Monday, 14 June 2010

Call the Police, it's teak!

I'm afraid I'm in danger of turning into a Kebony bore - but it is such a great product and such a good idea! You can get sustainably grown teak, but problem with it is that it has to grow fast in order to be sustainable, so it tends to be softer, more sappy and generally not up to scratch. Kebony, on the other hand (here she goes) uses sustainably grown wood, in our case maple but sometimes a softwood like pine, which is then placed in a vat of furfuryl alcohol (a natural and harmless byproduct of the sugar making industry) and heated. It's a clever way of mimicking the natural process which goes on during the long growth of a tropical hardwood - and the result is this incredibly durable wood, which looks and feels and weathers like the best quality teak, but is absolutely, certifiably sustainable. Apparently in Norway it's impossible to import teak and some Kebony was recently used in a local train station for seating. Within days the local council was inundated with complaints, and demands for the seating to be removed and somebody prosecuted, as people were convinced it was made out of tropical hardwood. In the end, signs had to be permanently erected explaining the provenance of the wood before the furore died down. Is this a sign of things to come in the rest of Europe? We certainly are some way behind our Norwegian friends.

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