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Myakka Blog

Indian furniture, Dining Table, Nest of Tables, Cushions and Accessories

Monkey Pod Wood - Surin Range

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

As our Surin furniture range grows in popularity and variety, we’d like to give you an overview of how the tables, stools and chairs are made. This process is slightly different from our other ranges of furniture and can take longer as it involves extended drying periods and is based around a cottage industry with small family units hand carving just a few select designs.

Monkey Pod Wood
Also known locally as Acacia wood, Monkey Pod wood is thought to be named after the monkeys that used to gather below its canopy and eat the seed pods of the tree. The tree is fast growing, about 1.5m a year up to about 24m tall and has a canopy which normally reached 30m but can grow as large as 60m. Because the Monkey Pod tree grows so quickly it makes it a very sustainable hardwood and is perfect for furniture manufacture. The straight grain and coarse texture allows it to be relatively easily carved into interesting shapes… perfect for items such as the Surin Forest Table or the Surin Ceremonial Elephant Table. The trees were originally planted to offer shades in open areas such as parks and also to offer shade to crops from the hot tropical sun.  

Surin Furniture Production
The production of our Surin furniture differs significantly from the production of our Sheesham, Acacia and Mango wood furniture ranges. Surin furniture is hand carved in Thailand predominantly by small family units. The skills of carving and woodwork are passed down through generations and small family units generally work together, specialising in one or two designs only. For example, one family may be skilled in carving the Infinity Table while another family will specialise Elephant and Owl Tables.

The small, fair trade suppliers will provide the families with the wood which is normally harvested from older trees on managed plantations. The skilled craftspeople have to wait for the wood to be dry enough to carve which can sometime take a number of weeks. Then once they have worked their skilful magic, the carved table is left to dry further, sometimes in kilns although most are left to dry naturally in the warmth of the sun. While this improves the environmental credentials of the finished item, it can take some time as it is weather dependent and like ours, the Thai seasons can vary from ‘hot and dry’ to ‘rainy and mild’. From start to finish, this construction process including seasoning can take up to four months. Once complete, the furniture is hand waxed to bring out the natural lustre and highlight the interesting grain and colours of the timber, before being packed ready for shipping to the Myakka warehouse.

Surin Furniture Care
Although the manufacturing process is different for our Surin furniture range, it is still a solid wood piece of furniture so our care instructions are very similar. To enjoy years of happy use and good service from your furniture, we recommend just a few simple care tips:

  •   Wax your furniture occasionally: We recommend using Mylands Clear Wax which helps protect, develop and deepen the lustre of the grain. We would recommend avoiding the use of silicon based polish sprays as they block the natural pores of the wood and prevents it from breathing. 
  •  Avoid direct sunlight: As with any solid wood item, it's wise to avoid direct sunlight or heat sources as they may cause movement or cracking of the wood.
  •  Keep mats & coasters handy: Because our furniture is traditionally waxed (not lacquered or varnished), heat and liquids may cause a bloom or ring marks to appear. Keep a supply of coasters handy – we have the perfectly matched, wooden ones in our accessories collection.
  •  If you should get a ring mark on your hardwood furniture, click here to watch our short video showing you how to remove it in moments.
  •  Use felt pads: As minimal moisture may remain in these products, we would recommend the use of felt pads to allow ventilation around the base. 
As you will understand, due to the truly handmade nature of our Surin furniture, every piece is an artistic original and no two will ever be the same, each enjoying slightly different grain, carving and colour.  By its very nature, the manufacturing process can take a little longer but we hope you’ll agree, the end result will be worth the wait!

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