Wood extraction and timber process


Japan stands as one of the world’s most densely forested countries, with its vast woodland covering two-thirds of its mountainous land area. The country benefits from a mild climate and abundant rainfall, creating favorable conditions for forest growth. With the exception of extreme habitats like alpine meadows and areas of river gravel, Japan’s natural landscape is predominantly covered in forests.

Forests account for 67% of the land in Japan, comprising both natural forests (60%) and planted forests (40%). Our logs are sourced from the forests located in the Hokkaido and Tohoku regions. These regions, positioned between 43° and 45° north latitude, boast a diverse range of broad-leaved and coniferous trees.

To ensure consistent quality and cost stability, we directly procure logs from municipal forest owners, university research forests, and privately owned forests managed by local governments. By maintaining face-to-face relationships with our producers, we establish a platform for obtaining valuable feedback and information regarding the supplied materials. Our commitment extends beyond mere procurement, as we actively engage in on-site tree planting and forest management over the long term.

We acquire logs from tree varieties that exhibit rich grains and age between 80-200 years. This selection includes oak, Japanese ash, birch, cherry, elm, various broadleaf trees, as well as coniferous species such as Sakhalin fir and Yezo spruce. By actively procuring these domestic logs, our aim is to manufacture products that can endure for over a century.

Through responsible sourcing and meticulous craftsmanship, we strive to create enduring and sustainable products using Japan’s abundant forest resources.

Characteristics and general care

As a natural material, wood inherently exhibits variations in color, grain, and texture. These natural characteristics are an inherent part of working with wood.

It is important to note that both solid wood and veneer can be affected by environmental factors such as humidity and temperature. This natural process may lead to expansion, contraction, warping, and the development of cracks in the wood. These changes are normal and occur as the wood adjusts to its surroundings.

To properly care for your wood products, we recommend the following guidelines:

– When cleaning, use a soft cloth and wipe dry along the grain of the wood. Promptly wipe off any stains or spills to prevent them from penetrating the surface.
– Avoid placing the furniture in direct sunlight, as prolonged exposure can cause fading and discoloration. Additionally, keep the wood away from wet or hot objects to prevent damage.
– It is advisable to avoid placing wood products near stoves or heat-radiating appliances, as excessive heat can lead to warping or other forms of damage.

By following these care instructions, you can help preserve the natural beauty and longevity of your wood products. It is important to embrace and appreciate the unique characteristics and behaviors of natural materials like wood.

WoodClick here to specific finish care and handling. 

In-house procurement

Our logs are obtained from the forests of Hokkaido and Tohoku regions. These forests, situated between 43° and 45° north latitude, are home to broad-leaved and coniferous trees. To ensure stable quality and costs, we purchase directly from municipal forest owners, university research forests, and privately owned forests managed by local governments.

Face-to-face relationships with our producers allow us to obtain quality feedback and information regarding the supplied materials while participating long-term in on-site tree planting and forest management. 

Domestic timber and energy

We procure logs from rich-grained tree varieties with ages ranging from 80-200 years. Tree varieties include oak, Japanese ash, birch, cherry, elm, broadleaf, and the coniferous Sakhalin fir and Yezo spruce. 

Many of these are either bent logs that are not traded on the general market or forked logs with many branches. Such logs have a short lifespan and are destined for use as biomass fuel or pulp. We actively purchase such domestic logs and aim to manufacture products that can be used for over a century.

Tree age measurement

Our staff counts the growth rings of each log we procure. The logs are then naturally dried for about a year and a half. After drying, we use our proprietary traceability evaluation to determine such details as the log’s place of origin, age, and size. 

How many products can be produced from a single log? Do such products give back to those working in forestry and manufacturing? Do the process and craft avoid waste and consider the environment? Have CO2 emissions been estimated? By asking such questions and measuring tree age, we seek to revolutionize existing fundamental manufacturing methods.

Low-temperature biomass drying

Wood cannot be used unless it is dried. Typically, wood is first naturally dried (for about two years in a natural outdoor environment). Then, it is forcibly dried (in artificial conditions of approximately 80°C) to make the material suitable for furniture or construction.

In 2018, we began using an original artificial drying method that uses low-temperature biomass drying at 40°C. We reevaluated the idea that wood should be quickly and efficiently dried at high temperatures in an artificial, forced manner.

Instead, we chose to return to a more “primitive” construction method that involves “slow aging at low temperatures.” In today’s world, where efficiency is critical, one reason to consider such a time axis is the existence of the oldest wooden building in the world—Japan’s Horyuji Temple. The temple’s 1400-year-old columns and structures maintain their quality to this day.

In terms of rigidity, tenacity, flexibility, and constriction, the method used for the temple’s construction continues to be the best method available. We believe in the need for incorporating lessons from the past in refining the craftsmanship of the future.

Municipal and industry-academia-government collaboration

Higashikawa Town in Hokkaido, known as a “photography town,” has designated April 14 as “Chair Day. Forty percent of the town’s population is involved in wood manufacturing, furniture, and woodworking, and the town produces about 30 percent of Asahikawa’s furniture. In addition, the city has established Japan’s first design museum with the Oda Collection by Kenji Oda as its primary collection. 

In Higashikawa, we will continue to exist as a company with roots in the community, producing chairs and desks for children at Higashikawa Elementary School.

Also, in partnership with the town of Nakagawa and Hokkaido University, we aim to collaborate with local governments, sharing our knowhow to promote new ways of working, “workcations,” outdoor styles, internal migration, and regional revitalization via the high-quality hardwoods and conifers that grow in various parts of Hokkaido. 

Wood and factory acquisition certifications

The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) is a global certification system. The SGEC (Sustainable Green Ecosystem Council) applies to domestic forests.

At the Time & Style Factory, to export domestically certified materials overseas, we will, in addition to our own developed domestic rules, acquire factory acquisition certification by 2023 so that customers in Japan and abroad can purchase our products with peace of mind.

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