Močvarni hrast
/ carpentry, furniture making, restoration

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Močvarni hrast is a master carpentry for mechanical and manual wood processing specialized in manufacturing and processing of rare form of fossilized timber bog-oak*, which has even been adopted as a company name. Established as a family business, handed down from father to son, Carpentry Franjić tracks a 4 decades long experience which lies on successful integration of modern technology with traditional woodworking craft, always in the service of producing items of highest possible quality.

Current owner Darko Franjić is a carpenter with xxxx training/education background, and a certified restorer of historic building, objects and other related wooden architectural elements that are under cultural heritage protection. He is a manufacturer of, primarily, bespoke furniture and interior installments made out of different solid wood, and collaborates closely with domestic and international clients on various architectural, restoration and interior design projects, covering all stages of production from shaping and finishing to assembling and installation.

*abonos / crni dub / mooreiche / morta

Workshop was founded in 1979 and is situated in the western part of Zagreb covering over 1000m2 with a paintshop area, dehumidification zone and a lofty storage unit. Three storey high it accommodates separate spaces for fabrication, hydraulic pressing, painting/coating and several workbenches for manual processing with a special unit dedicated to handcrafting smoking pipes.

Collected wood stock is being prepared and processed from the moment of arrival, by natural air drying and dehumidifying, and undergoes various mechanical and manual processing and surface conditioning. Wood turning, veneering and natural oils polishing are a few of the techniques used for additional customization. Important aspect of Močvarni hrast’s production is sustainable use of all processed materials including its byproducts. Waste is reduced by skilled pre-selection of products and their configurations for different purposes where ‘leftovers’ are turned into accessories and other interior ornaments, manufactured manually, handled with great care to avoid breakage and dissolution.

The fossilized timber used in some of their production, particularly for bespoke furniture and smaller goods, is comparable to the highest valued tropical hardwoods and has proven to be a superior material for many types of applications from interior to design. It is harvested by the valleys of river basins and river gravels where it is recovered with assistance of skilled divers as the logs lay deep beneath the surface in low to zero visibility. In Croatia, the sites they get extracted from are near Sava river and its branches, with the oldest timber retrieved so far dating back at 8290 years.

While working with bogwood a lot of attention is directed to distinct dark coloration of the material which shows the maturation of the wood structure as a result of long exposure and slow permeation of water. Being deprived of oxygen, below sea level for several thousands of years, wood undergoes the process of fossilization. This transformation leaves the wood in such state that preserving its quality upon extraction is delicate and requires proper maintenance if attempting any type of further processing with it. Logs are immediately wrapped in waterproof material and meticulously dried to prevent warping. Hardness of fossilized wood is increased to such a level that its resistance to denting and wear is so high that it demands special method for processing treatments.

In working with smaller goods use of exceptionally firm tools is required for grinding, brushing, carving and any number of other shaping techniques. In order to expose its beautiful dark surface, homeware items (bowls, plates, cups) go through several polishing stages using different abrasive tools and papers in order to gradually smooth it out. Finishing treatments and protective coating is chosen according to preferred tonal qualities, using teak oil and natural solutions for enhancing the natural color of the material and opting for linseed/flaxseed oil when in need of exposing a darker hue. Some types of wood react to oiling by small disfigurations and pore unrefinements so wax is used for conditioning the material and its final protection. 

Master carpentry produces mostly custom ordered final goods such as: floor coverings, furniture, doors, window frames, sculptures, and various decorative objects and items for everyday use. In addition to working on commission, company has several products of their own design in distribution like decorative homeware, elm wood products and pipe smokers accessories (in black, copper and gold morta).

Projects of furniture restoration and other complex interior installations require a value-based pricing system, whereas time invested for making each of the handcrafted smaller goods is harder to assess due to unique state of each piece, making sales and international distribution a challenge. One-off pieces are sold through galleries, artisan stores and through specialized festivals and fairs, while custom-built elements are ordered through various clients, nationally and abroad. 

Orders exceeding the manufacturing abilities of the workshop are not revised, as priority is given to adequate processing of the rare natural material – a master craftsman credo that Močvarni hrast works and lives by.