Gold Medal Jarrah

“Am I ever going to use this?” We’ve all asked this question of our inner hoarder at some point. Fortunately, Canberra FM executive Zak Davies must have been hiding in his shed during the Marie Kondo’s war on stuff. Stepping into his living room, you can feel the warm presence of old timber before you see it. The room is a deliberate balance between rustic and contemporary. It’s naturally photogenic, but in an ‘I just woke up this way’ kind of way.

Some of the original, unfinished pieces of Jarrah contrasted with the finished benchtop.

Some of the original, unfinished pieces of Jarrah contrasted with the finished benchtop.

Jarrah Jackpot

Jarrah is Australia’s most iconic red hardwood – super hard, durable timber, perfect for structural building. These qualities and it’s beautiful grain also make it great for bench tops, furniture and floors...which is why it’s such a sought after and desirable material.

Zak’s recycled Jarrah benchtop is a standout feature of his dream home in Murrumbateman. But it almost didn’t make the cut. More than two years ago Zak’s mate—a school principal—called to offer him a share in the spoils of a demolition at Canberra’s Australian Institute of Sport.

After sitting in the back shed for more than 12 months, it was crunch time for the pile timber. Use it or pass it on. Zak brought it into Thor’s Hammer hoping to cobble together enough timber for a benchtop. To his delight, the experience of Rohan and the team at Thor’s meant they not only delivered the benchtop, but were able to gain enough efficiency for a half dozen other pieces in different rooms around the house.

Zak’s kitchen lit by a couple of recycled tennis court lamps from the NSW Hinterland.

Zak’s kitchen lit by a couple of recycled tennis court lamps from the NSW Hinterland.

A Natural Storyteller

For many in the Thor’s Hammer community, recycled timber furniture has the power to bring people together. It connects us to the past, conjures a sense of place and sparks deeper conversations. The recycled Jarrah benchtop at Zak’s place is a dinner party favourite and Zak adds the story with his vivid imagination.

“So these were the seats at the AIS Pool...I'm sure a few Olympians' mums' bums have been sitting on it over the years,” he laughs.

It’s stories like these steeped in the timber that drew Zak to using recycled timber. The opportunity to make use of recycled materials was also part of the appeal. “I just couldn’t see it go to waste,” he explains. Some of the Jarrah also ended up at the local school and has continued its life as school bench seats.

The benchtop is a regular talking point when mates drop by. "How did you have the presence of mind to do it?" Zak recalls a friend asking. His answer? "Well, we didn't really. It was a process (laughs). We stared at this pile of wood for a long time, going 'what are we gonna do with this?'"

Coming Together

It takes a village to raise a beautiful piece of recycled timber furniture.

Zak brought the timber into the Thor’s Hammer workshop where the nails were removed and it was planed back and crafted to fit the measurements provided by Zak’s builder –Mark Olson of Southland Projects. Thor’s Hammer Designer Rohan Hunt credits the teamwork between Zak and his builder as critical to the process, “Zak and his builder worked together throughout the process. Having Mark’s cooperation on the project made all the difference to the job fitting perfectly first go.”

With all the measurements done, we were stoked to be able to deliver not only Zak’s kitchen benchtop, but his entire wishlist...benches beside the oven, servery, two bathroom tops, and the toilet.

Zak sums up the project in his own words…

I mean, you can have a granite bench, everyone’s got a granite bench top, but to have something that’s unique, obviously it’s got a bit of a story as well, you know, it’s local, we know where it’s been for the last bit of its life. We’ve extended its life which is pretty cool. And it’s functional so it sort of ticked all the boxes.
— Zak Davies

Cheers Zak!

As luck would have it, a pack of salvaged Jarrah flooring has just landed at the workshop. If you’d like to get your hands on some, get on the blower to our design team +61 (2) 6282 9900.