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Sustainable timber trade takes off in Foster


NEW LIFE: Foster’s Mike Bland gives new life to old timbers, turning them into mementos for the environmentally conscious

Grace Griffith

NOT only are TouchWood Timbers preserving the past with precious wooden keepsakes, they are minimising their carbon footprint by using recycled timbers – a win-win situation.

The Foster business, run by Mike Bland and his wife Milena, blossomed from Mike’s hobby into a business three years ago.

Their tree change from Melbourne was the catalyst for a lifestyle change too, with their sustainable, eco-friendly focus transferring to their timber trade.

From repurposed railway timbers, jetty timbers and discarded, established old growth timbers, Mike has made it his mission to rescue them from finding their way into landfill or onto the fire.

By up-cycling timbers, Mike also hopes to do his part to stop more trees getting the chop.

“We won’t fell a tree, we only take a tree when they have died or are wind fallen,” he said.

“We bring them into our sawmill and repurpose them into serving platters, chopping boards, and are now branching out with that too and building furniture, kitchen tables, bench tops, bathroom vanities and a range of different products.”

Not only is this approach practical and eco-friendly, but recycled, old growth timbers just look better.

“The forestry industry is focusing on sustainable timbers, which are grown in a plantation in controlled conditions, and they tend to be a little bit plain,” Mike said.

“When trees grow in the wild they are subjected to wind and frost and a variety of weather conditions, so it creates more interesting features in the timber.

“For instance, cracking in the timber gives it character and is interesting to look at. People tend to be drawn to well featured timbers more than plantation wood.”

The change in the forestry industry also means these old growth timbers are becoming rarer.

 “The products that seem to be the most popular at the moment are ones made from the old Long Jetty Port Welshpool timbers,” Mike said.

The yellow stringybark timbers originated from the Woodside area and were around 100 years old when they were felled for the jetty during the mid 1930s.

“We secured access to a quantity of the old timbers when it was rebuilt. It’s been popular with locals for that heritage feel. Most of the locals know of the jetty and have a connection to it,” Mike said.

“It’s a keepsake. It gives them a connection to the past.”

The duo has been selling their timber products online and at local markets but hope to continue to grow their business.

“Our products can be customised to your individual requirements or made in larger quantities and have been supplied to many of our local cafes, clubs, pubs and restaurants in the area,” Mike said.

“Our goal is to minimise our carbon footprint during the production of our sustainable, eco-friendly and affordable range of quality timber products.

“There is only so much left on our planet and we have to do what we can to preserve it.”

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=30176

Posted by on Oct 15 2019. Filed under Business, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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