Thai Hand-Carved Items: Eco Materials

These hand-carved end tables are made from renewable and eco-friendly materials. To read about the environmental standards, click here.

Monkey Pod Wood


Monkey Pod (Samanea saman) is easily recognized by its characteristic umbrella-shaped canopy. It is common in the Pacific Rim region as a shade tree on small farms, along roads, in parks and pastures. In Thailand, Monkey Pod is mainly grown in the Northern provinces along the neighboring mountainous borders providing a bountiful source of larger wood for the carving industry. Harvested correctly the trunk is left in place and larger limbs are cut for use. Eventually the trunk is cut as it passes its best producing cycle. Due its renewable nature, this tree grows freely, and a new tree quickly starts growing. There are no lumber yards for this wood.

carving2Teak Wood

Teak is one of the most valuable kinds of timber and long been one of Thailand’s most important exports. The teak wood industry is thriving and controlled by practicing sustainable forest management. The majority of teak products are made from farmed teak. Teak’s physical features are moderately hard and heavy, with moderate bending strength and excellent decay resistance. The color is lighter with variations of whitish wood to the “teak” or orange brown heart wood. With the application of a light coat of teak oil the wood is very beautiful in appearance and maintained properly will last for years. Teak has numerous uses including ship building (especially decks), indoor or outdoor furniture, high class joinery, flooring, paneling, plywood, decorative veneers, turnery, carving, chemical tanks and vats.

carving5Wood Protectant

After completion of the product, Livos Oil is applied by hand to seal and protect the woods surface. The oil contains natural resins that can be buffed to light gloss sheen. Livos is a safe natural oil and is a food safe surface. Livos Oils are petroleum and chemical free. Based on renewable raw plant materials that are organically sourced and never tested on animals, Livos products are environmentally responsible, non-polluting, ecologically friendly, and emit no harmful substances.

Carving Process

Once wood pieces are brought to the carving facility, the wood is then rough cut by chain saw into the shape of the product. Scrap is used for small carvings and heating homes in the cool season.
carving6It takes skill and time to rough carve a shape like the Twist, leaving enough material for the finish carvers to make consistent shapes. Finish carvers have generations of experience behind them and work by the “feel” of the wood. Carving is not a full time job and is generally a family affair involving cousins and close friends. Being an agricultural society, carving can slow down or stop during the rainy season for rice planting and again for harvesting.
A skilled carver knows what tool to select based on how the wood feels and what they see as they are working. Tools are generally hand made and every carver has their own set they have created for the work they perform.
The product is sanded to smooth the rough carving into the desired shape. This is all done by hand so every piece is unique, sizes are not exact, and products are not perfectly square. The beauty of the completely unique piece can start to be seen at this time.
The product then goes through final Quality Controls, individually piece by piece, to discuss any corrections required with the finish sanders. Once approved, oil is applied.
The oils are applied in three stages over the course of five to seven work days. No wood sealers or chemical bases are used, so there can be dull and rough spots.