The Little World Week – Part Four – This Wood Doesn’t Grow On Trees, Ya Know

Okay, I admit that was an exaggeration for comedic purpose – I’ve never actually heard a hobby shop owner say that. I have seen them sit huddled over the obechi stripwood muttering ” My Precious…” but that is another tale entirely…

I do not think that the Western Australian Forestry Commission should spend any more of its time trying to save tuart and jarrah forests from disease. And they should raise no more pine tree plantations – plough ’em under. What they really should concentrate on is obechi and balsa. From the price of the finished milled wood in the hobby shops it is evident that it could supplant gold, iron ore, or wheat as the state’s chief money earner.

The transport costs would be less too – they could replace the Peterbilt and Mack trucks and their the big trailers with fleets of Hi-Ace vans….

Of course, our state may not be suitable for balsa – it is apparently a tropical thing. At the prices they charge for it, however, the state government could afford to roof over the entire state and change the climate. The vast stretches of the Nullarbor plain may one day ring to the Exacto knives of the balsa loggers…

Obeche is African, and harder than balsa, but even more useful in strip form. It can be sawn finer and charged for higher. Unfortunately the Wikipedia entry says that the harvest in natural areas is unsustainable. All the more reason to bring it here, raze the Bell Tower and Elizabeth Quay and start the plantation.

In the meantime I can report that dear old IKEA is a good source of odd timber. I bought a set of their wooden venetian blinds for the studio some years ago in beech finish and had to shorten them to fit the windows. The extra slats have been providing 3mm stripwood ever since – the new Picador Pup saw makes easy work of dividing them.


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