Our craftsmen have been trained over the last 28 years in traditional woodworking skills, and are experts in producing very accurate and strong wood to wood joints such as mortice & tennon, dovetail & sliding dovetail, expanded tennon, half lap and so on. These joints, provided they are well constructed, form the strongest possible wood furniture joints. The glues used are always tested to ensure that the bond is stronger than the timber used to make the joint.
Zambezi teak products
The principal timber we use is one of the hardest and most durable in the world (just pick up one of our Zambezi Teak products and this will be abundantly clear!). The upside is that the furniture will last forever if looked after, but the downside is that it is very difficult to work. We have developed methods of work to handle this timber, and all our tools are tipped in tungsten carbide that is regularly sharpened on diamond wheels to ensure a perfectly cut joint.
African Touch products are made with solid hardwood throughout. Other cabinet & furniture makers use plywood and other man made boards for hidden components such as drawer bases or backs of cabinets, which we will never do. Where we use fittings, such as hinges or drawer slides, only the best quality solid brass or stainless steel imported components will find their way into an African Touch product!
The source of our Timber
We are passionate about the beautiful hardwood forests that occur naturally in the in the deep and ancient sands of the Kalahari veldt of Western Zimbabwe. Responsibility for the preservation of these forests has rested with the Forestry Commission since 1908. By purchasing our timber from the Forestry Commission we help fund them to preserve these forests, a win-win solution.
Principally we use Zambezi Teak (formerly known as Rhodesian Teak). One of the advantages of harvesting Zambezi Teak is that it copses when a trunk is harvested – meaning that multiple new trunks will grow up from the well-established root system to replace the trunk removed. The best way of ensuring propagation of a healthy forest is to thin these smaller trunks out after a few years. When harvesting the forests are divided up into coups (about four hectares each). Only a limited number of trees are harvested from each coup, and each coup is re harvested every 30 years. There are well over 2 million hectares of hardwood forest in the west of Zimbabwe, so only a small fraction is harvested. African Mahogany is harvested from the same forests on the same strictly sustainable basis.
Our plantation hardwood is primarily Eucalyptus saligna, also known as Sydney Blue gum, was introduced to Zimbabwe in the early 1900s from Australia. We purchase from small scale millers in Eastern Zimbabwe (over 1000km from our workshop in Victoria Falls) who are tasked with removing old growth trees from the plantations.
Every piece of natural timber has its own character and foibles. No two pieces are ever the same, and these differences and characteristics give the timbers their great charm. We select each piece used to ensure these naturally occurring characteristics in no way compromise the structural integrity of the products we make.