• Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

Natural root wood design: Umniuh Tmar villager starts rare venture

Using driftwood for making dining tables, centre tables, coffee tables and other interior designs is seen only outside India.

However, Meghalaya is on the threshold of this new venture with a man from Ri-War Mihngi setting his sights on old tree roots as an industry.

Banangskhem Khongsdir, a resident of Umniuh Tmar in East Khasi Hills, said he got inspiration to start this business from one of his friends who is a civil engineer in the PWD.

50-year-old Khongsdir said that furniture items made from natural wood root are valuable and can be used in houses, hotels and resorts.

According to him, the work has already started and he had purchased some machinery to do the designing of the wood including polishing the products with epoxy resin brought from outside.

“Right now, I am collecting root wood from various parts of the Ri-War area. I have in my stock a few thousands of wood pieces. My target is to start commercial production at a large scale from 2024,” Khongsdir said.

“We have been collecting these tree roots and trunks since 2019 at Umniuh Tmar and we started wood carving in 2023. We will open for sales to the public offline and online from 2024 onwards,” he added.a

Khongsdir also informed that he had spent a few lakhs of rupees to collect the tree roots from various hard to reach jungles in his area.

He also said that his items are mostly carved with Chinese, Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese designs.

“We have around 3000-4000 designs. We don’t do Indian designs,” he added.

Khongsdir said that superior natural wood root which is very hard and tough is extracted from underneath the ground.

“These tree roots have remained underground for more than 30-40 years. The remaining inner hard layers of the root are preserved in their natural form and then carved in various designs according to their natural shapes and sizes,” he said.

According to him, the lack of knowledge about the value of natural hard wood has led such wood to go unused and left abandoned in far off jungles of the Ri-War area.

“We are very fortunate to start this industry which is the first of its kind in India. As far as the material of this kind is concerned, it is available in plenty in our area and these kinds of tree roots are rare to find, be it in Meghalaya or outside the State,” Khongsdir informed.

He also said that the wealthy and educated people of this generation take keen interest in acquiring material which are rare and of the best quality.

“Their house is the crown of their pride. However, if they can fill their house with the unique products designed locally by us, there will be a uniqueness of the wood items kept in their house which are distinct from each other,” he observed.

Khongsdir also advised customers to be aware of the imitation business which tries to cheat people by making these types of craft with artificial wood rather than the natural ones.

“We have witnessed with our own eyes such imitations at the government offices. Those woods are carved from other kinds of wood which are not at all the natural hardwood,” he said.

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