Where Does Boat Wood Furniture Come From?
The simple answer to that question is: boats.
But there is so much more to it than that! So we wanted to share what we’ve learned as we worked with our suppliers to add boat wood pieces to our product line at The Merchant's Collection.
The Indonesian archipelago is an area of the world that has been shaped by water, from the economy to the culture to the land itself. Boat styles in existence today, like the Pinisi Schooner, were first recorded over 700 years ago! For years, Indonesians travelled incredible distances in these handmade boat - fishing, migrating, and trading in places as far away as Australia and Myanmar. Their ability to travel those distances means their boat-making skills were (and are) incredible. So much so that UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) formally recognizes the cultural impact of boat-building in Indonesia as significant.
Much has changed in the region, but millions of Indonesians still make their living from fishing, and this includes boat-making. In fact, the Indonesian government has been taking aggressive steps against illegal fishing in the area, in an attempt to protect that part of the local economy and revert encroachment from foreign fishing boats. In the past few years, they’ve sunk hundreds of intercepted illegal vessels in the surrounding seas as a warning to others.
Traditional wooden boats are still in use across the islands. Over time, parts of the boat weaken, from pieces of the wood to the hardware, and the boats become unusable in the traditional sense. Luckily for us, our suppliers partner with local fisherman to give the quality products left in those vessels a new life. Rather than turning it all into firewood, the fishermen sell the reusable wood to buyers, and are able to then use that money to invest in new boats. It's a beneficial cycle for all.
The old boat wood gets transformed into something new - preserving as much of the original wood and paint as possible, which gives the furniture made from this wood such a special look. These boats last years, and between the layers of paint and the smoothing effect of the waves, the wood is shiny, distressed, and colorful.
We have multiple pieces in our showroom, and hope you stop by to see these special pieces with such a rich history.