Jan Saltet

Jan Saltet's Green Wood Chairs are made from Australian regrowth timber using a blend of traditional and modern techniques. Commonly a felled tree is taken to the sawmill and sawn into boards which are left to dry before being used. Working green wood is different: the tree is not sawn but split into the required sections and worked while the wood is still "green" and soft. Traditional hand tools are used to shape the chair parts some of which are then left to dry while other parts are kept wet.

Jan uses the natural shrinkage of those wet parts to create exceptionally tight joints in the assembled chair. Glue is not necessary. Splitting rather than sawing results in stronger longer-lasting and characteristically irregular chair as the natural grain of the timber is followed by the splitting rather than cut across by the saw.

Because of this strength pre-1914 British Government contracts specified that only split timber be used for tent pegs ladder rungs and chair parts. Jan's approach is based on the techniques of traditional chair-makers. Like them he splits and works the timber green with simple hand tools. Joints however are made using modern workshop methods which guarantee durability and accuracy. In this way he preserves the characteristics of the tree. Irregularities and curves become part of the finished chair rather than being discarded so each chair is unique.

The end result is a strong elegant light-weight chair which is sympathetic to our forest resource - a 25 year-old tree produces more than 25 chairs.

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