Quality over anything else:
Our Quality for Sustainable Wood with Eco Friendly Finishes
Drying the products after Carving
After hand carving, the rough products are placed in one of our solar ovens. Over a period of months the MC (moisture content) is brought down below 25%. We use specially calibrated invasive wood meters, with Teflon coated pins, to drive into the wood and measure the MC internally at the thickest point of the carving. Somewhere on each piece you will see two small holes spaced about an inch apart. This "snake bite" is your proof of testing for internal MC before the Haussmann brand is applied
If the items are needed before drying naturally in the solar ovens to below 12% IMC, they can be placed into the propane fired kilns and brought down in stages to 10 to 12% IMC. We prefer to dry naturally in the solar ovens as there are fewer and smaller cracks. At the end of the drying stage we raise the temperature high enough to help insure there are no wood bug eggs inside the wood. Drying can be difficult as most of our designs have varying wall thickness.
We "lose" a percentage of products in the process from structural stress cracks during different stages of drying and production. However, it is better to have that happen here before a customer receives a product. We also use the "lost" wood for repairs if needed, so as to waste as little as possible.
After obtaining, by testing every piece, an internal MC reading below 12%, we rough sand the product in stages to smooth the rough carving into the final shape. This is all done by eye so every piece is unique, sizes are not exact, but the flat surfaces are made functional. The beauty of the completely unique piece can start to be seen at this time.
Now that we have exposed all of the natural and drying cracks, and wood inclusions by rough sanding, we finish sand to smooth and blend all surfaces. One group will finish sand the overall product, and then another group will inspect and finish sand any inclusions, cracks, or marks by hand.
At this stage the product goes through another quality control check. This is to point out and discuss with the sanders any corrections required prior to finishing. Once approved the piece is assigned to an order for the required finish.
Applying the oil is a time consuming art. Even though the wood has been sanded smooth, the nature of the wood is to have cross hatched surfaces exposed at times. The oil is rubbed in by hand, in thin coats, in three to six stages over the course of five to seven work days. The oil has to be allowed to absorb into and dry into the wood. This is to build up a surface that can be buffed into a matte finish. The weather affects this process, so there is no set time between coats. We just have to wait longer between coats sometimes.
Since we do not use any wood sealers or chemical bases, occasionally there can be some small dull or rough spots. This is in keeping with our policy of creating an all natural product that can complete the product life cycle. All products can be safely disposed of, if need be, into the earth from which it came.
Additional Wood Properties Notes
After panels are carved from several pieces, the wood shrinks as it dries. When the panels are placed back together they may not line up exactly as carved. We will joint and sand to close the gaps and then blend the design as well as possible with hand chisels. There will be some slight variances where two panels join.
For Monkey Pod wood (Samanea saman aka Acacia, Rain Tree, and other names depending on the country of origin) the heart wood color ranges from light reddish beiges to dark reddish browns (some with black swirls). Due to humidity, the wood ages in front of your eyes as small cracks may appear in the grain over time depending on the climate where you live. It's a small slice of life transported straight into your home. direct sunlight can cause more checking (cracking) on the ends, but simply rub in a natural neutral color wood oil to seal again and enjoy the beauty of Monkey Pod wood!
Some Notes on Moisture and Movement in Wood
It is probably impossible to completely eliminate movement in wood, but this may be approximated by chemical modification. This is the treatment of wood with chemicals to replace the hydroxyl groups with other hydrophobic functional groups of modifying agents (Stamm, 1964) At HINC we do not allow the use of chemical modifications! This is to ensure the completion of the product life cycle for disposal purposes.
Wood in furniture is typical of the water-containing materials in that it contains roughly ten percent water by weight. The exact water content depends on the temperature and humidity of the surrounding air during the previous few weeks. The water content matters to conservators because wood swells and shrinks as it absorbs and de sorbs water. Water is also an accelerator of slow decomposition reactions.
Why do cracks form in some furniture pieces even after being kiln dried below 11% EMC?
"Wood and other hygroscopic materials change dimensions with variations in moisture content (MC). The MC of wood varies with the relative humidity (RH) and temperature of its ambient air." Click here to read more
Wood retains its hygroscopic characteristics after it is put into use. It is then subjected to fluctuating humidity, the dominant factor in determining its EMC. These fluctuations may be more or less cyclical, such as diurnal changes or annual seasonal changes. In order to minimize the changes in wood moisture content or the movement of wooden objects in service, wood is usually dried to a moisture content that is close to the average EMC conditions to which it will be exposed. These conditions vary for interior uses compared with exterior uses in a given geographic location....Since wood is a hygroscopic substance wood taken out of a kiln in Thailand can reabsorb moisture while here and during transport in the container. This can cause changes in the wood on some pieces