How it’s made.
The Mombasa Yacht Rope Bench begins life in the huge hardwood forests of Matabeleland in Zimbabwe. These forests grow on the deep and ancient sands of the Kalahari, the oldest sand formations on earth. A small portion of these forests are harvested under the supervision of the Forestry Commission each year, and the proceeds of selling this timber help support the protection of the forests.
We purchase selected timber from small scale millers and transport it to our workshop in Victoria Falls. There it is placed in our kilns for the long process of slowly seasoning the timber until the moisture content within is in harmony with the ambient moisture content, varying between 8 and 11%, depending on the season. Zambezi Teak, the principal timber we use, is so dense that for timbers of the size used in our Mombasa Benches the seasoning process takes up to one year! Once seasoned, the timber is marked and stored in our timber stores until we get a suitable order for that particular piece.
An order for a Mombasa Yacht Rope Bench comes in. A timber selector goes through our stores and selects suitable looking timbers for the project. He must then plane the timber to reveal the interior grain, colour and quality, and ensure they are correct. The timbers are then cut to rough dimensions before being forwarded to the artisan responsible for exact sizing and cutting the large, oversize mortice and tenon joints. These must be cut exactly so that when the tenon slides into the mortice there is a 0,5mm gap all round to make allowance for the glue that will cover all the tenon surfaces when finally assembled.
From here the components go to a professional finisher who sands the parts and rounds the components to the final shape. Sanding is done with a gradient of sanding grits from 80 through to 320 to ensure a perfect surface. An assembler artisan then takes over to assemble and glue the components together, including precise drilling of the holes to weave the yacht rope through. The piece is clamped for 24 hours to let the glue set completely.
A final sanding is done to perfect the surface and then the bench is off for dusting and applying the finishing coats, which are allowed to cure for 72 hours. The final operation in construction is to tightly weave the yacht rope to form a perfect seat.
1. Zambezi Teak, 2. African Mahogany