I recently returned from a trip to England, Belgium and France. After leaving England and the historic naval dockyards in Portsmouth and touring the battlegrounds of the first world war in Belgium to pay my respects, the next stop was Paris which was destined from the start to be the highlight of my holiday. To some Paris may be the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, or the palace at Versailles….............
They are fine and I did see them but the real attraction for me this trip was an old building out on Rue Gallieni where some of the last sawn veneer in the world can be found. I won’t get into singing the praises of this stuff here but suffice to say that at about ten times the price Hof the common sliced veneer we see here it is pretty special.
You would never think, looking at the outside of the building, what a treasure it holds within. The veneers are spectacular and the saw that cuts it is a real treat to a woodworker’s eyes.
I know that a better video of “la scie au bois montant” (the saw of the rising wood) exists and has been posted on LJ’s already but while very similar, this one is special (to me anyway) ..... I took it myself.
In this piece the wood being cut is an ebony. The veneer is the piece with the clip attached to it and the vertical log is very slowly rising up into the blade. It’s easy to see that this is a much more time consuming operation than slicing would be. Also seen in this clip are two people at the very end. The one making the “V” sign is none other than our own LJ in Paris, Thomas (aka sodabowski hereabouts) and the one at the very end is the very friendly and accommodating Frederic George.
Having seen the saw we got down to work. We walked through the mind boggling warehouse of rare and exotic woods in log, plank and veneer form and all the way down at the end we descended down a little ramp into “le cave” the cool cellar where the fine veneers are kept. Just when I thought I had reached the inner sanctum of this woodworker’s holy place, Frederic slid open a sliding door at one end of the small dim room revealing an even smaller, darker one. “Would you like to start with ebony?” he said.
At this point I have to stop and thank Thomas because Frederic didn’t say the above in English. I speak enough French to get by and Frederic speaks probably as much English but the whole process was greatly facilitated by having a translator who was fluent in both.
Now I’ll let the pictures tell the rest.
This is “le cave” where the sawn veneers live. The sliding door with the sign on it leads to “le cave de l’ébene”.
Frederic George shows me some nice placages de l’ébene.
Thomas picks through what may be the most exotic and expensive “scrap bin” I’ve ever seen.
Thank you Thomas.
Now comes the hard part. I have to wait a couple of weeks for it all to arrive. I’ll post some pictures when it does.
Thanks for looking in.
-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/