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Plain Table, Rare African wood

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Project by Div posted 09-19-2010 09:08 PM 2375 views 1 time favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

About a year and a half ago, a farmer approached me about some trees that were blown over on his farm. He wanted me to turn the trees into a dining table with benches. Well, I milled the logs, the boards air dried for over a year and this week I built the table and 6 five board benches. The table can seat 12 people and measure 2,4m x 1,3m.

The timber is Upright Yellowwood (Podocarpus latifolius) and is a much sought-after furniture wood in South Africa. It has been heavily exploited in the past, so much so that it is a protected species today. This timber was most extensively used during the early settlement period in South Africa as construction timber and great quantities were used for railway sleepers. Yellowwood also played an important role in the wagon trade. It became popular for use in furniture, and antique pieces in the Cape Dutch style can fetch very high prices. It was often used in conjunction with Stinkwood, another very fine South African timber. A permit is required to cut down even one tree, and heavy fines, even jail time are imposed on illegal cutting. The farmer played it straight and got the permit! The trees I milled were young in comparison to some of the magnificent specimens that still survive. These Grand Daddies are 800 – 1000 years old with trunk diameters of up to 3m.
I can’t imagine what the world was like 1000 years ago!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."





27 comments so far

View rivergirl's profile

rivergirl

3198 posts in 1585 days


#1 posted 09-19-2010 09:13 PM

Makes me want a tablesaw and planer really bad Div. :) Did you get to keep any of that wood for future projects?

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View Riz's profile

Riz

41 posts in 1578 days


#2 posted 09-19-2010 09:24 PM

What a great project. congrats

-- Paul "Riz" Erie, PA "Share your wisdom, it is the way to achieve immortality"

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1862 days


#3 posted 09-19-2010 09:27 PM

great table set Div.
and thank´s for the warningstory , I will try to ceep my hands in the pocket if I ever come down :-)

hope you still have something of it to your self :-) with a copy of the permit

thank´s for sharing
Dennis

View patron's profile

patron

13170 posts in 2088 days


#4 posted 09-19-2010 09:35 PM

well done div ,

straight forward and usefull

why no cut outs at the bottom
of the bench legs
so they don’t rocker
on high spots on the floor ?

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Flemming's profile

Flemming

417 posts in 1643 days


#5 posted 09-19-2010 09:39 PM

really nice table div.
and a great story, must have been a test of patience to leave that wood drying for a year.
great job! I hope the farmer’s pleased

-- Flemming. It's only a mistake if you can't fix it.

View Div's profile

Div

1653 posts in 1687 days


#6 posted 09-19-2010 09:51 PM

rivergirl Off course! I also have a good stash from some logs I bought on another occasion, legally! Soon you will start selling your beautiful benches, then you can buy some machines!

dennis thanks. When can we expect you!

patron I hear you David. The farmer insisted it be like that, even though I told him exactly what you said! Well, it is his wood and his money I take!

Hey Flemming You should know, we woodworkers are a patient bunch! Farmer is happy.

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View hein's profile

hein

28 posts in 2007 days


#7 posted 09-19-2010 10:00 PM

Very nice table. Pragtige geelhout.

View daltxguy's profile

daltxguy

1373 posts in 2661 days


#8 posted 09-19-2010 10:20 PM

Ditto on the podocarps found in New Zealand. They were also decimated for similar reason as in ZA. The most famous here is Rimu which was used for house framing and now prized by woodworkers.

Rimu harvest is now strictly controlled and house constructions has been replaced with radiata pine after is was practically cut to extinction.

You need a permit to harvest and the mill owner has to have a permit for milling that particular species.

Nice job, shame about the customer’s desires but also glad you got some for yourself.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1862 days


#9 posted 09-19-2010 10:34 PM

uuuh if I had that kind of money , you wuold be surpriced how fast I cuold show up on your doorstep
on a year world tour ….lol
there is just so many L Js and places I wuold like to see :-) not to mention the rare local wood
we don´t have a chance to see on our degree of latitude and longitude
well I gess it has to wait until I win the lotto…. :-(

take care
Dennis

View mafe's profile

mafe

9670 posts in 1836 days


#10 posted 09-19-2010 11:02 PM

Hi Div,
Very nice, and simple set, there are going to one happy farmer!
I love that it’s so straight forward, you know me by now. Less is?
But I would have loved that you used the same layout under the benches as the table – that the cross bar was between the legs, and not passing them… Then the table and benches would ‘match’ better I think (I only say this because you know I love you brother, and because you earlier have said you are open for critique (or how you spell that strange word)). Of course unless, this is a traditional South African way to make them.
But it’s beautiful, and if I had a big kitchen I would love a set like that in it.
My God, to have a sawmill like you, I can only dream!
Best thoughts to you my brother,
Mads

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View mafe's profile

mafe

9670 posts in 1836 days


#11 posted 09-19-2010 11:03 PM

Stop crying Dennis! We have so much wonderful wood – like pine… ;-)
No we have plenty, but it’s not so easy to get, and the darkest are probaly oak…
I laugh, Mads

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View patron's profile

patron

13170 posts in 2088 days


#12 posted 09-19-2010 11:21 PM

you could both come over here

we got NOTHING but pine

don’t even have a store
that sells exotics here anymore
in the whole state

denmark 16,621 sq. miles
new mexico 121,598 sq. miles
south africa 471,008 sq. miles

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View mafe's profile

mafe

9670 posts in 1836 days


#13 posted 09-19-2010 11:25 PM

David you got me, yes we have to stop crying, allways someone in a worse situation – imagine the guys on Greenland…
I would love to!
Best thoughts,
Mads

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View patron's profile

patron

13170 posts in 2088 days


#14 posted 09-19-2010 11:36 PM

don’t they have green trees there lol

maybe they are all under the snow ?

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Div's profile

Div

1653 posts in 1687 days


#15 posted 09-19-2010 11:45 PM

hein I’m gonna have to check you out, using strange words like that, boet!

daltxguy Interesting info on the Rimu. Will PM you soon about radiatta.

Mafe I hear what you say, and coming from an architect, I would expect nothing less! When working the wood for a living, many times one has to do what the customer wants and this farmer was very specific. He wanted a typical 5 board bench and that is that. So you give them what they want! Personally,I totally agree with what you say.

Patron I’m impressed, sharp with the figures there, sir! Just a pity that a very large part of that 471,008 is desert! We actually have very little indigenous hardwood and plantation Pine is used a lot. To prove it, I’ll soon post Pine furniture I’m busy with at the moment!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

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