VISUAL HISTORY: Benoit Vaessen cuts down trees to make his beautiful chopping boards out of the most interesting pieces of wood.
VISUAL HISTORY: Benoit Vaessen cuts down trees to make his beautiful chopping boards out of the most interesting pieces of wood. Caitlan Charles

On the chopping block at TAFE Markets

BENOIT Vaessen is a regular at the Jacaranda Festival Grafton TAFE Markets, but he's never had the chance to check out the festival because he is busy selling his beautiful hand made chopping boards, mostly out of camphor.

"I get some tress, I cut the trees into slabs and then dry the slabs for about a year minimum and then work the slabs once they are ready," he said.

Ms Vaessen began making the chopping boards when he took a huge order from a lady in California.

"She had three shops in California... and she gave me a huge order of 1600 chopping boards in one go so that sort of set me up to start buying machinery," he said.

"And then I kept going, it's been 13 years now."

From there, his business has flourished, visiting markets mostly in the Nimbin and Byron Bay area, but making his way to Grafton for the Jacaranda Festival most years.

Mr Vaessen said making the best product was about finding the best trees with the best colours.

"That's what's tricky, there are a lot of trees out there, there are not many good trees," he said.

"If they grow near water, like camphor likes to grow near creeks, they are not good.

"On top of a hill, away from water, they're the best ones, old aged and red soil you get the colours."

"You really have to get to know the trees."



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