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Lunar wood and Moon phase harvesting of timber

There is a story that begins with a search for violin wood: When Erwin Thoma was still a forester in the Karwendel Mountains in Tirol, Austria, violin makers came to him to find trees that would deliver the best timber for their instruments. Only trees that were slow-growing, well located, mature, and felled “at the right time” were suitable.

Lunar wood and Moon phase harvesting of timber

This was when Thoma started to take an interest in the connection between timber, forestry, and the phases of the moon. His 90-year-old grandfather, a carpenter with infinite experience, was the perfect teacher in this respect. Practical experiments helped them to learn more. He spoke to old farmers, carpenters, joiners and sawmill workers. Each of these craftsmen was able to recount traditions, know-how, and expertise about the right and natural way to work with wood.


At Eco Design, we have done extensive research of our own and we have found that this ancient technique has been in practice all around the world. From Japan to Gernamy, France and other European countries. We have even come across farmers and country builders here in South Africa who speak of times gone by when their forefathers harvested Poplar beams and Spanish reeds for their houses around the autumn and early winter new moon to prevent against attack from insects. We have since cut many other species including pine, black wood and Port Jackson and many different types of gum. Every experience so far has confirmed and reinforced our beliefs in this technique.

The quality of timber received from such harvests are visibly better than the average everyday harvest. The wood is more compact and free from cracks and warping. This is thanks to the fact that the nutrient content or sap is at its lowest and is left behind in the tree's roots. Therefore, insects are generally uninterested and we are able to treat the timber with mild eco-friendly oil-based sealants.

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