From Tree Trunk to Furniture

 

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 shed.

 


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 patterns.

 


 

 

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 nature.

 

As John Keats once wrote "A thing of beauty is a joy forever", "It's loveliness increases".