Entering James Talty’s furniture shop is like side stepping away from the loud and raring cars on Musgrave Rd, straight into his home workshop. There’s no shop front or facade, just a relaxed introduction into his workspace – it’s refreshing. Here he crafts his one-off customised pieces for clients out of a variety of Australian timbers, as well as leather and steel. For a sample of what he can do, drop by Scout Cafe around the corner on Petrie Terrace.
This plank of River She-Oak will be part of a range of tables, desks, and shelves for one of James’ clients as part of a house renovation. It will be quite a special set as the timber is now rare – the trees only grow within 20 metres of rivers and creeks. James sourced this particular She-Oak from a property owner in the Gold Coast who had stored the timber for 17 years. It is now a protected species.1
Tasmanian Blackwood has a deep colour, is easy to work with, and has an attractive wavy grain. For this reason it is a commonly used hardwood for furniture and musical instruments. The timber is not durable in external environments.2
Silky Oak is an Australian hardwood that is good at resisting rott, and was commonly used for exterior window joinery. The hardwood was very popular for furniture which has caused the source of trees to become depleted over the years.3
Silver Ash has a natural durability class 3, which means it’s best suited to internal environments. It’s commonly used for furniture, joinery, and also glue-laminated into beams and plywood for structural purposes.4
Queensland Maple has a natural durability class of 4 and is most suitable for indoor applications. The twisty, curly grain is unique, and commonly used for furniture. In the early 1900’s it was also sawn for structural building framing but has not been used for this purpose since, as the trees grow in largely heritage-listed rain forests.5
James’ clients are a mix of home owners and business owners. He gets to know the client’s personality or business, and customises their pieces specifically to suit them. A shop selling hand crafted furniture, tailored for you or your business is a rarity, and something to be treasured in Brisbane.
1 Boxshall, B, NRE, Jenkyn, T 2001 Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Victoria State Government, accessed 5 May 2013, <http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/forestry/investment-trade/regional-information/farm-forestry-in-the-north-central-region/river-she-oak-profile>.
2 Lavell, S 2008, Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Victoria State Government, accessed 5 May 2013, <http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/forestry/private-land-forestry/individual-species/blackwood-for-farm-forestry>.
3 Hopewell, G 2010, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry, Queensland State Government, accessed 5 May 2013, <http://www.daff.qld.gov.au/29_5448.htm>.
4 House, S 2010, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry, Queensland Government, accessed 5 May 2013, <http://www.daff.qld.gov.au/29_5663.htm>.
5 Queensland Maple n.d., Wood Solutions, accessed 5 May 2013, <http://www.woodsolutions.com.au/Wood-Species/queensland-maple>.
photography by Jennifer Burley (copyright)