Hobbit Door creator, Johan Nel:
“This Hobbit Door I made is a replica of the hobbit’s door as featured in the film ‘Lord of the Rings’, a movie that was adapted from the novels of J. R. R. Tolkien, who found his inspiration while living in Hogsback in the Eastern Cape.
My client, a medical doctor from New York – USA, contacted me after seeing photographs on my website of the previous ‘Hobbit Door’ that I had made. He felt it would suit his family home, which is situated on Wellesley Island on the St. Lawrence River in North America and undergoing renovations.
While Oregon Pine might appear to be the most obvious choice of wood for this project, on further investigation I felt it would be far better to use Afromosia (found from southern to mid-Africa), because the natural high oil content of the wood would protect the door from the harsh weather conditions experienced in that part of the world. Afromosia is a dense wood, with a deep, rich colour. It is at its most attractive when oiled and polished. It cuts and planes nicely, and it sands to a fine finish.
The hinges were custom-made to my specifications, from 10mm mild steel. The handles, lock and keys were similarly custom-made. And all these fittings were produced locally, in Knysna. The size of the door is 2,4m x 2,2m. By itself, it weighs just under 400kgs. The hinges were heavily bolted on both its sides, giving the door the required strength. Specially designed brass bushes were used to hold the weight of the door, whilst allowing for easy opening. The hinges, locks and handles were treated with textured paint to give it that ‘old’ look and feel.
With the door very well oiled and polished, it was ready to be crated. I proceeded to make the crate as well, since it had to be very secure and house the door safely on its travels – first by ship to Montreal, and then by road directly to Wellesley Island (where it has since arrived).
It gave me great pleasure to build this door – not only to execute the design, which incites the imagination, but also to work with this magnificent wood.”
Some other hobbit doors (and windows!) Johan has lovingly crafted and supplied to clients around the world, including South Africa, the United States of America, Canada and Europe.
MEET THE CRAFTSMAN
Hi there. My name is Johan Nel. I’m the founder of Knysna Woodworkers as well as the craftsman.
I have over 40 years of experience manufacturing all kinds of custom wooden furniture, doors, and various other wood craft. I can make anything from wood and the love and passion I have for woodworking is reflected in everything I make.
(Notably, Johan has been featured numerous times in Timber iQ magazine, a top magazine in the field, showcasing all about wood. Highlights include one of Johan’s famous “hobbit door” replicas and the beautiful rustic furniture he made for the popular Featherbed restaurant in Knysna.)