount of wood on hand, the special care that each person takes in what they are making and the admiration they share for one another. It is just simply an amazing place with beautiful craftmanship and finished results.
Martin & MacArthur now has 17 stores each having an assortment of Koa wood, Glass and Ceramic. All made by craftspeople (handmade). All the Koa comes from here, the glass and ceramic may come from the mainland crafters.
This was a fabulous tour, such a blessing – and then they thanked us for coming!