Darren Myburgh and Gys Potgieter
As leadwood is a protected species in South Africa, it is a rare find to work with such a large fallen slab. Particular care is taken to pay tribute to the grain and the natural beautiful shape of the wood. The table is naturally framed with yellow-tan colour around the darker charcoal-black, coarse texture and the three legs serve to enhance this age-old tree trunk with a floating effect.
Family: Combretaceae. Synonym: None. Other names: Elephant's Trunk; Hardekool
Our Leadwood coffee tables are shaped to pay tribute to the grain and the natural beautiful shape of the wooden slab. The table legs combine a contrasting material to create a modern, timeless design. They are finished in matt-sprayed varnish and Danish oil respectively.
The Leadwood Tree is a protected species and varies from a shrub to large tree. Some larger trees are estimated to be over 1 000 years old and can reach up to 20 meters. This is a slow growing tree and found from the southern regions of South Africa as far up as Tanzania. The bark is pale to dark grey and rough and blocky in appearance. Even the leaves are greyish green on both sides adding to the pale look of the tree. The Ovambo people from Namibia never pass a Leadwood without paying their respects, believing that the tree represents the great ancestor of all people and animals.
USING THE WOOD
Leadwood is extremely dense and is the only wood that will sink, not float, when dropped in water. The denisity of the wood makes it very strong and durable and was used in the past for railway sleepers, mine props and hoes. Although it is extremely difficult to work with, the wood is beautiful and very valuable for commercial use. It works extremely well when carving and doing inlay work.
Leadwood is greyish-brown to dark brown. The wood has a coarse texture and a straight to interlocked grain. The wood dries well although boards of 25 mm thickness take up to five months to air-dry. It is a durable wood and resistant to fungi and borer.
The wood is very difficult to saw due to its hardness. It glues well, and can be polished and varnished to a high gloss finish.