Le Chop

Lawrence Clain at the Le Chop stall at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market.

Lawrence Clain at the Le Chop stall at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market.

Camphor Laurel may be recognised as a weed on the Northern Rivers, but the timber from these trees is a woodworkers dream, says Lawrence Clain.

“As a timber it’s quite amazing. It’s not as hard as a hardwood and not as soft as say, pine, so it makes it really nice to work with. And every piece has such unique colours and patterns in it,” he said.

The timber also contains oils that are anti-bacterial, which make it the perfect choice for the chopping boards that Lawrence makes and sells at the Le Chop stall at the Mullumbimby Farmers market each week.

The boards vary in size from tiny – suited to chopping garlic or chill – right up to big boards you could serve an entire roast dinner on.

There are three basic designs: single-handled boards, double-handed rectangle boards and double-handed curved boards, which are ideal as serving platters or cheese boards.

The boards and all hand made and recognised for their beauty, quality of workmanship and durability.

“A lot of the mass-produced boards, because of the way they are joined they can fall apart a lot easier, whereas ours are all one piece except for the handles, which we glue, screw and plug – so there’s no way you can actually get that handle off.”

A Le Chop board will last more than 20 years, according to Lawrence: “And even then you can sand it back, re-oil and they come back new,” he said.

“The antibacterial properties also stay in the board. It doesn’t matter how many times you wash it, they’re still in there. “

Lawrence says the main tip he gives customers to keep their chopping boards in good condition is to wash them in warm soapy water, rinse and then let them dry straight away so they’re not soaking. Rubbing a little grapeseed oil in every few months will help protect the timber.

Oiling also brings out the natural patterns in the timber that are unique to every board.

On bigger boards, Lawrence will carve back the natural knots and fill in the gaps with resin and agate crystals to make the most of the patterns,

“A lot of the really interesting crazy patterns are around those natural knots in the timber, so instead of just cutting it out, we use it,” he said.

*Find Le Chop at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market every Friday.

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