The legacy project

LIGHTNESS: Tasmanian blackwood makes up the top and shelf, while the steam-curved and laminated ash gives the legs a “spring” in them in this bespoke table created by Rodney Faulkner. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell

GENERATIONAL: Timber was taken from trees grown on the Faulkner family property for Rodney to build joinery and furniture, including this dining table and chairs in his and wife Sarah’s home in town. The tradition was started by Rodney Faulkner’s grandfather in the early 1900s. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell
LEGACY: This chair is crafted from timbers milled from an English walnut tree Rodney Faulkner’s grandfather planted in 1905. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell

There’s a story that goes with every tree and every piece of handcrafted furniture made from them, says retired farmer Rodney Faulkner.

He and his wife Sarah’s house is built largely from macrocarpa Rodney milled on the farm before he and Sarah moved into town. The interior flooring and the deck is also made from timber milled from trees grown on-farm. Along with macrocarpa, Rodney has a stack of black walnut, elm and English ash from the farm. Started by his grandfather in the early 1900s, continued by Rodney’s father then by Rodney himself, the tree planting, the house and furniture he crafted from the timbers he milled is a legacy project.

To continue that legacy, he had a workshop built in their new home. It was in that workshop Rodney told his grandchild the chair he was crafting from an English walnut tree his grandfather planted in 1905, would become the same one chair the child would sit on when he had grown up to be an old man.

All the joinery in the Faulkner home — the framing, doors, windows, kitchens, bathrooms, and staircase — is made from macrocarpa. Rodney graded the timber so more grain can be seen in the exposed joinery while second grade, possibly knottier timber is in the framing.

“For exposed timber you want top-grade timber,” says Rodney. “Macrocarpa splits but it’s durable, stable and has nice grain for a Scandinavian look.”

Wavy grain

The floor is made from eucalyptus saligna, Sydney bluegum, that was planted by his grandfather and has a wavy grain. For the deck, Rodney used the more durable eucalyptus globoidea.

The set of tall, low-backed kitchen stools with shaped “tractor-seats” in the open plan kitchen, dining room and living room area are made from 80-year-old English ash Rodney milled himself. He shaped each seat to bring out a particular accent in the grain.

“You examine a piece of timber and if you cut it one way you get a particular grain and if you cut it another way you get a different kind of grain,” he says.

For an occasional chair (also known as an accent chair) he used black walnut from trees he had planted in 1968. Because the back legs are curved, he put an insert into each of them to strengthen them.

“Black walnut is beautiful to work with but the critical thing is to get a strong joint,” he says.

Rodney made a long dinner table from the Tasmanian blackwood his father planted in about 1946 and that his son milled seven to eight years ago. The eight chairs Rodney made for it are crafted from the same Tasmanian blackwood as the dining table. So he didn’t have to interrupt the line of each chair by strengthening them with struts between the legs, he fixed bracing under the seats. The centrepiece of the dining table is a curved wooden candlestick holder made from ash.

Another bespoke piece is the three-legged, black walnut side table which is matched by a coffee table, while the cabinet in the TV room is made from English elm. Made in three sections the ash and walnut standard lamps in the living room were a challenge, says Rodney.

That’s different

A piece of furniture a friend asked him to make for her sister is comprised of two contrasting types of timber. The brief was for “a design that was unusual”.

“That was an interesting challenge,” says Rodney.

Made from steam-curved and laminated ash, the legs have a “spring” in them that gives the table with its Tasmanian blackwood top and shelf a lightness.

To curve the table’s legs, Rodney put bundle strips of timber into the cylindrical steamer and turned the heat up to 100 degrees to soften the lignin, the organic polymers that lend rigidity to cell walls in wood. Steaming softens the lignin so the wood can be bent and it then retains the bend once cooled. Rodney glued the timbers together, clamped them onto a curved brace and left them there for 24 hours.

“You’re forever designing in your mind what you want,” says Rodney.

“This is a legacy project that only happened because someone had the foresight to do the planting.

“If the timber had been bought from a merchant it wouldn’t mean so much. There is a legacy here that is really quite exciting. Everything has a story. These all came from trees I grew up with.”

There’s a story that goes with every tree and every piece of handcrafted furniture made from them, says retired farmer Rodney Faulkner.

He and his wife Sarah’s house is built largely from macrocarpa Rodney milled on the farm before he and Sarah moved into town. The interior flooring and the deck is also made from timber milled from trees grown on-farm. Along with macrocarpa, Rodney has a stack of black walnut, elm and English ash from the farm. Started by his grandfather in the early 1900s, continued by Rodney’s father then by Rodney himself, the tree planting, the house and furniture he crafted from the timbers he milled is a legacy project.

To continue that legacy, he had a workshop built in their new home. It was in that workshop Rodney told his grandchild the chair he was crafting from an English walnut tree his grandfather planted in 1905, would become the same one chair the child would sit on when he had grown up to be an old man.

All the joinery in the Faulkner home — the framing, doors, windows, kitchens, bathrooms, and staircase — is made from macrocarpa. Rodney graded the timber so more grain can be seen in the exposed joinery while second grade, possibly knottier timber is in the framing.

“For exposed timber you want top-grade timber,” says Rodney. “Macrocarpa splits but it’s durable, stable and has nice grain for a Scandinavian look.”

Wavy grain

The floor is made from eucalyptus saligna, Sydney bluegum, that was planted by his grandfather and has a wavy grain. For the deck, Rodney used the more durable eucalyptus globoidea.

The set of tall, low-backed kitchen stools with shaped “tractor-seats” in the open plan kitchen, dining room and living room area are made from 80-year-old English ash Rodney milled himself. He shaped each seat to bring out a particular accent in the grain.

“You examine a piece of timber and if you cut it one way you get a particular grain and if you cut it another way you get a different kind of grain,” he says.

For an occasional chair (also known as an accent chair) he used black walnut from trees he had planted in 1968. Because the back legs are curved, he put an insert into each of them to strengthen them.

“Black walnut is beautiful to work with but the critical thing is to get a strong joint,” he says.

Rodney made a long dinner table from the Tasmanian blackwood his father planted in about 1946 and that his son milled seven to eight years ago. The eight chairs Rodney made for it are crafted from the same Tasmanian blackwood as the dining table. So he didn’t have to interrupt the line of each chair by strengthening them with struts between the legs, he fixed bracing under the seats. The centrepiece of the dining table is a curved wooden candlestick holder made from ash.

Another bespoke piece is the three-legged, black walnut side table which is matched by a coffee table, while the cabinet in the TV room is made from English elm. Made in three sections the ash and walnut standard lamps in the living room were a challenge, says Rodney.

That’s different

A piece of furniture a friend asked him to make for her sister is comprised of two contrasting types of timber. The brief was for “a design that was unusual”.

“That was an interesting challenge,” says Rodney.

Made from steam-curved and laminated ash, the legs have a “spring” in them that gives the table with its Tasmanian blackwood top and shelf a lightness.

To curve the table’s legs, Rodney put bundle strips of timber into the cylindrical steamer and turned the heat up to 100 degrees to soften the lignin, the organic polymers that lend rigidity to cell walls in wood. Steaming softens the lignin so the wood can be bent and it then retains the bend once cooled. Rodney glued the timbers together, clamped them onto a curved brace and left them there for 24 hours.

“You’re forever designing in your mind what you want,” says Rodney.

“This is a legacy project that only happened because someone had the foresight to do the planting.

“If the timber had been bought from a merchant it wouldn’t mean so much. There is a legacy here that is really quite exciting. Everything has a story. These all came from trees I grew up with.”

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you support the proposed (draft) Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?