New Zealand farmers started draining the swamps
between 40 and 60 years ago to turn it into farmland.
Now it is possible to dig with a 21 Ton digger. The difficulties are, we
know Kauri is there but we don't know how much is present and in what
condition. When too close to the surface the rotting of the Kauri
happens and that is why digging is costly and not always successful as
Jaap is interested in the stumps (bottom part of the tree).
Logs will be milled and sold to classic furniture makers. Jaap retains
the root system with the rich colour and beautiful pattern.
This stump was completely under the ground, look at the hole we had to
dig to get this one out.
It takes two heavy machines to move this stump out of the field. There
is a cable between the stump and the bulldozer as well.
Can you imagine that there used to be a forest here?
Look at the size of this log the guy is standing on!!
Here the wood is cleaned from large mud patches.
All the wood is cleaned with the water blaster before cutting or else
the tools get blunt very quick.
We can only get one solid table out
of this large stump.
Since 1983 Jaap has been making freeform tables,
sculptures, mirror frames, and clocks. The trees that once towered above
the landscape provide lounge-sized root structures for Jaap to work
with. Such a root system will usually produce just one coffee table.
"It is not simple" he says. "The first cut is critical, I love it, it's
like cutting a gem stone.
This is the start of a very large solid table. It is not often that the
we find such a great piece of timber!
All wood is cut in the field before transporting it back to the dry
Can you see the table taking shape?
This is the beginning of a table with three feet (upside down here)
The wood is left to dry for 2 years before being carved into shape by a
chainsaw and carver. The drying process consists of kiln drying which
brings the moisture contents down to 9% which is a world standard for
furniture timber. The timber will be treated with a durable epoxy resin
in a complicated penetration process that Jaap has developed him self to
stabilize the timber.
After the drying we start to shape the furniture following natural
The tables than go to an endless sanding process and finished with a
heat resistant and a very durable coat on the surface to withstand heat.
This gives the product a beautiful look and low maintenance.
After spending months creating
one table Jaap admits he often finds it difficult to sell them. " My
wife always complains I don't keep the best ones, but I guess when
you're making a living from them you can't afford to keep many," he
says. The finish and uniqueness of the tables add a great value to your
investment as it will become a family heirloom .
This is what the wood looks like after all the treatment. Can you
imagine that this rich wood has been in the ground for those many years?
After this long time of preservation we can now enjoy the beauty of
As John Keats once wrote "A thing of
beauty is a joy forever", "It's loveliness increases".