A Craftsman's Perspective on Sustainability

We are wood craftsmen before we are designers or even furniture makers. Our relationship with the material is fundamental to what we do. If we have a mission, it is to develop an “Australian” way of approaching the use of our native timbers for fine furniture. Australian timbers, especially the eucalypts, are typically hard and “difficult” timbers. They are not necessarily “nice” to work with traditional hand tools such as hand planes and spoke shaves.

To this end, we are unashamedly wedded to using solid timber. If we require the use of veneer (usually to control natural timber movement) we make our own re-sawn veneer from the same stock as the rest of the project. This processes is time consuming and requires specialist equipment, but it delivers the best results.
We believe that the considered use of sustainably logged native (and international) timbers is wholly responsible. Our furniture is designed and constructed to last literally hundreds of years; that is how we can offer a lifetime guarantee on our work.


Where possible, we have developed relationships with our (Australian) timber suppliers “on the forest floor”; we know where the log came from, how it was milled and how it was seasoned. Where possible, we buy a particular log rather than random boards.

Figured Otway Blackwood

Acacia melanoxylon

Figured Otway blackwood is simply the best furniture timber available in Australia. It is the same species as Tasmanian blackwood, but is generally lighter in colour. It is sometimes referred to as Golden blackwood or Victorian blackwood.

Figure (also known as fiddleback) is a genetic and/or environmental feature in the wood that gives the timber a three dimensional quality. Figure is only found in a small percentage of logs, and the tighter the figure, the rarer it is. The ultimate figure is “raindrop” which looks like rain falling on a pool of water. Put crudely, the more figure a piece of wood has, the more expensive it will be.

Our Otway blackwood is sourced, milled and seasoned by Denis Brown of Corsair Sustainable Timbers, Yackandandah. All the logs come off private land. We believe Denis Brown is the best miller and dryer of Australian hardwoods in the country. His blackwood is not only the most beautiful timber, it is also the most stable and best handled

Otway Blackwood

Acacia melanoxylon

Our “normal” Otway blackwood is our most popular timber. It represents the top 10% of Mr. Brown’s production (see Figured Otway blackwood). Some boards may have traces of figure, but the deep golds and browns, coupled with the prominent grain, is what makes this timber so popular.

Blackwood loves our signature oil/varnish finish. Blackwood has a great “feel” and brings warmth into just about any space. We have successfully put blackwood furniture into simple cottages as well as the most modern architectural spaces; it is at home anywhere.

Redgum

Eucalyptus camaldulensis

River red gum is one of our favourite timbers. It is rock hard, difficult to work, full of gum veins, borer holes and worm lines, but we love it. Red gum has loads of character and almost every stick has some figure. We have developed strategies for dealing with red gum that have allowed us to make the best use of this extraordinary material.

River red gum is almost impossible to successfully slice into commercial veneer. It is occasionally available, but the veneer is pale, crumbly and poor quality. We use our custom built band re-saw to cut red gum veneers with astonishing results.

Properly handled, red gum furniture feels almost like stone rather than timber; it is cool, sleek and very tactile.

Myrtle

Nothofagus Cunninghamii

Tasmanian myrtle has a soft pink/orange colour and a beautiful warm glow. It is a delight to work and particularly suits delicate pieces such as cabinets and boxes. Although it is moderately hard, it tends to show up small dents and scratches, so we do not generally recommend it for dining tables (although it makes beautiful chairs).

Myrtle is extremely widely distributed in Tasmania and can be found from the coastline to the tree line. Extensive myrtle forests dominate the south-west National Parks of Tasmania. We source our myrtle from small independent millers such as Robert Mac Millan of Tasmanian Salvaged Timbers.

Jarrah

Eucalyptus marginata

Jarrah, a native of Western Australia, is one of Australia’s best known furniture timbers. These days Jarrah is only available from re-growth or private land. Jarrah is one of the “nicest” eucalypts from a craftsman’s perspective; it is a pleasure to work with either hand tools or machines.

Jarrah exhibits an extraordinary range of natural colours within the species; it can range from light cherry pink through to deep cooking chocolate brown. The timber is sometimes figured and occasionally “spotted”. 

Jarrah’s only real vice is its sensitivity to UV light; its colour fades and yellows over time in direct sunlight.

Rock Maple

Acer saccharum

Rock maple is a North American species and is the tree from which maple syrup is extracted. It is wide spread throughout the North East of the USA and Canada. Rock maple forests are among the best managed working forests in the world.

Rock maple is particularly resistant to wear and abrasion. This characteristic, combined with rock maple’s distinctive blond colour, is why we use quarter sawn stock for drawer internals. 

American White Oak

Quercus alba

American white oak is a straight grained, well behaved timber with little colour variation and very uniform strength. In many ways, it is everything that many Australian species aren’t. White oak is not as common as it once was, but new forest management practices have stabilized the supply in to the future.

We predominantly use white oak to make our waterfall stools. We have tried various light coloured timbers, including Victorian ash and Tasmanian Oak, but nothing we have found is as consistent, economical and appropriate as American white oak.
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