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Recycled Interiors Podcast 011 Hydrowood – Rescuing Old Growth Forests


You are going to love today’s episode! I am chatting with Andrew from a business called Hydrowood.

In 2012 Andrew together with his long time business partner David Wise, came up with the crazy idea of salvaging standing timber in the hydroelectric dams of Tasmania. From that point they embarked on one of the most ambitious forestry projects in Australia to ultimately end up with a highly innovative barge solution that is salvaging timber from the dark tannin stained waters of the remote Lake Pieman on Tasmania’s rugged west coast.
Hydrowood reclaimed timbers include species that are incredibly rare and unique to Tasmania but are now once again available in commercial quantities for projects Australia-wide, unique sustainably reclaimed timber with an amazing provenance and story. Andrew lives in Hobart with his wife Katie, two children Esther and Tom and their two Labradors, Benson and Ellie.
You can also find them on the Sustainable Home Hub!
You can listen on iTunes here, Stitcher here – please leave a review as we have had lots of positive feedback but not many reviews and it really helps to get the podcast noticed and out there to make a difference!
Apologies for my sound quality – I forgot to plug my fancy pants microphone in! Andrew’s is fine 🙂 
Hydrowood Project at Lake Pieman. Andrew Morgan, Managing Director.

Hydrowood Project at Lake Pieman.
Andrew Morgan, Managing Director.

Things you will want to remember from the show

  • This is the first project of its kind in Australia and there are not many in the world
  • After flying across Tasmania, Andrew’s partner David noticed the grey trees in the water across the country and they came up with the idea over a beer! However both David and Andrew do actually have a background in the forestry industry!
  • A feasibility study showed that this timber was still viable for use
  • Just a side note – the show Beachcombers – discovered Andrew and I are mutual fans!! Was so excited about that part 🙂

  • The Barge they have built is groundbreaking in terms of the equipment as it did not exist before
  • Timber is milled and then sent out to stockists, more mainland stockists are coming on board
  • Will be on Lake Pieman for 3 or 4 years and then have another 2 lakes in that river system, plus more around Tasmania – at least 15 years worth of timber!
  • This is the speciality timbers that we all hold in reverence – Tasmanian Blackwood, Tasmanian Myrtle, Sassafras, Celery Top Pine and Huon Pine for example – there is less and less of these timbers available to us now
  • The timber is dead and is being given another life – all of the sap has been replaced by water when you first pull it out
  • They are not taking them all so there is still a beautiful scene of timber and most of the timber they are pulling out is from underneath the water
  • The Barge is operated by one guy who sits in the excavator and drives it across the river, a boat then takes the timber off for transport to the mill – generally a 4 person job on a rotation
  • Takes about 6 months to dry, compared to usual timber
  • They are using Tasmanian businesses to take the project across its life cycle
  • It has so far cost $7,000,000 – yup!
  • However there are cost savings in the project due to its unusual nature. The cost of the hydrowood to the customer is however very affordable
  • To use at home you can buy from your usual suppliers such as Whelan the Warehouse in Melbourne
  • So far it has been used for furniture, with furniture designers and makers starting to use the timber for things like dining room tables, to chairs, to book shelves and more
  • Can be used in building as well – eg for cladding, flooring – especially the Myrtle
  • Celery Top Pine is very useful, can be used outside and inside, eg for cladding, but also for furniture and internal cladding
  • Some of the timbers are more available but it is hard to know exactly – there will be more volume of the Celery Top Pine, Sassafras and Myrtle – these are all harder to find on the mainland marketplace now except for Blackwood
  • Timber is being used in boat making and even musical instruments – timber that has had water in it apparently has nicer sound properties
  • You can go to the Pieman Lake and be taken on a tour! I would so LOVE that
  • Lake Gordon is next on the agenda and it is HUGE! SO much more to come from this business

Head to the Hydrowood website to find out where to buy as the stockists increase or contact them directly, especially if you are a furniture maker interested in sourcing the timber
hydrowood 2
hydrowood 1

Links

Social Media Links – Instagram @hydrowood
You can listen on iTunes here, Stitcher here – please subscribe and leave a review as we have had lots of positive feedback but not many reviews and it really helps to get the podcast noticed and out there to make a difference!


Hydrowood from Samuel Shelley on Vimeo.

8 Comments

  1. Helene Wild on September 16, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Fantastic episode.

  2. Recycled Interiors & The Sustainable Home Hub on September 19, 2016 at 7:36 am

    so in love with the business

  3. Lynette Sumner on October 9, 2016 at 11:11 am

    this was done by Scott Cam on The Block, the timbers are being made into tables for the contestants. Think it is a wonderful idea.

  4. Recycled Interiors & The Sustainable Home Hub on October 9, 2016 at 11:36 am

    yes he went there last week Lynette Sumner the full story is on our podcast 🙂

  5. Lynette Sumner on October 9, 2016 at 11:37 am

    what is a podcast?

  6. Recycled Interiors & The Sustainable Home Hub on October 9, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    Lynette Sumner just an audio track like radio. You can listen on http://www.recycledinteriors.org

  7. Linda Feray on October 10, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    That is the best news! Saving trees instead of just cutting them down. Good on Scott Cam

  8. Helene Wild on October 14, 2016 at 10:17 am

    Absolutely wonderful U0001f49d

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