Woodworking in the Congo

I am writing this for my son Seth, who makes his living working in wood, making fine, one of a kind furniture.

We always have problems getting furniture here in the Congo. You can find few furniture stores, and those that exist usually sell Ikea type furniture– furniture they have purchased in a ‘kit’ and put together in the back room, to sell on the floor of their store.

In most cases we have to find a carpenter to build us the things we need: bed frames and slats, tables, chairs, shelves, guardrobes (closets), etc. But this can be difficult. Most carpenters work out of their home, and simply display their work along the roadside.

The following pictures are of work done by just such a carpenter. We were driving by and liked his work, so we had him make us a few sample pieces. They were very good (certainly better than most we could find around), so we commishioned him to build quite a few more (we have a lot of new apartments we have to open up due to the increase in missionaries coming into the field).

Wood furniture (10)

This is a guardrobe, or closet. Each missionary gets one in their room to put their clothes, shoes, and other items. It has one shelf near the bottom.

Wood furniture (7)

Typical shelves we have built. Each apartment has two: one in the kitchen and one in the living room.

Wood furniture (6)

Typical single bed. Each missionary gets one (and a decent mattress, if we can find them, if not, they get a foam pad)

Wood furniture (3)

Dining room or salon table. Each apartment gets one so the missionaries can eat together.

Kananga furniture (12)

This is a furniture factory we found in Kananga, and are using to build furniture for us in that part of the Congo. They are also building some new pews for the local congregation.

Kananga furniture (11)

Part of their shop. Here they are putting boards through a planer?

Kananga furniture (8)

Some men finishing chairs, similar to the ones we purchase for use of the missionaries.

Kananga furniture (7)

Some tables and other items being built

Kananga furniture (6)

Here is one of the padded benches being built as a sample for pews in a church.

Kananga furniture (4)

More chairs being finished

Kananga furniture (3)

They have several areas where they stack wood to dry and/or store for use.

Kananga furniture (2)

Kananga furniture (1)

Bel Air furniture (5)

These are some of the slats being made for use in missionary beds

Bel Air furniture (4)

A typical woodworkers shop in the Congo: outside their home, in their yard and under a tree. Since there is little rain, they simply leave everything outside.

Bel Air furniture (3)

Some of the beds being made for us.

Bel Air furniture (1)

Here they are cleaning some shelves before we take them. The shed in the back is where they store the finished products.

It certainly isn’t up to my son’s standards, but this is very good for the conditions in the Congo!

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3 Responses to Woodworking in the Congo

  1. cecilia says:

    Really great place, How is it possible to get in contact, we are looking for some wood work pieces just like this in Congo. Thank you

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