All our woods are grown and milled locally in the South West of Australia from plantation and sustainably managed natural forests. In our choice of timbers we endeavour to find the perfect balance between function, aesthetics, and availability. Our chopping boards made from Tuart and Goldfields Walnut are extremely hard and will withstand many years of everyday use. Our tapas boards are from medium hard to hard woods. In comparison, most chopping and tapas boards on the market are made from very soft woods which deteriorate quickly with everyday use.
For the technical amongst you, we've provided a table below detailing how our woods stack up against the competition in the market in terms of their resistance to damage. The 'Janka hardness test' is a scientific method of assessing a woods resistance to denting. It's calculated based on the force taken to push a small steel ball half it's diameter into the surface of the wood.
Janka Hardness Rating
|Goldfields Walnut||15||Our chopping boards|
|Tuart||11||Our chopping boards|
|Blackbutt||9.1||Our chopping boards|
|Sydney Blue Gum||9||Our tapas boards|
|Jarrah||8.5||Our tapas boards and many WA made chopping boards|
|Yellow Stringy Bark||8.1||Our tapas boards|
|Manna Gum||6||Our tapas boards|
|Bamboo||5.9||Many imported chopping and tapas boards|
|Tasmanian Oak||5.5||Many Eastern States Australian made chopping boards|
|Camphor Laurel||4.1||Many Eastern States Australian made chopping boards|
|Acacia||4.1||Most imported chopping and tapas boards|
Famous the world over for it’s perfect blend of attributes that make it excel across a wide variety of uses, Jarrah is a wood-workers and consumers dream. For the last 200 years it’s been the preferred hardwood in Western Australia, and in the early years, was the backbone of the WA export economy. Alas, it is susceptible to a disease called ‘die back’ that has spread widely through the forests and it’s uncertain whether it will still be alive 100 years from now. In the past loggers would take the biggest straightest trees. These days, to hopefully enable ‘good trees’ to regenerate, loggers leave the big straight trees that remain and take the medium and young ones. This has drastically changed the colour profile of the jarrah available. Old jarrah (80-300 years old) has a deep brown colour and ultra fine grain pattern. Young and ‘paddock jarrah’ is a lighter red to pink colour with a stronger grain pattern reflective of faster growth and newly formed wood.
Most of our boards are from this ‘paddock jarrah’, however, we do have a small quantity of ‘old Jarrah’ milled from trees on our own property which died a slow death over the past 50 years due to dieback. The colour is very dark brown. Using it is a labour of love due to the extensive insect and bushfire created holes which need to be filled with resin. The results, however, are quite spectacular.
Native to the forests of South East Australia, our stocks come from a plantation near Bridgetown in WA. This is our favourite wood for tapas boards. The quality of the raw material is very high, the grain pattern is beautiful, and it takes paint well enabling Sarmarie to really enjoy and explore the painting process. The light wood tone makes colours really pop and compliments modern home environments very well.
Native to NSW, our Sydney Blue Gum comes from a plantation near Bridgetown in WA. We primarily use it for our large tapas boards. As it is not milled commercially in WA we only have limited stocks. Colour and texture differs widely from board to board. The long grains often provide wonderful textures.
AKA ‘New England Oak’, our Manna Gum also comes from local plantations. It is marginally softer and with a lighter colour than Sydney Blue Gum but has a very similar grain pattern and texture. As it is not milled commercially in WA we only have a limited supply.
Tuart is very hard to come by. Historically it was favoured for butchers blocks due to its great density and durability. It grows in a narrow strip near the coast from Perth down to Busselton in Western Australia. All logging outside of private property ceased in the 1980’s. Our source comes from a mill that had a temporary licence which required them to inspect forests after big winter storms, find fallen logs, GPS locate them, the forestry commission would inspect, and then they could collect them for milling. Our source intended to use it for engineered flooring, which proved too troublesome, so we purchased their entire stock – which is enough for about 2000 chopping boards.
Goldfields Walnut is native to the WA goldfields and down towards Esperance. If you've ever been there, you'll know how it came to be so tough. The botanical name is ‘Eucalyptus Astringens’ and the common name is ‘Brown Mallet’. We’ve coined it ‘Goldfields Walnut’ to convey its origin and colour.
Using this wood is somewhat of a pioneering effort. It is not available for harvesting outside of plantation, and only one plantation exists – near Narrogin. It was planted as a government initiative to give WW1 veterans something productive to do. The perceived use at the time was tool handles and bark for tanning hides. The handles proved too heavy, the tanneries closed down, and the role of bark in tanning was replaced by synthetic alternatives. So, the plantation has continued to grow for almost a hundred years without a commercial use.
It takes a somewhat naive zeal to want to harvest it. It has almost double the hardness of Jarrah making it very heavy and taxing on all the machinery involved. Our wood has come from a flooring company that holds the only licence to mill it. They ended up giving up, and that’s how it became available to us. We would never attempt ourselves to undertake the task as it would almost certainly prove commercially unviable. Therefore, we’re calling our run of tapas and chopping boards from it a ‘limited edition’. Once the wood’s gone the likelihood of sourcing more is almost none. It may be the only range of products made in any volume from the wood for many years to come.
The artwork on our boards will retain its beauty and be food safe provided you do not cut over it or scrub with abrasives.
We recommend refreshing your board with tung oil should it start to look dry after extensive use. It is available from most kitchen shops or your local hardware store. Grapeseed or coconut oil can be used instead, however they are less penetrating.
To apply simply rub on with a sponge or clean cloth, leave for 5 minutes, then rub back vigorously with an absorbent cloth until all excess oil is removed.