083-574-4551 Raoultheowl at gmail.com
The Parkes family business interests in Knysna date to the early 1890s when George Parkes bought a struggling sawmill. They started machining wagon parts and tool handles and purchased land that now has 2 800 ha of indigenousl forest as well as 600 ha of pine and gum known as Parkes forest. In 1923 they acquired Hoogekraal which lies between the old George road and the N2. This property consists of 1 850 ha of mainly natural forest and pine.
Although privately ownedforests are legally protected for conservation and felling is is only carried out by special licence and underclose supervision from SANParks. In terms of the system trees that are already dying are harvested. Yellowwods with 65% crown dieback and stinkwoods with 30% crown dieback for example. The forest is mapped into 10 sections which may only be harvested once every ten years. Their harvesting team uses an old mini-cat equipped with a winch to skid the logs out as only low impact felling and log extraction techniques are permitted.
Before harvesting the trees are marked anmd SANParks officials conduct an inspection issuing a permit for each individual tree which is then plotted on a GPS. They will also inspect the site after harvesting to evaluate the impact of the work carried out.
Geo Parkes & Sons Timber Merchants in South Africa
Yellowwood (Podocarpus latifolius)
Distribution: South African Tree Number 18. Grows snugly in mountain or coastal high forest. Found in significant amounts along the Southern Cape Coastal region and inland, also Transkei into KZN.
Timber Qualities: It has a fine texture and straight grain. Colour is yellow and turns a rich ochre when finished.
Uses: The Quintessential South African Classic. Old houses since Jan landed in Cape Town, have been finished in yellowwood, flooring, ceilings skirtings, even roof trusses and beams. Makes beautiful furniture and has been used as a contrasting wood in combination furniture � often coupled with Stinkwood, Blackwood or Imbuia.
A pale yellow-brown wood, undifferentiated between heartwood and sapwood. It has a fine, even texture, but exhibits magnificent whorls and ripples around knots. It’s dark brown bark contrasts magnificently with the yellow wood in Rustic-style furniture. It is much sought after as a furniture timber.
BLACKWOOD (Swarthoud) Acacia melanoxylon
A strong, stable wood, Blackwood has a beautiful red-brown heartwood with a pale tan sapwood. This wood is greatly sought after for all types of furniture manufacture. Seeds were imported from Australia in 1848 and the species is now well established in the indigenous forests of the Garden Route.
WHITE PEAR (Witpeer) Apodytes dimidiata
An attractive grey-brown colour with occasional purplish streaks. It is a hard and heavy wood with a fine grain. It works easily.
WHITE ELDER (Witels) Platylophus trifoliatus
This wood has a distinctive pink-brown colour with occasional yellowish streaks, and interesting grain patterns. It is even-grained and light and makes excellent furniture items and accessories.
HARD PEAR (Hardepeer) Olinia ventosa
A magnificent golden brown wood with a fine, wavy grain which gives its characteristic rippled appearance. It makes lovely furniture but is not common in the forests and hence not readily available.
IRONWOOD (Ysterhout) Olea capensis ssp. Macrocarpa
The sapwood has an orange-brown colour while the heartwood is a distinctive streaked dark brown colour. It is very heavy and hard and makes lovely furniture, but works with difficulty.
STINKWOOD (Stinkhout) Ocotea bullata
This has an olivebrown sapwood which darkens to a rich golden brown to dark coffee brown heartwood. The fresh cut wood gives a sweet pungent odour, hence its name. It is very high priced and much sought after for furniture.
CAPE BEECH (Boekenhout) Rapana melanophloeos
Commonly termed “Boekenhout”, this is a pink-brown colour with a short, reticulated grain similar to oak. In the plane of the grain however, it has a handsome, wide, flecked appearance reminiscent of a hawk’s wing. An interesting, durable wood which makes fine furniture.
ASSEGAI Curtisia dentata
A deep, dull red to grayish-brown colour. Not commonly used in furniture despite its fine texture and strength. In the past it was commonly used in wagon spokes due to its durability.
CANDLEWOOD (Kershout) Pterocelastus tricuspidatus
A deep burgundy colour with a fine, beautiful grain. It is heavy and hard and its handsome colour lends itself to furniture. However, it is not readily available.
CAPE HOLLY (Without) Ilex mitis
A soft, porous pale tan wood which makes it suitable for carving. It frequently has attractive black streaks as a result of exposure to water in the forest.
It can be argued that riempie chairs are as South African as braaivleis, rugby and veldskoene and have been around as long as any of us can remember. On a recent visit to Johannesburg I repaired 3 of my sisters four riempie chairs. Oddly enough the riempie wooden frames were in fact broken while the actual leather bits were still intact. They were antiques.
Closer to home here in knysna there is another solution for riempie repair and that is the Werkswinkel. They are a short 10 minute trip out of Knysna in the Plettenberg Bay direction and are located in Hornlee. To find them, take the Hornlee turn-off, first road left into Sunridge and then 2nd left into Wing street. They can be found on the corner of Wing and Soutian streets. You cant miss them, easily visible from the road.
The Werkswinkel would probably be your most cost effective repair alternative. They just do the work, no hype, and have a lot of expertise to draw from. For further details contact Edwin on (044) 385-0145.
Craftsman for Hire
Carpentry – Renovations – Overhauls
Digital portfolio. Drawings supplied
083-574-4551 Raoultheowl at gmail.com
Carpenters, wooden furniture, workshops, factories and sawmills in the Garden Route Western Cape South Africa. Shops, galleries and outlets offering handicrafts, sculture, curios and wooden toys.