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Latest News – July 2016

Hello all

It is high time for a winter newsletter. So without further ado, here is a quick canter through what we have been up to at Rare Woods, as well as some thoughts on how to save a bit of money on a couple of noteworthy species…

New racks & showroom refresh

It has been a long and sometimes painful process, but we have now completed the task of replacing our ageing timber racks with brand new steel ones. As well as neatening up the place, this has given us the opportunity to refresh a lot of rack stock and to ensure that rack allocation reflects current market demands.

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Our expanded showroom area with refreshed samples (new racks in background)

As part of this process we have allocated even more space to our showroom, allowing us to display a number of Specials prominently in bins in the front. This, along with refreshed samples, has created a space even better suited to browsing and enjoying wood in all of its magnificent forms. If you haven’t been in for a while I would urge you to come and have a look.

Focus on: Quartersawn Oregon

We stock a full range of Oregon – from wide, Clear grade boards for flooring, to massive 100 x 300mm x 6m “Merchantable” grade beams. Amongst the c.500m3 of stock is a hidden gem of an item, particularly for the joiners out there, as well as anyone making cottage or reclaimed-style furniture…

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Oregon Pine is certainly the star of this concert hall in Kent, UK. It is also used extensively in the concert hall of the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town due to its fantastic tonal qualities 

…Specifically, we still have a large amount of fixed width, quartersawn merchantable grade stock that we picked up a number of years ago when a large manufacturer switched their production to a different species. This stock offers some great advantages:

  • Dimensional stability > Quarter-sawing (aka vertical grain) produces a more stable board than flat-sawn equivalents. This is the key reason why it is an ideal option for joiners
  • Less wastage > Because it is fixed-width, it is perfectly suited to volume production, with reduced waste versus random-width stock
  • Great price! > Having bought in bulk (and in a completely different era in terms of rand-dollar relations!) we can pass this value on to you. Typically we are selling this stock at c.30% less than equivalent newer merchantable stock
This video gives a helpful animation of the quarter-sawing process. It focuses on the particular figure that is produced when cutting Oak in this way – namely pronounced medullary rays – but the process itself is equally applicable to other species.

Focus on: Some alternative Maple variants

Maple is another perennially popular North American species, favoured for its light, ethereal colour and figure – ranging from an understated crown cut, to wilder Curly, Tiger, Quilted and Birdseye flavours. These can be used to great effect either on their own, or in combination with a darker timber like Walnut.
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A beautiful chest in Curly & Birdseye Maple by Botha & Barnard

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…and a great use of Maple in contrast with Walnut in this bench by TONIC Design

The species of Maple most typically used in South Africa is known as Hard Maple (Acer saccharum), which is famous as the source of Maple syrup.

Less well known is that there are a number of other Maple species that are collectively sold as “Soft Maple”. Although softer than Hard Maple, these species are not overly delicate, typically measuring c. 800lb/inch on the Janka Hardness Scale, which is roughly equivalent to Mahogany (see here for more details).

We carry Soft Maple in all thicknesses, and with pricing c.20% lower than Hard Maple, it may well be worth considering for your next project.

We also stock Ambrosia Maple (sometimes known as Wormy Maple).  This is the term given to Maple that has been attacked by the Ambrosia beetle and infected by a fungus as a result. This hardly sounds appealing (!) but actually results in an attractive decorative feature which is appreciated by many. The pricing on this item is also very keen at c. 35% less than prime Hard Maple.

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This drum from the Goodman Drum Company perfectly demonstrates the attraction of Ambrosia Maple
Finally, please also bear in mind that we have a great range of lesser grades in Maple, including Comsels & 2 Common grades. Of course those grades have significantly more defects than Prime grade timber, but at c. 50-60% lower pricing, they may be just the ticket!

With around 300m3 of Maple currently in stock – across Hard, Soft, Curly, Birdseye, Brown and Ambrosia variants, and a full range of grades and thicknesses (including 76mm) – we are sure to have something to suit your requirement.

Other snippets and specials

To finish off, here are few other quick points which may prove of interest:
  • We are undertaking a big clearance of “ex-racks” Iroko and African Mahogany bundles at the moment. This is timber that has been cleared off our racks to make way for new stock and is available at steep discounts. Please enquire with our sales team should this be of interest
  • We have been fortunate to secure another small parcel of Imbuia that had been gathering dust in a garage. In it are some magnificent 50mm pieces up to 600mm wide
  • Arriving shortly will be the first new container-load of genuine Burmese Teak that we have received in over five years. With the local yacht-building industry showing a real resurgence we felt that the time was right to invest and support that growth, regardless of the astronomical cost. We may need to hire a SWAT team to protect those bundles though!
  • Finally, our kilns are full of magnificent 38 & 50mm Kiaat – some of the best we have ever seen. This stock will be available for sale in a week or two and along with our large stocks of 26mm, mean that we have a world-beating Kiaat offer. Please come in and see for yourself, and take advantage of our constant special pricing on Shorts.
That’s it for now…. All the best for the rest of winter and hope to see you soon.

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    Volume Primer

    Our bulk packs are sold in units of volume. (1 pack = 0.1m3).
    Depending on thickness and length you select, you will get a different effective total width. Depending on the widths we select, you will also get a different number of pcs.

    For example, 0.1m3 of 2.45m lengths will get you the following +- TOTAL WIDTH and +- PCS (assuming an average piece width of 140mm) for each thickness:


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