By dbcjoinery, Apr 22 2015 07:21PM
Recently I had to source some uncommon timber and, via Ebay, stumbled upon a fantastic local supplier I'd never heard of before. Feuillus Fencing operate out of some converted agricultural buildings in Manningtree on the north-east Essex border. What a place. Honestly, they could open up their storerooms as a timber species museum and charge admission.
Being hopeless with names I've already forgotten that of the nice bloke who runs the place, but he took 15 minutes out of his day to show me around when I called in to pick up my stock. Feuillus is far from your average pine and oak timber yard.
As I understand it, they started off making fences and gates from hardy species such as cedar and mahogany but, finding them difficult to source, started buying in bulk themselves. While they still do the fencing, over time they have gained a reputation in the trade as buyers of hard-to-get species who are happy to buy smaller quantities and shorter lengths.
They have a thriving eBay business where they sell smaller quantities to musical instrument makers, boat builders, furniture makers, turners and hobbyists; 5,000 eBay transactions without negative feedback is an impressive record.
While I was there I saw, amongst other popular species, Mahogany, Iroko, Maple, Teak, Sapele, Walnut, Ash, Tulip wood and Lime wood. However, most of their stock I couldn't even identify: hardwoods with tiger stripes, burls and unusual figuring literally clog up one of their storerooms. I was like a kid in a candy store.
I was introduced to Red Grandis (Eucalyptus Grandis) which is currently being touted as the hardwood of the future. This is a plantation-grown species that looks great and has just been given Forest Stewardship Council certification due to its plentiful supply and in the hope that it will curtail the importing of non-sustainable species.
If you've ever been on holiday somewhere relatively unusual and unknown and had an amazing time you're faced with a dilemma: you know you're going back again but if you tell too many people how great the place is it might get spoilt. That's how I feel about Feuillus. This post may be taken down tomorrow.