Timbers We Use
From its inception Boranup Furniture made the decision to specialise in solid timber furniture made only from those timbers unique to our area. It was our ambition to develop a special niche industry that blended these world class timbers with timeless and clean line designs ( today known as minimilistic design) allowing the combinations of these wonderful timbers to stand proud in the presentation of these pieces. Today the furniture of the Margaret River region has its own distinctive style and flavour highly regarded and sort over by collectors around the world.
Traditionally these timbers were sourced from a large variety of suppliers and places including the numerous small family owned mills scattered throughout the South West. Supplementing this supply we scavenged from the forest floor carting in heavy and labour intensive chainsaw mills and manhandling out majestic sawn slabs and burl slices. We combed the demolition sites including 100year old wool-stores or old bridges which yielded rich prizes of aged large dimensioned timbers not seen today.
Recently cleared road reserves or Electrical line corridors also were rich in felled logs as were the local farms who often had large paddock timbers felled by our savage winter storms, some logs were of such immense size that they were left whole as they were to large for the farmer to deal with.
Today is a different storey with most local mills enticed by the government in 2005 to accept an industry exit pay out and close their doors. Architects, builders and furniture makers around Australia compete for the trickle of demolition timbers coming through making the price prohibitive and strict restrictions on farm clearing has reduced the supply from local farms. Underground power and decreasing road expenditure also has greatly reduced this source leaving the future for traditional solid timber construction uncertain.
The Forest Production Commission ( FPC) was established by the State Government to monitor, regrow and manage our depleting forests. When the FPC closed the local mills it was a blow to the fine wood industry trying to get traction and recognition of their endeavours in the market place.
The government recognised the impact to our industry caused by mill closures and clawed back log quotas from those few mills left operating and offered these sort after log quotas to the Fine Wood Industry through a tender process. Boranup Furniture was selected out of a field of hundreds, recognised for its immense level of value adding to this precious resource and was awarded one of only five timber allocations.
Boranup Furniture was awarded 65 Ton of Jarrah, 50 Ton of Marri and 50 Ton of Blackbutt per year but wasn’t just any timber. The timber was called “High Grade Feature” and had to be the best available in the state.
Today we get notified by the FPC when a large rare log is found whereby we drive to its location, usually in a remote area of bush and inspect it prior to purchase. The FPC are doing a fine job of forestry management where they now walk through an area designated for milling and carefully select those trees to be milled effectively thinning the forest allowing for rapid regrowth of the saplings that had been getting smothered. There is no dramatic clear felling and their process now have minimal impact. The largest of these thinned logs are offered to those few companies like ourselves that were lucky enough to be awarded a quota.
The result of this government initiative can now be seen in the Timber storage shed at Boranup that is home to over 300 cubic meters of a variety of highly selected timbers air drying awaiting there selection for Kiln drying and ultimately that conversion into a fine bit of furniture. Ask our staff to direct you to this shed, it is worth a look.
Veneers vs. Solid Timber
Either has merit but we at Boranup had a vision of establishing ourselves as a leader in Fine Furniture production from solid timber and will stick to our values and customer expectations. We cherish the fun and satisfaction from identifying the attributes attached to one of our many bits of timber and drawing out those features making them shine in the finished article specifically designed around those features.
Whilst our industry colleagues are shifting towards veneers to extend the life of there dwindling timber supplies, we have worked hard and strategically planned to cater for our needs for decades ahead.
In saying that we have learnt from our experience that veneers do have a role to play, in particular in drawer bottoms. Due to the expansion if solid timber is used in large thin panels “popping” the sides of drawers can occur.
The Hallmark of Boranup Furniture is the feature burl panels in drawers, doors and side panels throughout our desks and sideboards. Burlwood is definitely a dwindling resource that will be unavailable in the very imminent future. The nature of the grain makes the thin slices brittle and unstable unless filled and stabilised with epoxy resins. Because of Burlwoods rarity and fragile nature we are now milling it in 6mm slices and laminating it onto stable custom wood. This provides for a very stable and stronger product whilst also stretching the resource often allowing us to make all the panels in a set of furniture from a single burl.