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Latest News – September 2019

Wow… this year is flying by and somehow we haven’t written a newsletter. 

The reality is that we have been working very hard to navigate a pretty challenging economy. There is no doubt that the local construction industry is going through one of the toughest times it has ever experienced and those pressures are being felt in all corners of the market.

In times like this it is more important than ever to be innovative, nimble and flexible. We have sought to do this through the introduction of a number of new products, as well as being very creative in setting up deals with trade customers – including asset swaps, some consignment deals, and the promotion of lesser known and clearance items to bring down costs. We are always keen to get involved early in projects to help shape a procurement process that saves money on all sides – and have had a number of great successes in recent months. Please do give us a try and put our creativity to the test.

For hobbyists and private customers, we have exciting plans afoot to provide you with even greater choice in a convenient and welcoming retail environment. Please watch this space over the next month or two…

Hopefully you’ve all been keeping up-to-date through regular visits to our facilities, but in case not, here is an update on what we have been up to.

New products:

Black Ofram / Limba / Frake
A timber of many names, this is a beautiful and cost-effective species for furniture makers and internal cabinetry, which is also very popular with luthiers, especially electric guitar builders. With its dramatic dark streaking it is reminiscent of black ironwood, but significantly lighter and easier to work. You can find more interesting information in this article.

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The distinctive and dramatic streaking of Black Ofram

Recently championed by Homewood furniture in Joburg and KZN, it is now available to Western Cape woodworkers and manufacturers, in 26mm, 38mm and 50mm thicknesses.

Nordic pine decking
We have recently brought in a load of 21x120mm profile treated pine decking.

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Magnificent Nordic treated pine decking – long, strong and excellent value!
There were a number of real positives that attracted us to this product, which we believe it is going to be a great option for local installers:
  • The CCA treatment used has a Brown tint, rather than the ubiquitous green colour produced locally – we believe this has aesthetic benefits
  • European pine, having grown in colder northern climates, tends to be a bit denser and tighter grained than local options
  • The lengths are superb at 5.7-6m
  • It is very keenly priced!

A reminder about Structural Massaranduba & European Ash
These two were mentioned in my previous newsletter, but are worth reminding you of – the quality of both is truly superb. The Ash is denser and more durable that its American cousin, and much of it is colour graded (i.e. minimum one face guaranteed to be entirely white). We have been getting fantastic feedback from clients on both these items.

Marblewood & Ziricote: two recent additions to our racks of super exotics.

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Ziricote and Marblewood – two exotics stunners!!
  • Ziricote (Cordia dodecandra) has undoubtedly some of the most exceptional figure of any timber, which has been put to amazing decorative use in musical instruments, gunstocks, turnery and other objects. Most of it goes straight into the veneer trade, and the limited supply we have secured is for what is known as the ‘stay logs’ from the veneering process. As such, you need a bit of creativity to get the best out of these unusually shaped pieces, but the potential rewards are great for someone with a keen eye for re-sawing them.
  • Marblewood (Zygia racemosa) is a South American species with great potential for decorative applications. It has variegated colouring similar to Zebrano, but with wider and more irregular dark reddish veins.
Timber cladding
Timber cladding has proven enormously popular in recent years, not least because of the softening effect it has against modern industrial elements like concrete and steel.
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We have an enormous range of cladding options to suit any budget, and wrote an article on the trend and these choices for Timber IQ magazine recently. Those who are interested can find a copy of the article here or here.

German supplier visits
In July I had the pleasure of visiting two of our German suppliers, to see their unique yards and discuss their approach and our common passion for timber.

In the coming months we will be receiving a number of special items from these suppliers  – including some exceptional boule material in unusual West African species. Anyone who is looking to make a truly one-of-a-kind table or statement furniture piece, will find this material right up their alley.

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Exciting new boule material to be produced over the next few months

It will take some time for this production to develop though, so in the meantime we still have a huge range of live edge and table-top sized pieces to satisfy most tastes!

While in Germany, I also took the opportunity to visit one of the foremost exotic timber merchants in Europe – Max Cropp Timber in Hamburg. Since the demise of Theodor Nagel Company, Max Cropp has been arguably the leading supplier of very special material in Europe and their stockholding was an incredible eye-opener. It was an inspirational visit and we hope that will reflect in some changes we plan to make in coming months.

New premises in Cape Town
On the subject of change, we have taken the decision to move premises when our lease comes to an end in September. After 20 happy years in Nourse Ave, we have grown to an extent that we are finding it increasingly difficult to do all of the things we want to do on the site.

So from October we will be trading from a new site – just around the corner at 4 Bertie Ave, Epping 2 – that we think will set us up well for the next 20 years. While daunting, the move is going to allow us to introduce a whole lot of innovations – big and small – which we are itching to get going on!!

Moving 5000m3 of timber is an exhausting prospect though, so please wish us luck.

And finally…. Winter clearance sales
We have identified a number of items which our sales team have been promoting through the winter months. We have a dedicated display area for these species in our showrooms in Epping, and there are some awesome opportunities there.

Do come and take a look if you are in a position to be creative on your project, or would like to stand out from the crowd. There are incredible bargains to be had.

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A selection of the items we have as winter specials – over 500m3 in all

That’s it for this newsletter. As always we look forward to welcoming you soon.

As a final note, I thought you might be as intrigued as I was by the story of “The Tree” – the legendary source of some of the most sought after tonewood in the world.

All the best,
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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