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Photo Journal|志記鎅木廠 百年之輪 (Find English version below)

Updated: Apr 5

Photo/ Oiyan Chan

Text/ Wingchi Chan






Chi Kee Sawmill & Timber --- The Last Growth Rings

A cross-section of a log reveals its annual rings, from the heartwood to the bark, allowing us to estimate the age of the tree.

Chi Kee Sawmill is home to towering logs, stacked two stories high and weighing close to a thousand tons. The bottom layer comprises tropical rainforest timber from Sabah, the middle layer consists of "utility poles," and the top layer is made up of pine from the United States or Canada. However, these logs, which have endured decades or even centuries, will soon be relocated along with Chi Kee Sawmill as part of the Northeast New Territories Development Plan.

Throughout the sawmill, one can find wooden sculptures and furniture crafted by the director Wong Hung-kuen, who breathes new life into these logs. What were once discarded as waste timber have become materials for repairing old houses or temples, granting the wood a second life: "These utility poles could double the lifespan of the trees. We organize carpentry classes to make wooden stools and shelves, with the aim of teaching participants about the benefits of trees. We want to instill in them a greater appreciation for trees."

On a typical day, the sawmill is managed by Kuen, his sister, and an assistant, who handle these massive logs that stretch over ten meters in length. They are accompanied by two small dogs, who roam the factory freely, seemingly unaware that they are about to lose their home. Kuen's wish is for the sawmill to be preserved, so that more people can learn about the value of these century-old logs.

Published on JET Aug,2022 Issue

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