What is Thuya wood and where does it come from? Here are 9 facts to help explain…
Did you know?
1/ Thuya is a rare, shrubby conifer, indigenous to southern Morocco and especially the seaside town of Essaouira, in the foothills of the Atlas mountains, north west Africa.
Thuya wood (pronounced two-ya) is from this tree and is a firm, dense wood with dramatic swirled patterning, with spotted knots and eyes – known as its burl.
Family income in Essaouira is generated either by fishing, or the sale of Thuya wood products and gifts which are created by local, highly-skilled and experienced carpenters and craftsmen.
Craftspeople or artisans in Morocco are traditionally organised in souks which specialise in a specific skill – such as carpentary, pottery, leatherwork, carpet weaving or jewellery.
Teenagers learn their crafts as well as receiving holistic education – spending part of the day studying literature, religion, the economy etc and the other part of the day learning the traditional skills of their chosen discipline.
Many of theses artisans group together in craft co-operatives, which helps them share overhead costs and to jointly market their goods.
2/ Thuya is pronounced…. Tweeya. A member of the cedar family and named by the Greeks from the word “thusia”, meaning “sacrifice”.
3/ It is commonly seen as a cross between walnut and maple, with similar burls. It is prized for it’s strength, smoothness and wonderful aroma.
The Thuya tree is actually a conifer and renown for its aromatic oils – often extracted and used as incense in aromatherapy and spiritual practice. In fact, some churches still work with thuya oil and resin for sacred ceremonies and consider it medicinal in nature.
The wood is fragrant – slightly “piney”, sharp and fresh in scent.
So not only will your the box look visually stunning, it will also smell wonderful too.
4/ Also known as Citron and historically called Thyine wood.
5/ Interestingly. the wood is harvested from burls where the tree has been cut at the base to make new growth and from surface roots – NOT from the trunk or branches of the tree.
6/ Trees are typically 70 years old before they are cut.
7/ A pine scented oil is extracted from the resin and is used in aromatherapy and homeopathy.
8/ The Thuya tree is one of few that can re-grow after being cut down to the trunk, thus maintaining sustainability and supported by a vigorous re-planting program.
9/ A Thuya wood box makes a truly unique gift as no two items are ever alike.
Lemon juice and vegetable oil are polished into the wood, revealing Thuya’s natural burled grain. Each piece is rubbed by hand for hours and you can actually smell the aroma from this process when opening your box.
Each piece is finished-off with a hand-rubbed shellac type varnish coating and buffed.
And here’s a bonus tip helping you to care for your Thuya wood…
10/ To remove dust, dip a soft, clean cloth in warm soapy water, wring it out until slightly damp and then wipe the wood with the cloth.
Afterwards, get another soft, clean cloth and dry the wood.
As a general rule, wood with an oil or wax finish will need to be oiled about once a year to prevent the risk of it cracking.
Use a mineral oil, olive oil or linseed oil.
There you have it – a whistle-stop tour of this special wood and all it has to offer.
Take a close look at these Thuya wood products and gifts in the range and see the fabulous burls first hand.
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