Buying new Ulin should be heavily fined, here is why.

Ulin ironwood

Eusideroxylon zwageri is a rare timber tree native to the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines region. It is known colloquially in English as Bornean ironwood, billian, or ulin. It is a slow growing tree with an average 0.5 centimeters per year.

The decline of this species which was first noted in 1955. Browne (1955) stated: “Our surviving supplies of Ulin are by no means very large and undoubtedly dwindling.” Population reduction has been noted in the following regions: Kalimantan, Sumatra, Sabah, Sarawak, and the Philippines. IUCN has categorized it Vulnerable A1cd and A2cd. CITES listed II Bi (unsustainable level of exploitation from the wild for international trade). Regeneration in logged-over forests is limited.
The species is threatened by over-exploitation, predominantly by illegal migrant loggers. Current demand for the timber is fueled for its esteem among Chinese as a coffin wood (as it is resistant to insect and rot). Included in list of vanishing timber species of the Philippines and considered almost extinct in Sabah. In
Java and Sumatra it exists solely in National Parks. Currently the situation is assessed as a serious depletion of stands. The species is only planted on a small scale because the supply of seeds and seedlings is inadequate. The world-famous IPB Bogor Agricultural Institute (Insitut Pertanian Bogor) is currently breeding a generation of plants more hardy than the wild harvested seeds.

Ulin is an endangered species and buying new Ulin (as you can often find even here in Bali!) or so called “reclaim Ulin” without any prove of its sustainability and how it was replaced is participating in the depleting of Indonesia’s forest and bringing Ulin always closer to extinction.


Some extracts from wikipedia.

Cleaning and maintaining your hardwood floor

Remember, your hardwood flooring is designed to last decades and taking care of your hardwood floors will be different than maintaining your carpet or other types of flooring. It’s also important to know that historical hardwood floors were typically cared for differently (and still may be) than how hardwood flooring installed today should be cared for. We, at Kaltimber, will be able to help you obtain cleaning and maintenance kits that will help you properly maintain your new hardwood flooring.

    • Sweep your floors on a regular basis with a soft bristled broom or vacuum with a vacuum that is designed to work specifically with hardwood flooring. Consider making it a ritual and then always doing it again after events that involve lots of foot traffic such as family gatherings or entertaining.
    • Use only approved hardwood floor cleaning products on your hardwood floor.
    • If you run out of hardwood flooring cleaner that is made specifically for your type of hardwood floor, purchase a generic brand from a local hardware or home improvement store. Resist the urge to use any other type of cleaner even one time.
    • If you must spot clean stubborn areas, do so with a very slightly damp mop or rag with some hardwood floor cleaner. Dry the spot fully immediately.
    • Place throw rugs with cloth or felt backing down in front of the doorways that lead to the outside of the house to minimize dirt or debris from being tracked in. Clean underneath these rugs often to avoid trapped debris from scratching the floor.
    • Avoid using throw rugs with rubber backings as they can cause discoloration over time.
    • Place felt liners on the bottoms of all furniture pieces. Replace felt liners as they become worn.
    • When you move furniture, if you can safely do so, pick up the furniture completely to avoid scratching the floor or place carpet under it to pull.
    • Place an area rug on the floor in front of the kitchen sink to help catch moisture before it has it chance to sit on the wood.
    • Clean up all spills immediately.
    • Consider adopting a “no shoes” policy. If this won’t work, then at least avoid walking on the wood with sports shoes, cleats and boots with spikes or high heels. The pounds per square inch exerted by standing on the floor in one of these items are enough to cause dents or scratches in any floor surface.
    • Keep your pets nails trimmed. Some grooming establishments offer to “sand” or “grind” down your furry friends nails as a part of a pet manicure. For pets whose nails grow quickly, a combination of the two methods can be used to keep the nails shorter than normal (without harming your pet) and without the sharp edges that can come with recently clipped pet nails.
    • Avoid activities that you may have used the floor for in the past such as cutting down boxes with box knives or cutting fabric with sharp scissors when working with patterns, unless you purposely put a suitable barrier down first.
    • Do not use cleaners designed to eliminate or repel dust.
    • Do not use wax-based products on the floor as they can leave a dull finish over time.
    • Do not use ammonia based products on your hardwood floor.
    • Dry room such as air-con bedroom can overtime cause crack to appear on the wood. Prefer fan to air-con.
    • Light sanding / wire-brushing of your floor and re-coating should be done by a professional hardwood floor installer.

Always follow the manufacturer guidelines and consult your local authorized Kaltimber re-seller if you have any questions.

Teak vs Teak

Teak Grades

Teak wood is available in three different quality grades which play the key role in outdoor performance and durability of the furniture. It is therefore highly important to know what is the difference between teak grades and how to distinguish between the highest quality teak and inferior timber.

Grade A Teak

Grade A teak is the highest quality teak wood. It refers to timber that is taken from the very centre of the log (heartwood) of a fully mature tree. Grade A teak can be recognised by a uniform, golden brown colour, close grains and glossy surface that feels oily to touch. It is high in teak natural oils which play the key role in teak outstanding resistance to outdoor elements by protecting it from unfavourable weather elements and repelling insects. Unfortunately, it makes up only about a fifth to one quarter of the log and as a result, it has a high price.

Grade B Teak

Grade B teak refers to timber from the outer heartwood section, making up about one fourth to one third of the log. In comparison to grade A teak, grade B teak has a lighter colour, uneven grain and less shine. It contains only traces of teak natural oils and as a result, it is unable to withstand the exposure to the outdoor extremes without protective treatments. But even then, it doesn’t last even close as long as furniture made from the highest quality teak.

Grade C Teak

Grade C teak is an inferior quality teak wood. It refers to timber from the outer sections of a mature log (sapwood) and logs of immature trees. Grade C teak contains virtually no teak natural protective oils, has a very uneven colour and is easily damaged because it is very soft. Furniture that is made from grade C teak is even considered unsuitable for indoor use due to its softness that makes it highly susceptible to damage. Although it is taken from the very same tree species, grade C teak has no similarity to the highest quality teak neither in regard to outdoor performance, beauty or durability. Grade C teak garden furniture is relatively inexpensive but it has a very short lifespan even if it is treated with protective coating or periodically oiled.


Please note that grade B and C teak garden furniture is sometimes chemically treated to make it look as if it would be made from the highest quality timber. It can be recognised by a darker colour but most people can’t really see the difference between the two, unless seen next to each other. If you are after the highest quality teak garden furniture, you are recommended to buy from reputable manufacturers who offer an extensive guarantee on their products.


Read it, plant it, enjoy it!

The Mainichi newspaper is one of the dailies most sold in Japan with its 5.5 million of prints sold per day. It is also a group that takes very seriously the issue on the protection of the environment. As a result, it seeks by all means to promote the ecological behavior, such as his newspaper which can be planted in a pot after reading.

 Paper that can give a beautiful flower, it's an idea that may seem to us original, but which is already in vogue in the Japan. With the Mainichi newspaper, one can plant it and have a flower! Simply put crumbs of the paper in Earth and moisten it.

These "magical" papers are made of recycled paper with a mix of seeds of flowers and herbs. These papers are part of the "Green Newspaper" initiative, which was initiated by the Japanese advertising agency, Dentsu. The idea has been so successful that the Japanese have adopted it. This, even though the country of the sun rising is known by its large consumer society.

 The goal of the "Green Newspaper" is not only ecological, but also to develop a new communication strategy with a product that respects the environment and that protects it from the most beautiful ways.


Protect your tropical wood deck from weather

Why seal my wood?

As you can see on the picture, nature can have a disastrous effect on your exterior wood. The natural effects of the sun and water will cause graying, fading, mildew, cupping, splintering, cracking and warping.

This is why it is necessary to seal your exterior wood. Properly sealing the wood will prevent water from seeping into cracks which causes cracking, cupping, bowing, and splintering. The UV protectors in our seal greatly reduce the effects of the sun, such as cracking, drying, and graying.

Wood is also, in many ways, a living, breathing thing. Wood expands and contracts when it is cold or hot. Wood needs to breathe and it also needs to be protected properly from the elements.

When should I have my deck sealed?

Anytime of the year is a good time to have your wood protected. You can ask us for advice.

Should I seal the wood myself?

Sealing your own deck may seem easy enough, but many times homeowners create irreversible damage to their deck. Not pressure washing properly, using a corrosive chemical on your deck, or using the wrong sealant can be disastrous, and your deck can NEVER be repaired 100%. Considering the fact that most sealants only last 6 months to a year, you are the stuck with the predicament of what to do then. Do you have to strip it all off using strong chemicals? Or should you recoat over existing faded seal, which will not give your deck a uniform look? Or you could wind up paying a professional a much higher fee to repair the damage. The best solution is to have it done properly the first time. For that also feel free to ask us and we’ll be pleased to assist and guide you.

Passion has no handicap for this wood working lover.

Feet are made for walking, and hands are made for holding. The addition of an opposable thumb on our hands offers human beings the ability to handle just about any object with ease. But that dexterity doesn’t exist in the foot.

That is, unless you’re Sentayehu Tishale. The 43-year-old woodworker who hales from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia lost his arms to polio during childhood. The limitations imposed upon him by debilitating illness propelled him into a life of begging on the streets of the Ethiopian capitol, until the love of a woman turned him around. According to the Huffington Post, Tishale’s spouse urged him to develop his mind and his artisanal skills. He taught himself to read and set out to develop his skills as a woodworker.

Today Tishale can be found building a variety of small projects for clients, including stools and even chests of drawers.


Passion has no handicap

Passion has no handicap

Rare wood spotted

kaltimber tropical wood

In woodworking hewing is the process of converting a log from its rounded natural form into lumber (timber) with more or less flat surfaces using primarily an axe. It is an ancient method still used occasionally to square up beams for timber framing.



Hew is a general term meaning to strike or blow with a tool such as an axe or sword; to chop or gash, and is used in warfare, stone and wood cutting, and coal and salt mining in this sense. Hewing wood is to shape the wood with a sharp instrument such as an axe, specifically flattening one or more sides of a log.



As an ancient method of timber conversion, different methods of each step in hewing have developed in history.


Prepare log

After a tree is selected and felled, hewing can take place where the log landed or be skidded or twitched out of the woods to a work site. The log is placed across two other smaller logs near the ground or up on trestles about waist height; stabilized either by notching the support logs, or using a "timber dog" (also called a log dog, a long bar of iron with a tooth on either end that jams into the logs and prevents movement). The hewer measures and locates the timber within the log on both ends and marks lines along the length of a log, usually with a chalk line.



The next step is to chop notches every foot or two, almost as deep as the marked line using a chopping or scoring axe, called scoring.

At least three methods are used in scoring:

1) Standing on the log and swinging an axe to chop the score

2) In Germany a method of two carpenters standing on the ground with the log on trestles and swinging downward to slice the scores

3) A chainsaw is used to notch the log, the sections created by the notching are then split off using a felling axe.


Joggling or juggling

The pieces of wood between the notches are knocked off with an axe, this process called juggling or joggling. This results in a rough surface pared down just shy of the marked line. Scoring and juggling remove a fair amount of wood, make hewing easier and prevent long shreds of wood being torn off.



Hewing is the last step in this whole process, which is also collectively referred to as hewing. Hewing is done on the logs sides with a broadaxe. Hewing occurs from the bottom of the stem upwards towards what was the top of the standing tree, reducing the tendency of the broken fibers to migrate inwards towards the eventual beam.


Further smoothing can then be done using a hand plane, drawknife, yariganna (an ancient Japanese cutting tool) or any other established or improvised means.

Modern uses

Although still used in niche modern building, salvaged hand-hewn beams are now commonly recycled as architectural details popular in new construction and renovation of homes. They are also popular as decor in commercial and restaurant spaces.

Even in Kaltimber we rarely come upon axe hewn Ulin (Kalimantan's ironwood) boards or lumber such as our picture above. It makes extra exclusive and high standing decking, flooring or architectural beams.



Source: Wikipedia – Kaltimber documentation


Equilibrium Moisture Content: who, why, when, how.

The equilibrium moisture content (EMC) is the moisture content at which the wood is neither gaining nor losing moisture; this however, is a dynamic equilibrium and changes with relative humidity and temperature. Expressed as a percentage, the EMC describes what percentage of the material’s mass is made up by water. EMC is therefore determined by the inherent properties of the material and the temperature and relative humidity of the environment.

In many ways, it is more difficult to evaluate the impact of fluctuations in the environment's relative humidity than the environment's temperature because Moisture Equilibration is influenced by more variables than thermal equilibration. For example, enclosures or housing situations may act as moisture barriers and thus influence the how quickly (or how slowly) the objects are exposed to the new humidity conditions. The temperature will also influence the rate of moisture equilibration. Furthermore, there is more variation in the capacity of the individual objects or materials to control moisture equilibration than thermal equilibration.


I/ Who?

Only hygroscopic materials – organic materials that naturally contain water – are susceptible to moisture equilibration.

First, while it may seem too obvious to state, moisture equilibration is only relevant for organic materials that naturally contain water, or hygroscopic materials. Only hygroscopic materials will absorb or desorb water to equilibrate with the relative humidity of the environment. Non-hygroscopic materials – materials that do not inherently contain water - will not equilibrate with changes in the environment's moisture because they have no moisture to release, nor the nature to absorb any moisture. For example, organic, cellulosic materials such as paper or textiles will adjust to changes in the moisture of the environment (they will equilibrate) by absorbing or desorbing moisture, while inorganic materials like metal will not. Non-hygroscopic materials such as metal may be affected by the environment's moisture in other ways, (corrosion is an obvious example) but they will not equilibrate with the moisture content of the environment.


II/ Why?

Hygroscopic materials are constantly exchanging moisture with the air in the form of water vapor.

At any given moment, there is a dynamic exchange of moisture occurring between an object's core, its perimeter, and the air of the environment. The moisture is transferred in the form of water vapor by the process of diffusion. The moisture diffuses from the material into the air, then it diffuses back to the material and then back to the air. Roughly speaking, this diffusion is driven by differences in moisture content. So, when an area with more moisture comes in contact with an area less moisture, moisture is transferred from the area of higher concentration of moisture to the area of lower concentration of moisture. Because this exchange of moisture is continuous, eventually enough moisture is diffused from the air into the material (or the material into the air) that the material neither gains nor loses moisture in the exchange. At this point, the object has reached moisture equilibrium with the environment. This dynamic, continuous exchange is why hygroscopic materials equilibrate with the relative humidity of the environment.


III/ When?

When the moisture content of the material is not in equilibrium with the relative humidity of the environment, the material adjusts its moisture content to reach equilibrium.

When hygroscopic materials are moved from one humidity condition to another, (or when they are exposed to humidity fluctuations), the moisture content of the materials is no longer in equilibrium with the relative humidity of the air. Confronted with this difference in moisture content, the material will absorb or release (desorb) moisture until its moisture content reaches equilibrium with the new environmental condition. For example, if the relative humidity of the environment increases, the material will absorb moisture from the environment. In other words, if the moisture content of the air increases, the material reacts so that its moisture content will also increase. During absorption, the moisture travels from the outside of the object inward, affecting the edges and the top of the object before reaching the object's core. Similarly, if the relative humidity of the environment decreases, the material will release (or desorb) moisture into the environment. In other words, if the moisture content of the air decreases, the material will react so that its moisture content will also decrease. During desorption, the moisture travels from the inside of the object outward towards the surface.

The materials thus respond to the changes in the moisture content of the air. But, just as with temperature equilibration, the new moisture equilibrium is not attained instantly. It takes time for the material to respond to the new conditions, to absorb or desorb the appropriate amount of moisture. Only if the new humidity conditions persist long enough will the entire object –from its perimeter to its core - reach a moisture equilibrium with the relative humidity of the environment.

IV/ How much?

The amount of moisture organic materials contain is primarily determined by the relative humidity of the air.

Because hygroscopic materials equilibrate with the relative humidity of the environment, the relative humidity is the primary determinant of a material's moisture content. The amount of moisture a material contains when it has reached equilibrium with its environment is described as the Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC). Expressed as a percentage, the EMC describes how much of the material's mass is made up by water (For example, if an object is has an EMC of 8% at 60oF and 40% Relative Humidity, then there are 8 grams of water in every 100 grams of material when the material has reached equilibrium with that environment).

Not all materials contain the same amount of moisture.


V/ How fast?

The rate of moisture equilibration is influenced by each material's inherent capacity to control moisture diffusion.

As stated earlier, materials don't respond instantaneously to changes in the environment. It takes time for the material to absorb or desorb the appropriate amount of moisture to adjust to the new humidity conditions. The length of time it takes an object to equilibrate, however, depends on many variables; the inherent properties of the object, the hygroscopic nature of the material, the dimensional characteristics, and the surface exposure to the environment all influence moisture equilibration. 


VI/ So what!?

What does this "slow" rate of moisture equilibration mean in respect to environmental fluctuations?

Just because the relative humidity of the environment suddenly increases 20% does not mean the moisture content of the object simultaneously increases. In fact, if the increase is temporary, the object may not "feel" the change at all.

Knowing that moisture equilibration is a slow process gives us an important perspective on the significance of environmental fluctuations.


Bigourdan, J.-L., P. Z. Adelstein, and J. M. Reilly, "Moisture and Temperature Equilibration: Behavior and Practical Significance in Photographic Film Preservation," La Conservation: Une Science en Evolution, Bilans et Perspectives, Actes des Troisiemes Journées Internationales d'Etudes de l'ARSAG, Paris, 21 au 25 Avril 1997, (Paris: Association pour la recherche scientifique sur les arts graphiques, 1997) pp. 154-164. (Open PDF file)
Bigourdan, J.-L., and J. M. Reilly, "Effects of Fluctuating Environments on Library and Archives Materials," Final Report to the Institute of Museum and Library Services, IMLS Grant #LL-80088-98, Image Permanence Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, Februrary 15, 2003.


Reclaim Recycle Recycle Reclaim….


Reclaim: to recover (useful substances) from waste products

Recycle: To recondition and adapt to a new use or function

According to these definitions reclaiming is the action to recover material, such as solid hardwoods in our Kaltimber operations, while recycling is the process of transforming it into something else, in our case flooring, decking, furnitures, B2B objects and others.

Using reclaimed wood is one of the purest forms of recycling in the construction industry. Demolishing one structure carefully, and then using the parts to build new ones, can have many advantages. For one thing, new lumber isn't required, so new trees don't have to be cut. For another, reclaimed wood may not have to be shaped, only transported, which saves on time and labor costs.

Consider that; it’s not just wood, it’s a wooden slice of history.