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The Ancient Art of Indonesian Woodcarving


Beautiful day beds & benches

Indonesia is cherished for its incredible natural beauty, wonderfully diverse food, friendly faces, gifted artisans and long-held traditions. The archipelago nation is also recognised for its rich cultural woodworking heritage, which started in the 6th century. Intricately hand-carved statues, puppets, Buddhas, Garudas and Hindu gods are seen throughout the country, while Indonesian day beds and benches made from reclaimed teak are seen all over the world.

The Ancient Art of Indonesian Woodcarving

‘Kayu lawas’

The Early Settler reclaimed teak bench collection is sourced from a small village in Indonesia. The day beds are meticulously carved by craftspeople whose skills were passed down through generations. A person who carves wood is known as a tukang kayu (‘woodworker’) and the same term is also used for artisan woodworkers who make chairs, doors, benches and day beds.

The Ancient Art of Indonesian Woodcarving hero shot of vilagers
Made from recycled timber salvaged from old houses and bridges in ancient villages, some of the wood used for the benches is up to 100 years old. In Javanese, old wood is called kayu lawas and is preferable to fresh lumber as it’s valued for its reliable strength and stunning weathered look. Kayu lawas furniture and homewares are deeply ingrained in Indonesia’s history and culture.
The Ancient Art of Indonesian Woodcarving close up of carving

Eco-friendly & organic

Reclaimed teak furniture is an eco-friendly choice, as no new trees were cut down to make it. This hardwood is also exceptionally robust, durable and resistant to rot, pests and moisture.

The Ancient Art of Indonesian Woodcarving carving bench
Once retrieved, the planks are sanded back to remove the outer layer of weathering and then given a new life as furniture, complete with a fresh coat of rich oil or stain to bring out the natural honey hues.
The Ancient Art of Indonesian Woodcarving man carving
Teak will weather naturally to a silver-grey patina if left alone, which does not affect its durability or longevity, it is purely cosmetic. This grey patina can be removed by sanding back the furniture, if desired.

With a little bit of care, teak furniture can last for many years and continue to look striking. Applying a teak oil once or twice a year will keep the wood moisturised and also help prevent food stains and watermarks.

Well seasoned

As an organic material, teak doesn’t absorb and retain cold or the heat from the sun like some other materials can. This makes it ideal for outdoor living, as it’s always comfortable to touch and sit on. It’s also very easy to clean with a damp cloth or even a quick spray with the hose and left to dry naturally.

Additionally, reclaimed teak has been well seasoned so its dimensions remain stable. It won’t bend or warp in humidity, temperature fluctuations or moisture changes, as some timber furniture can; it can comfortably endure varied climates.

Early Settler Indonesian day beds

Keeping ancient handcrafting alive means our collection is varied with only a small number of benches available in each style. Every bench is unique and intricately detailed and there is an assortment of different designs to choose from.

The backrests boast elaborately carved detailing of ancient Eastern design, while the spacious dimension (2 metres in length and extra deep) are far more generously sized than your average bench, which is why we also call them day beds.

Piled up with soft, colourful outdoor cushions, it’s like a little bit of tropical bliss in your home or backyard that is not only beautiful and practical for outdoor living, it also helps to support the global community.

The Ancient Indonesian Craft of Carved Teak Day Beds bench

Check out the range

Browse the entire range of Indonesian day beds and benches hand-carved from reclaimed teak online. There are a variety of options to choose from in light, dark and whitewashed teak, and each is unique even within its own range. To learn more about sustainable recycled timber and view some of the eco-friendly furniture in our range, see Elegant & Eco-friendly Reclaimed Timber.

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