Kevin Chadwick's Oak Cabinet

Working wood in South Africa

SHOP OWNER: Kevin Chadwick
LOCATION: South Africa

    Hello from South Africa. Here is a photo of a solid oak display cupboard I made of white oak. The back is solid tongue-and-groove oak which I produced with my router.

     Here on the east coast of South Africa, the climate is very tropical. Oak trees are not indigenous here, although they may be found in the cooler parts of the country--mainly English oaks that were planted as wind breaks and avenue trees. All of our white, brown and red oak are imported from North America and the US.

     Woodworking is a big hobby in South Africa. Unfortunately our currency is constantly losing value against foreign currencies. This makes imported timber and tools very expensive and out of range of most people, including the serious woodworking hobbyists.

     We have a few rare hardwoods that are indigenous to South Africa: yellowood, blackwood and stinkwood are some of of the better known species. The prices are over the top. In our neighboring countries, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, one can find excellent hardwoods, but due to past civil wars it expensive and hard to come by.

     I am presently making a dining-room table and chairs out of a timber from Mozambique called Pau Ferrous or Pau Rosa. It is red in color, very hard, and not very easy to work. However, I am coming along nicely with the project. I will forward photos later in the year.

     I am sorry I did not find your site last year. We traveled to Mozambique after Christmas for a holiday. This country was closed to the world for 20 years due to civil war. We saw people making furniture outdoors with primitive tools. I wish I had taken photos to show you the quality of the pieces these people produced.

     I am a saw doctor, or, as you guys say, a saw filer. I own a business sharpening woodworking tools and making saw blades, bandsaws and molding tooling. I have been very lucky in my search of woodworking machines. Most of my machines were sadly neglected or abandoned. This worked out well for me as most were given to me by sawmills etc. I stripped, cleaned, resprayed and reassembled them with new bearings and a few spare parts.

     The machines I have at home include

    I spray most of the items I make with a turpentine-based polyurethane. The reason for this is I find that most of the lacquer finishes turn yellow with age.

     I always carry my digital camera around, and I will forward some more pics to you in the future.

...Kevin Chadwick




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