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Latest News – Nov 2015

Hello all

Hope you are all enjoying the busy season and the start of summer coming through. In our business this time of year brings it’s own unique reminders:

    • Reminder 1: Turn off the (mega expensive!) kilns and let nature do some of the work, air-drying Kiaat, Rosewood and Teak. Eskom can make its money off air conditioners for a change.
    • Reminder 2: Make sure to trim the grass around the factories so an errant bushfire doesn’t wipe us out! (we came a little too close in January)

Having completed those two, let me now take the opportunity to let you know what else has been going on…

Slabs – Slabs – Slabs

We have been patiently working on building up our stock of slabs over recent months, and now believe we have our best ever selection to offer you, including:

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Offloading our latest shipment of assorted slabs
    • Most recently, a shipment of enormous Leadwood, Matumi, Jakkalsbessie and Sand Kiaat pieces – 80mm thick, typically 4m+ in length and widths from 700mm to 1m. Most have been in the kiln for 6 weeks or more, so moisture content has been significantly reduced and they are ready to work. All are spectacular, but the Leadwood in particular will blow you away.  Amongst them are some very unusual ‘banana shape’ pieces which are crying out to be made into a unique bar or front reception counter.
    • Beautiful Ironwood – probably the best we’ve ever had.  Pieces are 50 & 60mm thick, lengths up to 4m, and widths of 400-500mm. This is one of our most spectacular indigenous timbers and is only available in small quantities due to careful management of the limited Tsitsikamma forest resources.
    • Outeniqua Yellowwood / Kalander – we have always stocked a number of decent sized slabs, with thicknesses of 60-80mm, long lengths and widths of 500-650mm. To this we have recently added a number of truly huge pieces, 110mm thick, with widths up to a metre and lengths of 4m+. Give us a ring if you would like to reserve one of these rare monoliths.

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Two Bubinga slabs on display in Epping
  • Bubinga – we still have an excellent stock of Bubinga slabs in all shapes and sizes, from “coffee table” size, to “bar counter” size, to “dining room table” size. After becoming increasingly concerned about “The Behemoth” – our biggest single piece – we have now sent it away to be strengthened and to have some large cracks filled with lead. The resultant semi-finished piece will be on display in Epping soon.

A lucky find – Pommele Sapele

Once in a while we literally do find buried treasure, and this is one such time. While pulling Sapele Mahogany a few weeks back, one of our salesmen spotted a piece with unusual figure – clearly visible, despite it being a rough sawn piece of timber.  He wisely squirreled it away and sure enough – on planing – some incredible Pommele figure was revealed. For timber lovers like us, this is the equivalent of finding a white truffle in our backyard!

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We hope to see our prized piece turned into something like this

The term ‘Pommele’ derived from the French word for ‘apple’, and refers to the shape of the figure pattern. Besides decorative furniture, Pommele Sapele has also been successfully used to make stunning acoustic guitars.

The piece we found is just wide enough to make bookmatched backs and side sets. Are there any guitar makers out there who would be interested if we manufactured a few?

Beautiful Boire floor
I have had a side project – a house renovation – that has been occupying a fair amount of time over recent months. The project has presented the opportunity to explore some of our lesser-known stock, but undoubtedly the one that I have been most enthusiastic about is using our Boire (Detarium senegalense) as flooring in the living room, entrance hall and staircase. 

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Boire: warm reddish brown tone and lively figure

We have highlighted Boire before, but it is worth a brief reminder: the timber originates in West Africa and is a rich reddish-brown with exciting figure. In its home range of Senegal and surrounding countries, it is far better known for its nutritious fruit called Ditax (similar to a tamarind), than for its timber. With 90% of the limited timber production going directly into the veneer trade, it took us over 10 years to source and remains one of our most cherished lines, albeit still largely unknown in the South African timber market.  

It is available in wide planks that are well suited to flooring production, and hopefully the photos attest to it being something truly special. At a price similar to Cherry, Yellowwood or Iroko, it should be a definite consideration for someone looking for something out of the ordinary. 

Inflation busters & clearance specials
Much like our esteemed rugby coach, the rand has been a bit ’emotional’ in recent months, driving price increases that are as irritating for us as I am sure they are for you. With this in mind, a few specials are always welcome, so please consider the following:

    • Cherry #3 Common – a lower grade of Cherry, but still with some magnificent clear sections and available at R6790/m3 for bulk purchases – a QUARTER of the price of Cherry prime. That’s the same sort of price as SA Pine!!
    • American Poplar #2 Common – another lower grade of a popular US species, again available at R6790/m3 for bulk purchase
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Clearance bundles outside our yard at Epping, including some lovely Yellowwood at R6000/m3 
  • Clearance and “Ex racks” bundles – this is stock that has come of the racks after being picked though, but typically cleans up really well and is available at bargain basement prices. We skim two faces of the timber to show its underlying quality. Options include the following species (note: all pricing given is for bulk purchases of 1m3 or more):
    • Yellowwood at R6000/m3
    • Blackwood at R2500/m3
    • Meranti from R5900/m3
    • Iroko at R14000/m3

Thanks for listening and hope to see you soon!


Seamus Harcourt-Wood
Rare Woods SA

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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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