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SapphirePine transforms California trees killed by drought & beetles into durable, modern furniture w/ stunning blue/orange/green hues.
SapphirePine transforms California trees killed by drought & beetles into durable, modern furniture w/ stunning blue/orange/green hues.
188 backers pledged $21,601 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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What is a prototype?

A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:

Proof of Concept

Explorations that test ideas and functionality.

Functional Prototype

Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.

Appearance Prototype

Looks like the final product, but is not functional.

Design Prototype

Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.

Production Prototype

Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.

0fef4b755ee28646236705f093791f75 original

Prototype Gallery

These photos and videos provide a detailed look at this project’s development.

If you love furniture that is stylish, functional, and aligned with your values, we're excited to introduce you to our project!

SapphirePine is the first social venture tackling wildfire hazard and climate change by transforming California trees killed by drought and bark beetles into industrial modern furniture with stunning blue, orange, and green highlights.

Happy people enjoying SapphirePine dining table and bench set (credit: Ella Teevan)
Happy people enjoying SapphirePine dining table and bench set (credit: Ella Teevan)

 

We launched SapphirePine in early 2017 and have built more than a dozen beautiful pieces of furniture to fulfill word-of-mouth orders. We've been bootstrapping and running lean, but without a bit of capital, a few key challenges will get in our way as we launch more publicly and increase demand. Specifically, we need a van so we can readily transport wood from our Sierra Nevada suppliers to our shop in Oakland and deliver finished products locally. We also need a supply of wood on-hand in our shop to speed up our order turnaround time. Finally, we need to buy a few key tools—track saws, clamps, a drill press—to help streamline our custom building process.

Here's a simple breakdown of how we plan to spend the $19,500 you're helping us raise here on Kickstarter:

By pledging your support to SapphirePine’s $19,500 Kickstarter campaign, you directly help increase our product quality and production—together, we can have a bigger impact solving the beetle-kill pine problem in California.

Drought and bark beetles have killed over 100m trees in California
Drought and bark beetles have killed over 100m trees in California

 

California's historic drought left in its wake more than 100 million dead, dry trees that are currently being left to burn or rot Sierra Nevada forests, where they have the potential to emit tons upon tons of greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide. Our climate and communities can't afford these risks.

The good news is that these trees don't need to go to waste. This wood is a durable building material, and it is imbued with stunning blue, orange, and green highlights (check our FAQ to  learn more about these natural colors).

SapphirePine's nautural beauty
SapphirePine's nautural beauty

 

SapphirePine, founded by longtime environmental and social advocates Sam Schabacker and Sandra Lupien, is introducing this wood as a durable, valuable, and uniquely beautiful building material. By building and marketing our functional, sturdy furniture, we're giving eco- and design-conscious people (you!) a way to both transform their home décor, and help California forests and communities at the same time. 

Our industrial modern SapphirePine designs are quintessentially California. We source all our pine from private properties in the Sierra Nevada. For our legs and bases, we use steel hand-fabricated in Oakland, where we live, design, and build all our SapphirePine furniture. We also use eco-friendly finishes for our designs. And by using wood that would otherwise go to waste, we're displacing the need to cut healthy trees.

We started working on SapphirePine in the Fall of 2016, and incorporated in March, 2017. Since then, we've received and fulfilled more than a dozen orders for SapphirePine coffee tables, side tables, benches, and dining tables, all of which are available to you as gifts when you pledge to support our Kickstarter campaign.

Through this process, we've spent hundreds of hours learning how to maximize the beauty of this durable, one-of-a-kind wood in gorgeous furniture.

SapphirePine live-edge coffee table
SapphirePine live-edge coffee table

 

SapphirePine side table with shelf
SapphirePine side table with shelf

 

SapphirePine bench with straight edge
SapphirePine bench with straight edge

 

SapphirePine dining table with live edge, shown with benches
SapphirePine dining table with live edge, shown with benches

 

We are grateful beyond words for the generous mentorship, advice, and feedback of so many people and organizations. And we are overwhelmed by the incredibly supportive community at University of California Berkeley, especially:

  • Our mentor, Sophi Martin at Blum Center for Developing Economies
  • Haas Dean's Start-up Seed Fund
  • Goldman School of Public Policy
  • SkyDeck
  • Berkeley Law New Business Counseling Practicum
  • Jacobs Center for Design Innovation
  • Big Ideas Berkeley
  • Global Social Venture Competition
  • LAUNCH
  • College of Natural Resources

With SapphirePine, we're not only crafting awesome furniture, we're also aiming to solve the beetle-kill pine problem at a larger scale. By showing off this colorful wood in our furniture, and engaging our marketing, communications, and policy backgrounds, we want to spark demand and promote policies that will enable wide use of this pine throughout California. We're truly interested in helping transform the tragedy into a beautiful solution. Please join us! Remember, by pledging support to our Kickstarter campaign, you’re doing good for California forests, communities, and the environment by helping SapphirePine bring this fantastic wood back to life!

Sandra Lupien and Sam Schabacker are both longtime environmental and social advocates with more than 30 years combined experience working in the non-profit and public sectors.

Sandra Lupien and Sam Schabacker, SapphirePine co-founders (credit: Ella Teevan)
Sandra Lupien and Sam Schabacker, SapphirePine co-founders (credit: Ella Teevan)

We met while working together for a couple years at a national environmental non-profit organization before deciding (separately) to attend graduate school (together) at UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy where we're just starting the second of a two-year program.  

So, what's with the furniture?

After building his family’s furniture from Colorado beetle-kill pine in 2016, Sam packed up a truck and moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area for grad school. On the way, he witnessed the exact same kind of tree die-off he'd seen in his home state--only worse--in the Sierra Nevada.

Sam building his furniture in Colorado, 2016
Sam building his furniture in Colorado, 2016

That's when Sam invited Sandra to team up to tackle the problem by making beautiful furniture out of some of these trees, instead of letting them go to waste. 

Sandra opted for grad school after a 20-year career in the non-profit and public sectors specifically to seek innovative ways to address climate change. As such, she jumped at the opportunity collaborate with Sam to help reduce the wildfire and carbon dioxide emissions hazard of leaving these trees to burn or rot in the forest.

Sandra finishing a Sapphire Pine coffee table (credit: Lexi Reinhanian)
Sandra finishing a Sapphire Pine coffee table (credit: Lexi Reinhanian)

With the help and support of many mentors, friends, and family members (people like, and possibly including, you!), we founded SapphirePine in early 2017.  

We see SapphirePine as an opportunity to put our woodworking and carpentry experiencing and training to use building beautiful industrial modern furniture that helps you transform your home décor, while doing something good for California forests at the same time.

But we also aim to plant the seed for a larger-scale solution to environmental and public safety problems associated with the massive tree die-off in California. That’s where our backgrounds and training in communications, outreach, organizing, and policy advocacy come into play. We hope that by introducing this wood as a beautiful, durable building material, we will help catalyze demand that helps truly transform this tragedy into a sustainable solution.

We are working hard to build SapphirePine and are having tons of fun and learning so many things in the process!

Thank you for supporting us through Kickstarter and being part of the SapphirePine solution!

SapphirePine live-edge dining table with straight-edge bench set (credit: Ella Teevan)
SapphirePine live-edge dining table with straight-edge bench set (credit: Ella Teevan)

  

Risks and challenges

Although we are building and selling, our lack of seed capital is causing long turnaround times, a major transportation problem, and limitations on what types of pieces we're able to produce and market. We've been openly communicating with our customers and managing expectations about delivery time lines. But, as demand increases, if left unaddressed, these three key challenges will become significant barriers to our ability to meet that demand and grow. We launched this $19,500 Kickstarter campaign to help us overcome these challenges as follows.

We build and sell in the San Francisco Bay Area, and our wood supply is in the Sierra Nevada. Given that we currently lack the capital to have an on-hand inventory of wood at our Oakland shop, we've been driving back and forth more than is practical (or environmentally optimal) in order to pick up a couple of slabs at a time. If the wood hasn't been dried, we must then take it to a kilning facility. Once it's dry, and back in our shop in Oakland, it must acclimate to the higher Bay Area humidity before we can work with the wood. This one- (or two- or three-) off approach slows our order turnaround time significantly. That's why we're raising funds on Kickstarter for a 6-8 month supply of dried slabs. Having this wood on-hand in our shop would give us the ability to decrease by about half the time between product order and delivery. It would also reduce dramatically the time we spend shuttling around wood--time we can use to market, build furniture, and increase our impact.

We're also limited by lack of adequate transportation. To pick up or move wood, or to make deliveries, we either have to rent a van or truck or use Sam's Honda CRV. The former is expensive and time-consuming, and the latter constrains our ability to make pieces larger than 6' x 3'. We're seeking funds through Kickstarter to buy a van that will enable us to transport what we need, when we need it, making it possible for us to fulfill a broader range of orders more efficiently.

Finally, our lack of some key tools--track saws, a drill press, enough (can one ever have enough) clamps--slows down our building process, and also limits the design features we're able to offer.

Addressing these challenges now enables SapphirePine ramp up our marketing knowing that we'll be able to meet increased demand over the next 6-8 months. That success will open up other funding options that will allow SapphirePine to grow and increase our impact.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Social media shout-out

    We'll declare our enthusiastic gratitude to you on SapphirePine's Facebook page

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Thank-you Card

    We'll engage our fallen-from-glory handwriting to pen a personalized thank-you card, and send it to you via -- get this -- snail mail.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    SapphirePine Bookmark

    We're making these little bookmarks just for Kickstarter to share our gratitude with you for your $35 pledge.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    SapphirePine Coasters -- Set of 4

    Because tree rings are so much nicer without coffee rings, we'll thank you for your $50 pledge with a set of four SapphirePine coasters. Your coasters will differ from the models pictured in our gallery -- they'll be square, about 1/4" thick, and with nice smooth edges.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    SapphirePine Breadboard

    For your $100 pledge, we'll express our thanks with this great addition to your dining space. These boards show off SapphirePine's colors beautifully. You can expect your board to be about 16" x 9" and about 1/2-3/4" thick with smoother edges that what you see in the picture in our gallery.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    The package

    For your $200 pledge, we'll thank you with this nifty package including a SapphirePine bread board, coasters set, bookmark, thank-you card, and social media shout-out. Woohoo!

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    Pledge $617 or more About $617

    Early Bird: SapphirePine Side Table

    This is a special for early-birds! With your pledge of $617, you'll be among the first to own a SapphirePine bed- or sofa-side table! We'll start with uniquely beautiful slabs of our SapphirePine wood, and collaborate with you to design to your needs. You'll select between satin or epoxy eco-finish for the wood, and choose the color and sheen of your table base. Your SapphirePine side table will transform your decor and help California forests and communities at the same time!

    Note: This pledge amount applies to a tabletop no larger than 18" x 18" with an optional lower shelf and SapphirePine's standard steel cube base design. Additional costs may apply for larger sizes or different leg designs.

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    Pledge $650 or more About $650

    SapphirePine Side Table

    With your pledge of $650, you'll be among the first to a SapphirePine bed- or sofa-side table! We'll start with uniquely beautiful slabs of our SapphirePine wood, and collaborate with you to design to your needs. You'll select between satin or epoxy eco-finish for the wood, and choose the color and sheen of your table base. Your SapphirePine side table will transform your decor and help California forests and communities at the same time!

    Note: This pledge amount applies to a tabletop no larger than 18" x 18" with an optional lower shelf and SapphirePine's standard steel cube base design. Additional costs may apply for larger sizes or different leg designs.

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    Pledge $807 or more About $807

    Early Bird: SapphPine Coffee Table/Bench

    This is a special for early birds! With your pledge of $807, you'll be among the first to own a SapphirePine coffee table or bench! We'll start with a uniquely beautiful 2" thick slab of our SapphirePine wood, and collaborate with you to design to your needs. You'll select between live edge or straight edge for the top, satin or epoxy eco-finish, and the color and sheen of your table or bench legs. Your SapphirePine furniture will transform your decor and help California forests and communities at the same time!

    Note: This pledge amount applies to a coffee table with a tabletop no larger than 50" x 24" or to a bench no longer than 72" x 16" with SapphirePine's standard steel rectangular legs. Additional costs may apply for larger sizes or different leg designs. For indoor use only.

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    Reward no longer available 2 backers
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  10. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $850 or more About $850

    SapphirePine Coffee Table or Bench

    With your pledge of $850, you'll be among the first to own a SapphirePine coffee table or bench! We'll start with a uniquely beautiful 2" thick slab of our SapphirePine wood, and collaborate with you to design to your needs. You'll select between live edge or straight edge for the top, satin or epoxy eco-finish, and the color and sheen of your table or bench legs. Your SapphirePine furniture will transform your decor and help California forests and communities at the same time!

    Note: This pledge amount applies to a coffee table with a tabletop no larger than 50" x 24" or to a bench no longer than 72" x 16" with SapphirePine's standard steel rectangular legs. Additional costs may apply for larger sizes or different leg designs. For indoor use only.

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    Pledge $1,472 or more About $1,472

    SapphirePine Bench Pair

    Special for early birds! With your pledge of $1,472, you'll be among the first to own a pair of SapphirePine benches! We'll start with uniquely beautiful 2" thick slabs of our SapphirePine wood, and collaborate with you to design to your needs. You'll select between live edge or straight edge for the seating surfaces, satin or epoxy eco-finish, and the color and sheen of your table legs. Your SapphirePine benches will transform your decor and help California forests and communities at the same time!

    Note: This pledge amount applies to a pair of benches no longer than 72" x 16" with SapphirePine's standard steel rectangular legs. Additional costs may apply for larger sizes or different leg designs. For indoor use only.

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    Pledge $1,550 or more About $1,550

    Design & Build it With Us!

    If you've always wanted to build your own coffee table or side table, here's an awesome opportunity to it with us--using our beautifully unique SapphirePine wood. You'll collaborate closely with Sam and Sandra on the design of your table, and then join us in our Oakland shop when it's time to cut, finish, and assemble your new table.

    Note: This pledge amount applies to a side table with a tabletop no larger than 18" x 18" with an optional lower shelf and SapphirePine's standard steel cube base design, OR to a coffee table with a tabletop no larger than 50" x 24" and with SapphirePine's standard steel rectangular legs. Additional costs may apply for larger sizes or different leg designs. For indoor use only.

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    Pledge $1,550 or more About $1,550

    SapphirePine Bench Pair

    With your pledge of $1,550, you'll be among the first to own a pair of SapphirePine benches! We'll start with uniquely beautiful 2" thick slabs of our SapphirePine wood, and collaborate with you to design to your needs. You'll select between live edge or straight edge for the seating surfaces, satin or epoxy eco-finish, and the color and sheen of your table legs. Your SapphirePine benches will transform your decor and help California forests and communities at the same time!

    Note: This pledge amount applies to a pair of benches no longer than 72" x 16" with SapphirePine's standard steel rectangular legs. Additional costs may apply for larger sizes or different leg designs. For indoor use only.

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    Ships to Only United States
    Reward no longer available 0 backers
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    Pledge $2,897 or more About $2,897

    Early Bird: SapphirePine Dining Table

    This is a special for early birds! With your pledge of $2,897, you'll be among the first to own a SapphirePine dining table! We'll start with a uniquely beautiful 2" thick slab of our SapphirePine wood, and collaborate with you to design to your needs. You'll select between live edge or straight edge for the tabletop, satin or epoxy eco-finish, and the color and sheen of your table legs. By bringing a SapphirePine dining table into your home, you'll transform your decor and help California forests and communities at the same time!

    NOTE: This pledge amount applies to a dining table with a tabletop no larger than 72" x 36" with SapphirePine's standard steel rectangular legs. Additional costs may apply for larger sizes or different leg designs. For indoor use only.

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    Reward no longer available 0 backers
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  15. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $3,050 or more About $3,050

    SapphirePine Dining Table

    With your pledge of $3,000, you'll be among the first to own a SapphirePine dining table! We'll start with a uniquely beautiful 2" thick slab of our SapphirePine wood, and collaborate with you to design to your needs. You'll select between live edge or straight edge for the tabletop, satin or epoxy eco-finish, and the color and sheen of your table legs. By bringing a SapphirePine dining table into your home, you'll transform your decor and help California forests and communities at the same time!

    NOTE: This pledge amount applies to a dining table with a tabletop no larger than 72" x 36" with SapphirePine's standard steel rectangular legs. Additional costs may apply for larger sizes or different leg designs. For indoor use only.

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    Ships to Only United States
    Reward no longer available 0 backers
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  16. Select this reward

    Pledge $6,000 or more About $6,000

    The VIP Package w/ Dining Table

    This is the fun and hands-on path to a SapphirePine dining table. We'll take you to visit our Sierra Nevada supplier with stops at local points-of-interest along the way. You'll hand-select the slab you'd like. We'll turn it into a beautiful dining table according to your specs.

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Funding period

- (34 days)