Last post centred just on innovation, now we are back on wood with this column from the Tweed Daily News in November 2001.
ONE of the biggest pests on the east coast could head back towards its overseas homeland.
If David Buckley has his way, the despised camphor laurel will leave the country by the container load.
David has been waging his private war against the camphor laurel through his timber slabbing business.
He now hopes to export his camphor slabs, which already find a ready market with local furniture makers.
The camphor laurel, introduced as a shade tree to Australian properties many decades ago, has been declared a major environmental enemy in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland.
David, based at Burringbar south of Murwillumbah, has specialised in slabbing camphor in the past few years since he bought a big portable mill.
The Lucas mill with a two-metre bar can has had lots of work as property owners have moved to eradicate the invasive camphor.
Slabs almost three metres wide and four metres long often roll off the mill with David Buckley Timber Slabbing operating in a wide area of the north coast and hinterland.
Canberra-born David, 25, moved to the north coast from Nelson Bay near Newcastle to go to the Southern Cross University.
He decided after two years the business and tourism degree was not for him but he says the skills have helped him in business, which sprang from his experience in landscaping and cabinet making.
David believes camphor slabs could find favour with British cabinet makers.
"I have had some contact with the industry in the past and I am sure the unique grain pattern of our camphor laurels would make it popular," he said.
"This eventually could involve a lot of mills."
Camphors have not been the only "victims" of David’s prized Lucas.
He says one of his most unusual jobs has been the slabbing of a 5000-year-old rosewood which had been found on the forest floor near Tenterfield.
The rosewood, a rainforest tree, grows just one millimetre a year, he says.
The client, who had salvaged the log sold the timber for a project in Parliament House in Canberra, David says.
"It was a massive tree," he says.
"It was a really special log that had the centre rotted out and had been down for possibly hundreds of years.
"I’ll probably never see anything like that again.
"My mill was the only one that could do the job and we took half a dozen slabs each side of the centre.
"They were two metres wide and three metres long."
For the past eight months David has been extra keen to finish work on time each day to get home to partner Joanne and their baby son, Jack.
Jack is growing up to associate the sweet smell of camphor with a dad who has a vision.
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