More than 100 hours of work goes into each elaborate table. The filigree wooden decorations, of which the colours and shapes can be chosen by each customer, form the start of the production process. “Each Montafon table is a unique piece and is manufactured precisely according to the requests and requirements of the customer,” explains the wood artist. Local woods such as pear, cherry, oak, beech, nut, elm and maple, which are stored and air-dried for up to 25 years before workmanship, are used for this. Does every carpenter have his own style? Yes, says Markus Juen, “You can recognise which business the Montafon table has come from by the inlay work.”
Slate as a coaster
The special part of an original Montafon table is its shape with four broken corners as well as the slate sheet in the middle. This is where the shared food pot was once placed and the Jassen (card game) score was noted down after the meal.
An eventful history
Old crafts are in demand. The pieces of furniture have already been delivered to South America, Australia and Japan, according to Markus Juen. Towards the end of the 18th century, the Montafon table experienced a genuine crisis: Only a few Montafon tables had been produced, the furniture almost fell into oblivion among the locals. When Otto Juen, the grandfather of Markus Juen, reintroduced the production of the table in the 30s and passed on his knowledge to his son Raimund, the Montafon table regained momentum – not least due to emerging tourism in the 60s.
According to him, the Juen family owns the oldest existing Montafon table, “This table is 200-years-old. In the room it is as stable and beautiful as it was on day one, despite its old age.”