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Recent blog posts

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Latest News - November 2018 Our latest newsletter has just gone out, with some tantalising reasons for you to come in and visit us....

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Latest News - June 2018 Winter is upon us and we have lots of wonderful natural timber to warm your soul.

See our latest news below:

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Our latest newsletter is full of great news and bargains as the timber and broader building industry heads into the busy Spring season....

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Our latest newsletter is even more chock-full of timber goodness than usual!

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There should be something for everyone in our September newsletter, including a special surprise find from the back corners of our warehouse...

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In our latest newsletter we offer some great savings on Oregon, Maple, Iroko and African Mahogany amongst others...

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To keep up with our latest news, including a number of exciting new arrivals, please click on the link below.

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Slabs - Slabs - Slabs! Our latest newsletter talks about the recent arrival of some glorious slabs, an exciting chance discovery, and lots lots more....

See the newsletter here:

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New shipments of spectacular timber, a traditional Japanese technique for treating wood with fire (!), a massive clearance of woodworking machinery, and lots more. Catch up on our latest news here...

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We are delighted to have recently received our first shipment of African Rosewood (Guibourtia coleosperma) in over a year. Many of you will know that Zambia (the source of much of this rosewood) closed its borders to timber exports for most of 2014, having stopped a number of trucks of illegally harvested logs destined for China. Needless to say, we applaud this effort to eliminate unscrupulous harvesting. What is has meant though, is that the legitimate industry has also ground to a halt and shipments have only recently commenced again.


The shipment we have received is mostly 50mm thick, nicely overcut, with decent lengths and widths. We are expecting to get some 26-28mm thick planks in a second shipment to follow.


In the meantime we are going through the necessary steps to turn this into prime saleable timber: Firstly we have pin-stacked it in the yard of our overflow storage facility in Cape Town. This allows the process of air-drying to start to bring the moisture content down from the 60-90% levels that the timber is currently at.


Secondly, we have decided to deep-cut some of the planks so that we have a greater stock of 26mm available - as that is the thickness that is usually in highest demand. Watch the video clip below to see a few trial pieces going through our Sawmat horizontal bandsaw.

Finally, we are clearing our kilns (currently full of Kiaat!) in order to make way for this timber. Despite the air-drying, the load is likely to require 4-6 weeks in the kilns before the moisture content is down to an acceptable level. At current Eskom prices that is going to be an extremely scary electricity bill - possibly into six figures! 

Anyway, please come in to appreciate the fruits of these labours, and register your interest if you would like us to earmark some of the stock for you.

Hope to see you soon!

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Just in from Australia... we have received a container of beautiful Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata). 

Jarrah is a versatile and extremely hardwearing timber, suitable for a range of uses, but particularly prized for flooring and counter tops, where its gorgeous red flame can be truly appreciated.

We have brought it in in a fixed 152mm width and in 26, 38 & 50mm thicknesses. Lengths range from 0.9m to 5.1m. The shipment is also 100% PEFC certified.

Please ask to see the stock or our flooring sample when you are next in, and we look forward to seeing what you go on to make with it!





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We recently had the great pleasure of hosting a stand at the Knysna Working with Wood festival. The festival was a great success and a brilliant showcase for the incredible talent and creativity in the SA woodworking community.

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Cadeyrn hard at work.... while the old men (Andy & Ed) enjoy a beer

This report from Andy Stoker, our branch manager in Knysna:

"The show was hosted by Timber Village at their scenic premises in Welbedacht Lane and sponsored by Vermont Tools. It was professionally and well organised with a good cross section of the Knysna Wood Industry present. The standard of exhibitors was excellent and we were delighted to see many of our loyal customers exhibiting.

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Patrick Burnett's surfboards and Marc Mainguard's guitars

Particular highlights were Patrick Burnett Wooden Surfboards from Cape Town and Marc Maingard who now makes his awesome guitars at Cape St Francis. They gave demonstrations of their skills and we are proud to say that they purchase their wood at Rare Woods Epping . Aren’t those Brazilian Rosewood guitar backs awesome !!

Vermont Tools and Strand Hardware put on numerous demonstrations including table saw and router use, tool sharpening and lathe work. It was great to hear the buzz of machines and see the shavings fly !

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Many of our valued customers displayed their fantastic skills and products

Rare Woods had a very professional stand which was put together by the usual hard work and excellent teamwork. Our samples are neatly labelled and boast two different finishes viz Penetrol Oil on one side with water based Rystix on the reverse. The colour difference, particularly in darker woods is remarkable. Our unique wood sample book (more on this soon!) attracted much attention and comment, as did the eye-catching Purple Heart frame around our sign. Our planed Wild Olive planks were also a great success.

For the thirsty there was good freshly ground coffee, Bonnievale Wines and Red Bridge and Mitchell’s Local Brew.

The event even made the SABC News and overall opinion was that it was a great success with bigger things to come!"


Andy Stoker
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Coffee table trio What a brilliant way to end a week!

We have just taken possession of three matching coffee tables that we commissioned for our showroom in Cape Town. They each have identical stainless steel frames, but with three different bases in solid African Rosewood, Wenge and Zebrano. I hope you agree they are totally stunning! 

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African Rosewood base

The design borrows heavily from the iconic rosewood and steel coffee tables manufactured by Merrow Associates in the 1970s. Of course those were made with a laminate bases and chromed metal, so we think we have significantly upgraded the design by going solid and stainless respectively. 

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Wenge base

The steel was "shut-your-eyes-and-enter-your-PIN-code" expensive, but we think the combination of it and the fine timber set each off perfectly and it will continue to look fresh and modern for years to come. Please come and admire them when you are next around and decide which one is your personal favourite. In the meantime we will continue to defend them vigorously against the pigeon that has set up residence in our warehouse!

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Zebrano base
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Our cladding display: wall art at its finest! Perhaps unsurprisingly, we are enormous fans of timber cladding as an architectural feature.

There is something about weathering timber that connects directly to the heart and speaks to the human spirit: Wearing age and life scars proudly, battered but unbowed, resolute, dignified and graceful against the challenges of the changing seasons and the onslaught of time. Not seeking to be ‘forever young’, but rather to soak up life in all its seasons, and wear it as a living map of the passage of time.

You can tell that our new mini project stirred up some real passions....

We cut a selection of 18 samples across seven different species to make our display

We are proud to offer a wide range of timbers that are highly appropriate for decorative cladding – some relatively common, others far more unusual. Whether it be the warm majesty of Western Red Cedar, the ruggedness of local Redwood, the extreme hardiness of Siberian Larch, or the incredible density and strength of Ekki from West Africa, we are sure there will be something here to inspire you.

These were then attached to a frame, in a stunning display of different textures and colours

This display will allow you to join us in watching the progress as the timbers stand their ground against the notorious Cape weather. We will also be erecting an equivalent one indoors, allowing you to compare the progression between sheltered and exposed environments. Inside we will also be displaying pictures of a number of exciting cladding projects where our timbers have been used.

The resultant piece of fine art proudly adorns the front wall of our facility in Epping, Cape Town

Please contact us to enquire about any of the timbers on display and let us assist you in putting together an exciting project of your own. 

But before you do that, see how many of the following timbers you can identify:
  • Western Red Cedar
  • Siberian Larch
  • Zim Teak
  • Purpleheart
  • Ekki
  • Redwood
  • Balau

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Friday fun: cleaning up some Panga Panga slabs Friday fun…. We’ve been feeding a few Panga Panga slabs through our surfacer to freshen them up a bit and bring out their remarkable figure.

Panga Panga (Millettia stuhlmannii) grows across East Africa, particularly Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique, and is nearly identical to Wenge (Millettia laurentii). It has been praised for having wonderful tonal qualities, which some luthiers have been bold enough to compare with Brazilian Rosewood! We won't be drawn into that debate, but we do particularly love the timber for its rich dark chocolate brown colour and the partridge feather figure of its grain pattern.

Because the timber is open grained, it does benefit from some filling before finishing, and many believe a wax finish is the best way to show off it charms to maximum effect.


We have a number of these slabs, typically measuring 500-600mm wide, 3.5 -4m long and 80mm thick, making them absolutely perfect for an imposing bar counter or rustic bench. Until they find their ultimate use we just feel incredibly privileged to have them around. There are now two of them on display in our showroom in Epping so please do take a look next time you pass though. We do also have sawn Panga Panga and Wenge in a range of sizes should you be inspired to use the timber in other ways.
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Treasure trove unearthed! Believe it or not, we have found a bundle of Brazilian Rosewood (Dalbergia Nigra) which we thought had gone missing. This is probably the last Brazilian we will carry due to stringent export regulations, CITES restrictions etc. The wood was legally harvested many years ago, and we are delighted to be able to offer it to the discerning few who will really appreciate it.

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It is hard to believe how valuable this timber is - we estimate this bundle to be worth c. R250,000!

The wood is full of cracks and holes (...otherwise known as 'character'), but the colour has to be seen to be believed. We managed to get some resawn into guitar backs and sides, and have about 30 sets available. Come on all you top luthiers. First come, first served!
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We have managed to extract a number of guitar parts - the pinnacle of the luthier's wish list

We can say with some certainty that won’t see this again in South Africa. The rough boards can also be resawn into veneers for a top of the line jewellery box, or something similar. Knife-makers will also find pieces that are perfect for their needs. 

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...But we'll leave this bit to the experts!

With Brazilian Rosewood guitars selling for prices of many hundreds of thousand rands, this may be the best opportunity you'll get to get your hands on one of the most exclusive species in the timber world.

Read more about this remarkable timber - the rarest of the rare - here.
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African Mahogany cants We have just received a limited shipment of about 6m3 of these magnificent African Mahogany (Khaya Ivorensis) cants. 

Dimensions range between 130 x 130 and 150 x 150, with lengths typically of 2.8m. 

We think they are crying out to be turned into impressive table legs - but what would you do with them?

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You can now connect with us on social media

We've finally slid into the 21st century - you can now find us on Facebook as RareWoodsSA and on Twitter as @RareWoodsSA.

We'll be using these channels regularly to keep in touch with our customers - with news of specials, new stock in, interesting customer projects etc. If you have some work that you would like to us to show off, then please get in contact.


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Introducing our new look website!


We are delighted to have launched our new site - designed to keep you much more up-to-date with goings on at Rare Woods.

The new website will be regularly updated with specials and new arrivals - which you will be able to keep track of through social media or (even better) by subscribing to our regular newsletter. 

We are also improving our database of timbers we have in stock, to provide richer information and better searchability. We hope you enjoy it and please feel free to offer feedback as to any enhancements you would like to see.

All the best,

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1 of 14 wood warehouses in South Africa

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Bundles of wood from all over the world

Our racking system makes selection easier

Cape Town Showroom

Latest Blog Posts

Latest News - November 2018
Our latest newsletter has just gone out, with some tantalising reasons for you to come in and visit us....http://mailchi...
Continue Reading...
Latest News - June 2018
Winter is upon us and we have lots of wonderful natural timber to warm your soul. See our latest news below:https://mail...
Continue Reading...

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