Impressive New Stand Maker in Portland-

Austin Heitzman called me up last fall and immediately caught my attention with the question, ‘I’m a furniture maker in Portland, have some bonsai of my own, and I’d like to begin making bonsai stands; would it be ok to come by for a yard visit and talk about stands for bonsai?’ Heck yes!

Since then I’ve come to have a deep respect for the passion Austin has for wood and his award-winning furniture designs. Last week he dropped off a couple of small prototype stands—his first efforts—in my studio and I thought I’d share them with everyone. He tried a stone insert in the top of one, and used live-edge pieces on the sides to explore traditional bonsai stand design with a few dips into his own territory. He also brought one nice jita (slab/burl) with perfect thickness and finish. I thought the results of both were simply beautiful. He’s got so many other ideas yet to explore that I’m really stoked to see them in the flesh! Wood. Whatever.

Please take a look at Austin’s website:


View of live edge sides. English and black walnut, black marble top.


This stone top is removable, for other stone color options. We both liked the black one best.


Frontal view retains traditional proportions.


As it looks with a tree.


I really like the reflection of the pot in the stone top for its feeling of depth. Maybe some would not like this…but I think Austin as a lot of different designs planned.


Small cherry burl jita with accent plant.


  1. Al Polito says:

    Really nice work!

  2. Jeffrey Robson says:

    Michael – love them. By the way – chojubai?

  3. Karen VunKannon says:

    Fabulous stands. It is so wonderful to see truly American-style bonsai stands developing here in the Northwest.

  4. beautiful! I might have to have him make me wall-mounted cat steps!

  5. dangerousbry says:

    Reblogged this on DangerousBry's Blog and commented:
    These are just stunning!!!! 🙂

  6. Ray says:

    very creative personality. wood crafting to a new level

  7. Zack Clayton says:

    Beautiful. Love the live edge sides.

  8. Scott Tice says:

    Interesting twist, and a refreshing escape from tradition. Bravo!

  9. Andrew says:

    These are so nice. You did not say whether or not they are your design or the makers, maybe a bit of both. Either way, they are lovely.
    Be nice to know a price range, are we talking arm and a leg?

    • crataegus says:

      They are Austin’s designs. And as that was the very first bonsai stand he’d ever made, I’m very excited to see what he comes up with next.
      The stand shown on the web is $325. I’ll try to post more in the future as well.

  10. John Sonksen says:

    Michael, these are very nice looking. I am also a woodworker here in Portland, I was on the Bonsai Village tour with you. I’m slowly getting my own personal shop set up and have been thinking about building stands for awhile too. Maybe sometime I can pick your brain too?

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