History #4: Egypt… Rebuilding Wood Culture

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Blog entry by VobliX posted 12-15-2014 06:08 PM 1917 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
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From the time of ancient Egypt, the country has pioneered the use of wood in design, even though it’s a country of no forests and almost no woodlands. In a time when modern has become a little overused, ASK Magazine has found a modern day example reviving the country’s rich craftsmanship, especially when it comes to wood. CAT Egypt is one such factory which believes in adding value in every home by adding wood and design to add quality to every square meter of property you have.

Sometimes people make the best use of things that they hold up in value even if it’s always in short supply. Egypt has long been a country without forests, with its arid deserts and its fertile Nile Valley extending from Mediterranean all the way down to the country’s border with Sudan. Yet, ironically wood has always been held in high regard by both all those who value the aesthetic advantage that this material offers to its users.

CAT Egypt for Furniture and Wood products was originally started as a family business gaining a multinational reputation in the market, especially among its local and foreign clients, most importantly through its eye for quality, bringing back the country’s rich tradition in Egyptian craftsmanship, especially when it comes to the excellent use of raw materials such as wood.

Our interview with Karim Mahrous will reveal CAT, now celebrating its 29th anniversary in the market, has found its niche in a market which values what it really means to have quality natural wood with quality craftsmanship. “My family has been working in this field for many years,” said Mahrous. “We are very selective about the kind of woods we use and our skilled workers. It all gives the final product an added value which you wouldn’t see anywhere else.”

The company works many different types of wood materials, importing only the best that the global market has to offer. Soft wood (with soft surfaces such as pine wood for example) and hard woods (with hard surfaces such as oak, beach wood) are the two main types that exist in the market and the material that is used is based on customer demand. CAT goes a step beyond in importing and working more unusual woods to the Egyptian market in order to satisfy its vision of creating the best and most valuable products.

Technological integration, in the whole process, has become an integral component to the whole way CAT does its work. The production process now involves a mechanized machinery called CNC Machining Centers. CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control and Machining Centers are the most complex type for woodworking. As the name indicates, they are large machines that have the capacity to carry out several woodworking operations accurately. CAT’s endless desire to manufacture the finest wood products forced the company to acquire two of the largest and most advanced CNC machines in Egypt, through which the patterns are programed into the system and cuts out the shapes they need in order to put together a pattern. Hence, the company can do a myriad of different projects being residential, commercial, and religious.

Churches in Egypt have always been an impressive spectacle of Egypt’s religious past which like mosques use the geometrical patterns in wood to infuse the interior with an ancient sense of elegance. The most impressive display of the company’s craftsmanship recently was its work on a massive church pillar made out of the most impressive natural woods, including the geometrical patterns of Egypt’s rich Coptic era. CAT has been working on both building new churches and reviving old ones, and one of the company’s most notable works is its project at the Coptic Patriarch’s new Coptic Culture Center near the Cathedral being one of the main monuments in the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church worldwide. Geometrical patterns are created by a mixture of different woods within one frame. For example, a frame is made out of hard oak wood, with smaller patterns created out of black walnut, yet the white components are composed of Maple wood. The company has also been involved in several residential projects including that of key figures in business – mostly intricate wood flooring and massively sized windows and doors..

Now with a global market valuing classical elegance at its best CAT Egypt is particularly popular among its international clients, especially in Russia where there is a specific fondness of the classicism offered by the complex woodworks done by CAT Egypt. For this reason, CAT Egypt is constantly on call to some of the finest works for its clients.

Yet, CAT is also facing the same challenges in the industry in some aspects. With a market of massive production, consumers tend to have a preference for cheap imported furniture products which are a result of mass production. In addition, there is also a deficiency in the supply of skilled workers specialized in working with wood since the quality of educational and vocational institutes offering these types of training in Egypt have deteriorated significantly. Nonetheless, In essence, it’s the handmade aspect of products which really add value to the quality of a product. At least for many who love cars, it makes the difference between what it means to own a luxurious Bentley and a regular Hyundai.

Examples of decorative wood carving can be found at

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#1 posted 12-23-2014 01:08 PM

I like the above wood work. Once can also see some nice wood work at New South Wales.

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