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Where It All Begins.....
"Soon after I started the company, it became our goal to be “resource responsible” which has meant different things as the company has evolved, as well as develop new products and find new vendors. We now strive to source renewable products that are treated with “green” chemicals which are not harmful to the environment, and meet USDA standards. It also means that we do not buy from the cheapest vendors, but rather the vendors that support growers and improve their their self-sufficiency, hence improving their lives by reducing poverty. Below I will introduce you to two manufacturers that produce the majority of our materials for your projects. Enjoy the journey" – Claire.
There are over 3000 species of bamboo worldwide of which amaZulu only imports two - Solid Bamboo and Tre-Gai Bamboo. Both bamboo species are considered "Construction Grade" which means they have a high natural resistance to deterioration similar to redwood and hardness similar to oak. These thick-walled bamboo poles are harvested from quality controlled plantations at an age of 3 to 6 years old for maximum strength and hardness.
Bamboo poles are sorted, graded, straightened over a flame and then vacuum pressure treated with ecologically friendly borates (boric acid) as a preservative, making poles resistant to beetles and termites. Borates are considered so safe they are used in eyedrops. For more safety information, visit www.borax.com.
After poles are treated they are stacked to dry. At this stage, the bamboo can then ship as a "Natural" finish or they can be "Sanded and Finished" with a light polyurethane. A lot of this bamboo then moves on to further production of bamboo boards, woven mats, flooring and many other bamboo product lines.
From Africa we import our Eucalyptus Wood and Thatch Reed Products. Both products have to be specially treated to meet import standards. In fact, amaZulu worked with the EPA for two years to formulate an arsenic free treatment for our Eucalyptus poles.
Eucalyptus poles are purchased from a FSC plantation where they are harvested, pressure treated, and kiln dried before making the six week journey across the ocean.
The cape thatching reed plants take between 5 to 7 years to reach a mature stage at which they are ready to be harvested. The thatch is obtained from a sustainable resource and harvesting the thatch actually promotes growth.
After the reeds are harvested they are taken to the factory and used for a variety of products. Two products that amaZulu imports are the Thatch Reed Panels and Reed Ceiling Boards
Reeds are cut to length and passed to various production houses. The reed for the Ceiling Boards are laid by hand, reed by reed, and glued to a Masonite board, whereas the reed panels are made by using a conveyer belt method. Reeds are stacked into a jig, the ends are dipped into a polyurethane solution and then cured in an oven. Six clips are then stapled to the final product, the ends are trimmed and the panel is boxed ready for shipping.
Through our travels in finding new resources for products and vendors, we will take you with us around the world. Our mission is to not only provide our customers with exotic materials but to share our knowledge so that the beauty of natural materials is appreciated, conserved and preserved.