Technical

Learn more about our wood, joining methods and finishing.

Disclaimer

Wood is a natural product and the colour and specific grain of the final product will vary from the examples shown on the website. Wood is not a blank canvas and when adding coloured finishes the natural colour of the wood will affect the final colour of the product resulting in slight colour variations from the samples as shown.

Our Guarantee

Karongwe gives all customers a full 5 year quality guarantee covering materials and workmanship. We base our guarantee on the wood used for the product, the product's construction and its finishing

Domestic and International Shipping

 We deliver the furniture with our own trucks and make use of our own delivery team. If the delivery area is an outlying area we make use of qualified and reliable third party freight handling service providers to ensure that outlying deliveries are done professionally, timeously and without damages.

Our Timber

The life of our craft.

We primarily work in the following four hardwood species.

The choice of hardwood is not limited to these options as we can manufacture in any type of hardwood.

The following woods have been selected based on durability, strength, joining integrity, machining, finishing and sustainability.

Below follows a description of each:

Our Finishing

Click on the arrows to the right and left to see the different wood types and finishes for your product.

White Oak

Quercus alba

Description: The Heartwood is a light to medium brown, commonly with an olive cast.

Nearly white to light brown sapwood is not always sharply demarcated from the heartwood. The grain is straight, with a coarse, uneven texture. 

Oak is rated as very durable; frequently used in boatbuilding and tight cooperage applications.

Produces good results with hand and machine tools. Has moderately high shrinkage values, resulting in mediocre dimensional stability, especially in flatsawn boards.

Can react with iron (particularly when wet) and cause staining and discoloration. Responds well to steam-bending.

Glues, stains, and finishes well.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The most common uses for Oak: White Oak is the state tree of Connecticut, Illinois, and Maryland. Connecticut’s state quarter was minted with a picture and inscription of a famous White Oak tree, The Charter Oak.

White Oak is strong, beautiful, rot-resistant, easy-to-work, and economical, representing an exceptional value to woodworkers.

It’s no wonder that the wood is so widely used in cabinet and furniture making.

Kiaat (African Teak)

Pterocarpus angolensis

Description: Kiaat is indigenous to South and Central Africa.

It forms part of the teak family and is commonly known as African teak.

The heartwood colour can vary widely from a lighter golden brown, to darker reddish or purplish brown.

The wood becomes more subdued with age. The grain is straight to interlocked which makes it excellent for furniture making. It has a medium to coarse texture with a low natural luster.

Kiaat machines and finishes very well.The heartwood is rated as being durable and has a good resistance to insect attack.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, but is reported by the IUCN as being near threatened. 

Technically it doesn’t meet the Red List criteria of a vulnerable or endangered species, but is close to qualifying and/or may qualify in the near future.

The most common uses for Kiaat: Kiaat is used for Furniture, boatbuilding, veneer and turnings.

Ash

Fraxinus Americana

Description: The heartwood is a light to medium brown colour. Sapwood can be very wide, and tends to be a beige or light brown; not always clearly or sharply demarcated from heartwood.

Ash has a medium to coarse texture similar to oak. The grain is almost always straight and regular, though sometimes moderately curly or figured boards can be found.

The heartwood is rated as perishable, or only slightly durable in regard to decay. Ash is also not resistant to insect attack.

Ash produces good results with hand or machine tools. Responds well to steam bending. Glues, stains, and finishes well.

Ash is among the least expensive utility hardwoods available domestically; it should compare similarly to oak in terms of price.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The most common uses for Ash: White Ash has excellent shock resistance, and along with hickory (Carya spp.), it is one of the most commonly used hardwoods for tool handles in North America—particularly in shovels and hammers where toughness and impact resistance is important.

When stained, ash can look very similar to oak (Quercus spp.), although oaks have much wider rays, which are visible on all wood surfaces—even on flatsawn surfaces, where they appear as short, thin brown lines between the growth rings.

Blackwood

Acacia melanoxylon

Description: Native to Tasmania and eastern Australia; also introduced to Africa, South America, and southern Asia

The Colour can be highly variable, but tends to be medium golden or reddish brown, similar to Koa or Mahogany. There are usually contrasting bands of colour in the growth rings, and it is not uncommon to see boards with ribbon-like streaks of colour. Boards figured with wavy and/or curly grain are also not uncommon.

The grain is usually straight to slightly interlocked, and sometimes wavy. Uniform fine to medium texture.

Blackwood is rated as moderately durable regarding decay resistance, though susceptible to insect attack.

Blackwood is easily worked with both hand and machine tools, though figured wood and pieces with interlocked grain can cause tearout. Blackwood turns, glues, stains, and finishes well. Responds well to steam bending.

Sustainability: Although Australian Blackwood is considered an invasive species and a pest in some areas, the lumber is still fairly expensive, and figured wood is even costlier. It has been used as a lower-cost alternative to Hawaiian Koa.

This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The most common uses for Blackwood: Although called “Blackwood,” the name is somewhat of a misnomer, as its wood is not at all black. Rather, its lustrous golden brown grain has been used as a sustainable alternative to Koa. The species has been introduced to a number of regions worldwide—either as an ornamental shade tree, or on a plantation for lumber—and in many areas, the hardy tree species has become an invasive species.

Australian Blackwood compares very closely with Koa. Australian Blackwood tends to have a straighter grain, and  slightly better machining characteristics than Koa.

Hevea

Hevea brasiliensis

Description: This wood is also known as: Rubberwood or Plantation Hardwood.

The Heartwood is naturally a light blonde to medium tan colour, sometimes with medium brown streaks.

The sapwood is not distinct from the heartwood.

The colour tends to darken slightly with age. Hevea can be coloured or stained when used in furniture construction. The woodgrain is straight, with a somewhat coarse, open texture with low natural luster.

Hevea is easy to work with both hand and machine tools.

The wood tends to warp and twist in drying, though it is fairly stable in service once seasoned. It glues, stains, and finishes well.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Rubberwood lumber is typically taken from rubber plantations where the trees are tapped for latex, and harvested at the end of their useful life cycle—typically after about thirty years.

The most common uses for Rubberwood: Furniture, cabinetry, interior millwork, kitchen woodenware (cutting boards, knife blocks, etc.), and other small, specialty wood items.

 

Our Joining and Assembly

Timeless and proven assembly methods.

Your product is assembled with mortise and tenon joints and then joined by locking dowels- a practice many furniture makers have skipped out on as time has gone by.

Being straightforward, and yet strong, mortise and tenon joining connects two pieces of wood to have the adjoining pieces connect at the right angles.

The method has been around for thousands of years. However, not many woodmakers use it anymore as it takes time. 

Furthermore, we then use locking dowels to keep the joints in place as we have noticed over time that adjoining pieces may sit too loosely if they are not set in place.

Here at Karongwe we don’t skip out on sound methods and practices- even if a wooden product may take a little longer to finish.

After all, we are enthusiasts of our craft; not of short-cuts to make more profits.

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Technical