Indoor plants, a green anti-pollution weapon?

What do you do to improve the air quality of your home? First answer: Air! On the other hand, some plants can absorb pollutants that are present in the air. But what about in real life conditions, in the habitat?

Formaldehyde, xylene, benzene, toluene, etc. are chemical compounds that pollute your dwelling year-round, without you being able to realize it. They are found in commercial specialties that you commonly use such as paints, detergents, cosmetics and maintenance products. Some of these substances would be responsible, according to specialists, for allergies, respiratory diseases, chronic fatigue and they may even be suspected of being carcinogenic.

However, work has shown that most of our indoor plants have the ability to transform said unwanted substances into clean particles! However, let us not be mistaken: to improve indoor air quality, it is especially important to ventilate and ventilate the rooms.

The Ademe (Agency for Environment and Energy Control) considers: the argument "cleansing plants" is not scientifically validated with regard to the levels of pollution generally encountered in homes and new Scientific knowledge in the field. In terms of improving indoor air quality, the priority remains the prevention and limitation of sources of pollution (maintaining water heaters and boilers, reducing the use of household chemicals...) accompanied by a ventilation or more generally a ventilation of the premises (maintenance of the ventilation system, do not block the ventilation openings, open the windows a few minutes every day...) ». Anyway, the culture of some of these plants will bring a lot of charm to your different rooms...


plnate et jardin








Article by Michel Caron published on January 18, 2018 on futura-sciences

Your beneficial friend the forest: Shinrin-Yoku

The Japanese practice of forest bathing is proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production (cortisol), boost the immune system, improve overall feelings of wellbeing, lowering anxiety and anger, increase of natural killers (specific cells fighting cancer), positivie regulation of heart rate, etc...

Forest bathing—basically just being in the presence of trees—became part of a national public health program in Japan in 1982 when the forestry ministry coined the phrase shinrin-yoku (meaning Forest bathing or Forest showering) and promoted topiary as therapy. Nature appreciation—picnicking en masse under the cherry blossoms, for example—is a national pastime in Japan, so forest bathing quickly took. The environment’s wisdom has long been evident to the culture.

Forest bathing works simply: Just be with trees. You can sit or meander, but the point is to relax rather than accomplish anything.

From 2004 to 2012, Japanese officials spent about $4 million dollars studying the physiological and psychological effects of forest bathing, designating 48 therapy trails based on the results. Qing Li, a professor at Nippon Medical School in Tokyo, measured the activity of human natural killer (NK) cells in the immune system before and after exposure to the woods. These cells provide rapid responses to viral-infected cells and respond to tumor formation, and are associated with immune system health and cancer prevention. In a 2009 study Li’s subjects showed significant increases in NK cell activity in the week after a forest visit, and positive effects lasted a month following each weekend in the woods.

This is due to various essential oils, generally called phytoncide, found in wood, plants, and some fruit and vegetables, which trees emit to protect themselves from germs and insects. Forest air doesn’t just feel fresher and better—inhaling phytoncide seems to actually improve immune system function.

Experiments on forest bathing conducted by the Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences in Japan’s Chiba University measured its physiological effects on 280 subjects in their early 20s. The team measured the subjects’ salivary cortisol (which increases with stress), blood pressure, pulse rate, and heart rate variability during a day in the city and compared those to the same biometrics taken during a day with a 30-minute forest visit. “Forest environments promote lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity than do city environments,” the study concluded.

In other words, being in nature made subjects, physiologically, less amped. The parasympathetic nerve system controls the body’s rest-and-digest system while the sympathetic nerve system governs fight-or-flight responses. Subjects were more rested and less inclined to stress after a forest bath.

Trees soothe the spirit too. A study on forest bathing’s psychological effects surveyed 498 healthy volunteers, twice in a forest and twice in control environments. The subjects showed significantly reduced hostility and depression scores, coupled with increased liveliness, after exposure to trees. “Accordingly,” the researchers wrote, “forest environments can be viewed as therapeutic landscapes.”

City dwellers can benefit from the effects of trees with just a visit to the park. Brief exposure to greenery in urban environments can relieve stress levels, and experts have recommended “doses of nature” as part of treatment of attention disorders in children. What all of this evidence suggests is we don’t seem to need a lot of exposure to gain from nature—but regular contact appears to improve our immune system function and our wellbeing.

Beneficial effects from a onetime exposure can last for up to 30 days. Time in 2018 to plan some forest trips!

Your beneficial friend the forest.

Your beneficial friend the forest.







Many articles are available online regarding that subject. Le Point from November 2, 2017 offers a wide range of article in relation to forest intelligence and Forest bathing.

How plants are cleaning soils

Some plants are able to participate in the depollution of contaminated soils on which they grow. It's the phytoremediation. To achieve this, they implement different strategies.

In France, several hundred thousand industrial areas left fallow have polluted soils. In order to extract toxic substances, the use of mechanical or physico-chemical solutions is mainly used. They are relatively efficient and fast. On the other hand, they reduce the fertility and productivity of the treated soils.

A more environmentally friendly method of trying to eliminate pollutants through living organisms can also be used. And when we exploit the properties of certain plants, we talk about phytoremediation. The process is 100% natural. Its cost is more than reasonable and it is suitable for large areas. However, treatment times are long and decontamination can remain superficial.

Phytoremediation: Several modes of action

Depending on the situation, it is a particular plant rather than another one that will have to be used.

So some plants act by phytoextraction. Their roots extract pollutants from the soil. Pollutants that are then stored in the stems and leaves. This is the case with the culture of sunflower which can absorb metals as well as radioelements.

Other plants also act through their roots. These sequester the pollutants (arsenic, radioelements, etc.) in the soil, preserving the food chain and groundwater. This method of phytostabilisation can be implemented using Poplars for example.

The Weeping Willow, for its part, tends to accelerate the degradation of organic compounds (hydrocarbons, pesticides, etc.) through specific enzymes or live micro-organisms in the environment of its roots. It's the phytodegradation.

In the case of Phytovolatilisation, pollutants, which have become less harmful after a passage through the roots and leaves, are released into the atmosphere by the plant. This is how tobacco can treat certain pesticides or metals.


Soil contamination

Soil contamination





A great video regarding soil contamination can be watched following this link.

Beauty in waste

Kaltimber is a hardwood decking and flooring specialist company which aim to provide high quality standards of production and finished goods. Our wood has been reclaimed or salvaged from ethical and legal sources. Hardwoods take thousands of years to grow and they deserve our utmost respect; as such we have a ‘full circle’ production, where we reduce waste and utilize our woods to the max.

With that in mind we aim to reuse as much as possible anything available. A good example is the piece in the picture here under. This a deco item made of a 4x15x20cm feet (leftover from a production - reclaimed from a bridge in East Kalimantan) and a 4x15x55cm board eaten by clams after many years serving as underwater structure of a harbor.

Wood inspires us with unique creations, we do not constrain wood to our ideas



papan kayu ulin

Installing countertops

Installing countertops is easy if you know what problems to avoid: unlevel surfaces, out-of-square walls, unfavorable corner conditions, and built-in equipment.

Countertops not only provide the main work surfaces (commonly in a kitchen but it can also be used in bathroom, bedroom and any other space where you feel like it!), but they also offer an opportunity to add a splash of color and materiality to the space. With the nearly limitless design options for countertops, choosing the material and color is often the most difficult part of installing new countertops. Depending on the type of material, fabricating a countertop can be a challenge for a do-it-yourselfer, but installing the countertop is a project almost any do-it-yourselfer can handle as long as you follow the steps.

Installing countertops seems like a pretty easy task – set the countertop on top of the structure (base cabinets, etc…) and secure it in place. However, installing countertops is a seemingly easy job that can quickly turn into a headache for those DIYers unprepared to deal with unlevel surfaces, out-of-square walls, unfavorable corner conditions, and built-in equipment. It is also important to understand the nuances of the various materials available for use as countertops, such as granite, concrete, wood (either hard or softwood), plastic laminate and synthetic solid-surface materials.

For our projects, we are building either Tongue in Groove countertops in reclaim Ulin Kalimantan or Javanese Teak. Kaltimber makes solid-surface countertops that use reclaim hardwood that is jointed together and glued then polished smooth for our S4S finishing, wire brushed for our S3S finishing or a mix of both for our unique semi-smooth finishing.

Fabricating the countertop

The first step is to fabricate the countertop. Solid hardwood countertops, like the type we are making, typically require specialized tools and materials, making professional fabrication a norm.

Planning the fabrication of the countertop begins with taking measurements and determining where to locate any joints, if necessary. Since rooms are almost never perfectly square or level, it is important to know where the countertop may need to be a little deeper or a little narrower to fit the walls as precisely as possible.





You can find a very interesting video and additional data on this original link.

Your decking is a great drug!

Ulin ironwood tree

Dayak ethnic group is the indigenous people of Kalimantan Island and mainly live in a remote area. Dayak ethnic group in West Kalimantan is divided into 151 subethnic groups and their languages are classified into 168 groups. Since their residential areas are isolated from other villages, they depend on their environment, especially, the forest. It functions as a place to meet their basic needs because they have the knowledge how to utilize natural resources. Especially, plants have been used as medicine to treat diseases. Therefore, medicinal plants are known as their local wisdom and survival knowledge related to environment. Nowadays, the utilization of medicinal plants is facing several threats due to the scarcity of this knowledge and forest condition. Generally, this knowledge of the utilization of medicinal plants is not well documented since it is orally transferred from generation to generation. While younger generation accepts new culture from outside of their village, the knowledge of medicinal plants is fading. Forest conversion also contributed to the decreasing number of medicinal plant species. Approximately 21.51% of 9,125,486 ha of forest that functions as the main habitat of medicinal plants in West Kalimantan have been lost since 2010. Therefore, to conserve the knowledge of medicinal plants, it is necessary for the Dayak people to use them continuously to treat diseases. The documentation of medicinal plants utilization of several Dayak sub-ethnic groups is already reported. Dayak Uud Danum means a Dayak sub-ethnic group who lives in the upstream areas of Ambalau and Serawai river of Sintang Regency. In Dayak Uud Danum community, people use 95 species of medicinal plants. One of them, Tebelion (Eusideroxylon zwageri) has been used to treat diseases such as diarrhea, fever and allergy as the decoction of leaves by hot water. These diseases often caused by infections induce inflammation. Therefore, these medicinal plant is suggested to have anti-inflammatory activity. Inflammation is one of causes of diarrhea and plays an important role in the allergic disease such as delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH). Diarrhea is difficult to be fully recovered in a patient with an inflammatory bowel disease. Prolonged inflammation of intestine may lead to the increasing risk of colon cancer. Not only in cutaneous skin infection, but also in patients bearing transplanted tissues and tumors, DTH must be considered. Since both IFN-γ and TNF-α are involved in the inflammation of DTH and colon epithelial cells, it is useful to examine the anti-inflammatory effects of medicinal plants on DTH and the inflammation of colon epithelial cells. E. zwageri has anti-melanogenesis activity (Arung et al. 2009). The activity of their plant extracts was reported.

Medicinal plants have been used to treat diseases caused by the malfunction of the immune system. Many reports have been published to prove that chemical compounds from medicinal plants have immunosuppressive effects. Currently, it is well known that secondary metabolites from natural products such as medicinal plants have a broad spectrum of biological activities, and the anti-inflammatory activity is one of them. Flavonoid group, one group of secondary metabolites, has anti-inflammatory activity and is used to develop a new type anti-inflammatory agent. Recently, E. zwageri is identified to have bioactive compounds through phytochemical screening. It is reported to have alkaloid, phenolic, flavonoid, saponin and steroid compounds. Among these medicinal plants used in this study, there are various bioactive compounds that might contribute to the suppression of ear thickness in this model of DTH response. It is also conceivable that secondary metabolites of medicinal plants may have anti-inflammatory activities and affect to several pathways of various phases of inflammation. Presence of potent bioactive compounds such as phenolic and flavonoid compounds may contribute to antiinflammatory activities.

Inflammation has an important role as one of natural protection mechanism and it has a dual nature like a double edged sword. Over production of several inflammatory mediators leads to a chronic disease. Therefore, in order to explore anti-inflammatory reagents from natural products, various criteria must be applied to screen medicine. It is well known that many indigenous people around the world use medicinal plants as anti-inflammatory medicine to treat several diseases. In West Kalimantan Indonesia, although government has been providing adequate health facilities and modern medicines, some people who live in poverty or in remote areas from government health facilities still rely on traditional medicinal plants to treat diseases such as fever, allergy, and diarrhea. Dayak Uud Danum, indigenous people of West Kalimantan, Indonesia is one of the communities who still use and preserve knowledge of medicinal plants as their local wisdom. Through an ethnopharmacological approach, activities of many bioactive compounds from plants will be determined. Although E. zwageri has anti-inflammatory activities in term of suppressing delayed-type hypersensitivity, further experiments are necessary to determine the mechanisms of potential plant extracts to regulate the inflammation.


Additional info;

Although the seeds are poisonous, the fruit and seeds have medicinal uses, and are used locally to treat swellings. Seed extract was shown to have anti-melanogenetic properties, indicating a potential for use in skin-whitening cosmetics. The screening methods used were melanin formation inhibition assay using B16 melanoma cells. The extracts of Eusideroxylon zwageri (seed), showed DPPH radical-scavenging activity of more than 70 percent at 100 microg/ml and extracts of E. zwageri (seed, 100 microg/ml) strongly inhibited the melanin production of B16 melanoma cells without significant cytotoxicity. These findings indicate that this plant from Central Kalimantan are potential ingredients for skin-whitening cosmetics if their safety can be confirmed.



Source: Kuroshio Science, CABI Encyclopedia of Forest Trees, Journal of Natural Medicines v. 63(4): p. 473-480, 2009.

Butterfly joint, what is it?

A Butterfly joint is a type of joint used either to hold two or more wooden boards together or to keep two halves of a board that have already started to split from splitting further. They may also be used to stabilize the core of a knothole, preventing it from dropping out over time. They are also commonly used as decorative inlays for non structural aesthetic purposes.

A negative of the hole is cut out of the board the butterfly will be placed in and the butterfly is then fitted, keeping the joint together. The wood used for the butterfly is usually a contrasting wood but not always.

Butterfly joint have been used both in decorative and structural joints since ancient times. They were prominently used in construction of the Cairo Dahshur Boats, a type of Khufu shop from the Egyptian middle kingdom. They were also historically used in repairing cracks in dutch tabletops in the 18th century. This is where the other name of this type of joint, Dutchman joint, originates. The butterfly joint was installed across the crack to stabilize and inhibit further movement of the crack.

Another name is Dovetail key as it looks like two Dovetails opposed by their tips.


butterfly joint

The village where a curse protects the forest

Local tradition in Mungku Baru has kept high-value ironwood trees from being felled over the years.

Today, however, some of the trees lie in a timber company’s concession.

The villagers’ beliefs have been codified into customary law.

Although it is administratively part of Palangkaraya in Central Kalimantan, the village of Mungku Baru is far from the city in both distance and development. Cell phone signal is scarce, and there is no government electricity. Several houses have small solar panels, while others rely on generators for power – but 40,000 rupiah worth of fuel only lasts until 9 p.m.

Two hundred families live in Mungku Baru. Most are farmers, many have rubber plantations, some scour the forest for honey and traditional medicines.

“We also grow dry-land rice,” Anton, one of the villagers, told Mongabay. “We plant in October and harvest in March. It’s all organic. We don’t use chemical fertilizers.”

The most prized aspect of the village, however, is its rare ironwood forest. Known locally as ulin, Eusideroxylon zwageri is a high-value timber species and is often the first targeted by loggers. Its slow growth rate produces a tight grain that resists rot and termites. Ironwood buildings last for hundreds of years in the harsh wood-devouring climate of Indonesia.

The ironwood forest is located upriver of the village, besieged by PT Taiyoung Engreen, a timber company that is clear-cutting the surrounding forest. The company has, so far, respected the villagers’ rights to the land, leaving it untouched.

“The company has never disturbed our ironwood forest,” said Redie, one of the forest’s caretakers. “Therefore it is still in good condition.”

There are no roads or trails through the preserve, and unlike most rainforests still remaining in Kalimantan, there are still large-diameter trees and a wide diversity of other flora and fauna.

From this patch of land, the locals harvest several varieties of traditional medicine, such as iro, a fern used for treating liver ailments; tusuk kesong, a long tree root used for asthma; kelanis, a general purpose medicine; gensing, used for arthritis; belawan bark, good for diarrhea; semar, also used for asthma; and ants nests, for treating mumps. In addition, the locals believe the roots of the ironwood tree can be consumed to increase endurance.

“We don’t sell these medicines, but use them for our own needs,” Redie explained. “In the future, we might start a small business [in medicinals].”

A recent survey of the 500-hectare ironwood forest found 192 ulin trees greater than 20 centimeters in diameter. Despite a ban on export of new Kalimantan ironwood, vendors on the Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba still list Kalimantan ulin at upwards of $3,000 per cubic meter. At this price, rough calculations place the value of those trees at well over $360,000. Luckily with the recent redline on import/export it had became increasingly difficult to export new Ulin. Only reclaim Ulin from disused structure is officially authorized for export.

Even so, the locals are not interested in selling. They consider the forest sacred and rarely enter the preserve.

According to Hester Talajan, the traditional historian of the village, their ancestors saw that people were rapidly cutting the forest and worried there would soon be nothing left. To protect the forest, the ancestors called upon the spirits to guard it, stating that whoever dared to cut the trees would meet with untold disasters that would affect their family for generations.

This curse was then codified into customary law, a system of governance and penalties determined at the village level according to traditional rules. In the past, the fines for breaking the law were paid for with goods and crops, but now they consist of monetary penalties. One kati, or unit of punishment, costs 100,000 rupiah. If someone is found guilty of cutting a tree in the protected forest, the village elders and the forest guardians will determine how many kati the offense warrants.

The people of Mungku Baru formally established an ironwood forest governing body in September 2014. However, this group, and the village’s claim to the land, has yet to be officially recognized by the Indonesian government. This crucial step would provide long-term security and much needed funding to patrol the forest and protect it from outside threats.

“Our expectations are high,” said Aries Antoni, the village head. “We hope to protect and cultivate the forest. We wish to work together with other groups, but as of now we still have no legal claim to the land.”

This puts the village in a difficult position as competing interests continually threaten the ironwood forest’s fate. For example, although the timber company has respected the village’s wishes up until now, Aries fears they will change their mind once they finish harvesting the rest of their concession.

Further, another group has claimed that the ironwood forest rightfully belongs to them.

“It’s not true,” Aries said. “They staked their claim without any public discussion, and don’t care about the interests of Mungku Baru.”

However, without official government recognition of Mungku Baru’s claim, the fate of the forest remains uncertain.


Photo by Indra Nugraha.

Photo by Indra Nugraha.




Original article at

Timeless quality

Wooden floors have a timeless quality that can change the whole look and feel of a building. We all love wooden floors, but what do we need to be aware of when shopping for flooring to get the best results?

Living in the wet tropics, one of the main considerations we need to be mindful of is the effects of moisture on wood in our construction. Wood floors are no exception. All wood has a moisture rating which changes as the temperature and moisture in the air increases and decreases with the seasons. Wood is a natural product so it expands and contracts in response to these changes.

The general and very simple rule of thumb with wood flooring is never put solid wood flooring in wet or moisture-susceptible areas: water and wood do not mix. This includes in areas that are below grade such as basements or cellars. Water degrades wood, and constant or prolonged expose can cause cracks, cupping and buckling.

The method you use for floor installation will depend on how and where you are installing your floor. The three common installation sites are described as below grade, on grade or above grade. For floors at the on-grade or ground level, it is common to nail or screw the boards onto small battens which have been nailed or screwed into a concrete subfloor. This is all fine, but remembers to seal your concrete slab with plastic sheeting first to prevent the enemy of the wood floor, rising damp. Just like we can take steps to build out termites, we can also take steps to eliminate moisture intrusion. Sealing your concrete slab should be a standard building practice in the wet tropics, but unfortunately this is not the case hence you will need to request this specifically.

For floors at the above grade level, commonly the flooring will rest on floor joists which are sitting on bigger beams known as bearers. A floor that rests on joists as opposed to on battens or one that is glued directly onto the floor is known as a ‘floating floor’. It is a good idea to check what kind or structural support you need when shopping for flooring as this cost needs to be calculated to get the final per square meter price.

Some tips on selecting and installing wood floors:

  • Ensure your boards finished to an even thickness at a minimum. This will make it a lot easier to install.
  • For below and on grade flooring, check the moisture content of the wood prior to installing if possible and make sure there is no possibility of moisture intrusion
  • Solid wood flooring shrinks in dry environments and expands in wetter environments and most of the expansion happens along the growth rings (tangentially), and about half as much across the rings (radially). Get flooring which has small grooves on the underside, known as “back relief” to allow for this swelling and shrinkage
  • Remember that wide boards tend to expand and contract more than narrow boards

Have fun!


Wooden floor & stairs

Wooden floor & stairs

I felt this great article from April 2015 was getting slowly but surely lost in time, hope you enjoyed re-reading it!

Show me your Ulin and I'll tell you who you are

Take two minutes to read this and share it with friends.

With today internet access everybody suddenly became an expert in every single possible subject and work.

It is unfortunately the same for reclaim wood.

As it comes out, we mostly only know what we think we know but don’t know much in the end. This over confidence leads us to buy good material and do good deals of fake stuff that we ultimately regret.

How many times have we been contacted by desperate hotels, restaurants or individuals because they had problems with their “reclaim Ulin from Kalimantandecking and/or flooring. Once on site you realize the reasons of that despair. Varnish falling off (only a full sanding and recoating can help, no cheap solution), fully cracked wood (impossible to fix) not to mention long splits (sometimes up to 40% of the board!!!) and rusty nails (discoloring the wood in the process).

The worst being it isn’t even Ulin from Kalimantan and most often not even reclaim.

A commonly sold Ulin Kalimantan so called reclaim is what we call “rendaman”. It is a process in which they cut boards size planks into new Ulin trunk, put some nails on it, oil it and put it into mud for a couple of month. Voila! The real Ulin Kalimantan board will look, from the outside, like a genuine reclaim board. But it is not at all.

Wood continues to move as it is in contact with its surrounding environment (humidity, temperature). Reclaim wood tend to be an already dry wood and will move less. A new wood is still full of all its elements and not yet at EMC meaning disastrous consequences for construction site (cupping, bending, bowing, crack, split). It will look beautiful the first few months…unfortunately only the first few months then you are in for a financial treat to fix your nightmare decking or flooring.

A recent test on our facebook page was asking to recognize an Ulin plank in between two boards. One was Bengkirai, the other was Ulin. 70% of the voters choose the Bengkirai plank as being Ulin…

Bengkirai can look like Ulin but its quality as an outdoor product are far behind those of Ulin Kalimantan.

I write Ulin Kalimantan because you can also find Ulin Sulawesi. This last Ulin is of a much lower quality than the one from Kalimantan and will tend to crack quickly if not to split. Would you like to know more about this Ulin Sulawesi you can read this interesting article.

Luckily some honest sellers are offering a good quality wood in its raw form or processed but I’d advise you to make sure 100% that you know what you are buying. Dirty and muddy doesn’t mean reclaim.

On a more personal note, out of curiosity I went somewhere in Bali where you can find many reclaim Ulin sellers. I found half of it to be rendaman, other sellers were offering real poor quality but genuinely reclaim Ulin (can’t tell if it was from Sulawesi or Kalimantan) and only one person was selling genuine reclaim Ulin of good quality. Took us a full day to go around all places and found only one place where we could have bought good wood.

On a more commercial note, we at Kaltimber, offer real reclaim Ulin from Kalimantan. We work with the Forest ministry to get all our legal documentations, we know where the wood comes from and what structure it was dismantled from. We don’t do rendaman or Ulin Sulawesi, our focus is genuine reclaim Ulin from Kalimantan Timur. We offer years of experience and are always happy to advise and help for free.

Buying wood should be a non stressful investment and enjoying it should last for decades.

Our Ulin being checked before being given green light to leave Kalimantan

Our Ulin being checked before being given green light to leave Kalimantan