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Furniture & Handicrafts

Furniture is quite cheap in Indonesia, thanks to the country's plentiful timber supplies. Teak, mahogany, rattan, bamboo, mindi (white cedar), acacia and plywood are all easily available. People concerned about rainforest destruction can ask whether the timber is sourced from a plantation or virgin jungle – and will probably be told it is plantation-sourced no matter where it came from.

All styles of ready-made furniture are available, including: garden and outdoor, classical, colonial, upholstered, contemporary, wrought iron and office. You can have furniture made to order for your house or office. In Jakarta, there are many furniture-makers located on Jalan Ciputat Raya. It's best to get advice from locals or colleagues about which carpenter to choose. in Kemang in South Jakarta there are designer shops offering custom-made furniture.

Indonesia's furniture capital is Jepara city on the northern coast of Central Java. Jepara's teak furniture and woodcarving industry employs about 80,000 people, many of them operating in small workshops. Several foreigners come to Jepara to get into the furniture exporting business. Raw material procurement and labor costs are generally cheap, making the furniture industry quite profitable.

There is an annual International Furniture and Craft Fair Indonesia, showcasing the latest products.

The industry is represented by the Indonesia Furniture Industry & Handicraft Association (Asmindo).

Packing and shipping should be easy to arrange from Indonesia, but shipping may be cheaper with a transport company from your home country, especially one that does a lot of business from Indonesia.

Before committing to any purchases or shipping, make sure you first check the import regulations and fees in your destination country. You will probably have to acquire a certificate stating the wood is not protected and has been sourced from a plantation or sustainable production forest.

Also, before buying any furniture for export, buy a moisture meter and check the moisture content in any items you plan to purchase. If the moisture content is more than 8%, don't buy the item as it may later warp or split.

Note that many “antiques” will be fake or manufactured from recycled furniture. Surfaces may look beautiful but you should pay attention to undersides and joinery when examining quality. You should expect some dealers to be stretching the truth when they offer “genuine antiques”.

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