Overview Objectives

The furniture industry is one of the ‘big four’ Indonesian pillars for export (along with rubber, palm oil, and footwear). The industry relies heavily on timber as its raw material, with an annual requirement of up to 7.5 million cubic metres. Wood species used as raw material for furniture (mainly teak and mahogany) come from natural forest and plantation/community forests. Jepara in Java is particularly known for its crafted wooden furniture, and the industry there involves 15,000 companies, mostly small-medium sized enterprises (SMEs). But the furniture manufacturing processes in Jepara, as in other regions of Indonesia, are characterised by poor production management and lack of optimisation in production systems - affecting production efficiency, timber recovery rates, and quality of products while creating a significant amount of timber waste. These SMEs would capture higher value if they adopted better drying, treatment and finishing processes, and this project aims to support the Indonesian furniture industry by enhancing value-adding from plantation timber production. The project’s main objectives are to increase timber recoveries and furniture quality through the improvement of processing and manufacturing methods for teak and mahogany timbers, and to explore new manufacturing technologies for new products and designs that would be competitive on international markets. As well the project will increase Indonesian timber processing research and training capacity and also monitor and analyse economic impact of improvements and innovations introduced to SMEs during the project.

Progress Reports (Year 1, 2, 3 etc)

Although the Project start date was 1 January 2009, delays in obtaining signed Project Agreements between the contractual parties meant that research activities of the project did not commence until the beginning of May 2009. Despite the delayed start, the project has made an impressive progress during Year 1 with active participation of all project partners.

The major activities and achievements during the first year are as follows:
1. The Project Steering Committee was formed consisting of two representatives from each partner organisation.
2. The assessment of research capabilities of each partner organisation involved in the project was undertaken to facilitate the development of networking arrangements between the project members. This knowledge and experience will be essential in ensuring the long-term sustainability of the project outcomes and will enable the participating organisations to take the role of the “value-adding experts” after the project is completed.
3. The criteria for the selection of the Industry Champions were developed by the project partners. Sixteen companies were selected as the members of the Industry Champions representing various types of sizes and models of the Jepara furniture industry and various aspects of wood processing and manufacturing. The Industry Champions will be the first beneficiaries of the project outcomes as the improvements and implementation of manufacturing methods, designs and products, will be firstly undertaken by these companies.
4. The Project Field Officer, Mrs Nurul Izza, was appointed to the project and is based at the project office in Jepara. The Field Officer is playing an important role of linking the project researchers with the Industry Champions.
5. Five teams of researchers conducted a detailed analysis of the current capabilities of the 16 Industry Champions, which included all major processing and manufacturing stages of the production process:
 Preservative Treatment.
A detailed report was prepared on each specific aspect of the production process for each Industry Champion. The individual reports were then combined into five final assessment reports: Sawmilling, Treatment, Drying, Manufacturing Process and Finishing. The reports provide details on the assessment of all aspects of processing and manufacturing processes applied by the Industry Champions, as well as provide general comments on the current industry practices and recommendations for improvements and changes. A General Assessment Report has been developed which provides the summary information on the assessment of five processing and manufacturing stages of the wood products production process without revealing any confidential information on the Industry Champions. The report will be made available to the government organizations, all industry stakeholders, NGOs and other relevant organizations.
6. Priority research projects were identified and teams of researchers to carry out the studies were formed. The projects include the study on alternative species which could be used for high value wood products, research on preservative treatment and developing drying schedules for teak and mahogany. The review of standards related to furniture products, both Indonesian and Australian standards, has commenced.

Significant progress has been made during Year 2 across each of the four main objectives of the project.
The major activities and achievements are as follows:
1. The First Annual Workshop was held on 6th August 2010 in Jepara with the aim to update the Industry Champions and the project stakeholders on the progress made during the first year of the project term. Presentations by the project team leaders were made on the results of the assessment of the current capabilities of the Industry Champions companies which were undertaken in Year 1. The presentations were followed by an open discussion on the industry’s major problems and the ways to find optimal solutions. The industry Champions expressed willingness to work with the project team on the implementation of improvements and changes recommended by the project teams.
Implementation of these recommendations was one of the major project activities carried out during the Year 2.
Implementation visits to the Industry Champions companies having drying, manufacturing and finishing facilities were made by the relevant teams in March 2011. The team members spent a lot of time with each individual company explaining the details of the recommendations and discussing which improvements are feasible taking into account financial or other constraints. Detailed reports have been written summarising the visit to each company with confidential information for each company. Follow up visits will be made on regular basis (every 6-7 months) until the project completion.
2. Good progress has been made on the project research activities carried out by the five research teams: sawing, drying, preservative treatment, manufacturing and finishing. Each team has developed a detailed working plan for research studies to be completed within the project term. Many research and industry activities have been already completed or are in an advanced stage of development. Some of these studies are summarised below:
A sawing recovery study was completed in five Industry Champions’ facilities in Jepara and a report completed. The study revealed that the sawing recovery in Jepara is higher than that stated in the Regulation for sawn timber recovery issued by Ministry of Forestry.
A report “Using metal detectors in sawmills - recommendations for Jepara” was completed and distributed to the project partners. The report provides concise descriptions of several metal detecting options available for the timber industry and provides recommendations for handling incoming logs in a typical Jepara sawmill facility. In addition to sawmillers, the information may also be of interest to manufacturers who encounter metal in their timber feedstock.
Preservative treatment:
Studies have been completed and reported by the Treatment Team that outline decision processes on the preservative treatment of wood products manufactured in Jepara and describe various treatment processes that might be used by the Jepara wood processing industry.
Heat treatment of teak to reduce the colour difference between sapwood and heartwood has been completed.
A program of research was developed into steaming followed by soaking in preservatives of teak (Tectona grandis L.f. - Verbenaceae), mahogany (Swietenia sp. - Meliaceae), mindi (Melia azedarach L. - Meliaceae), and trembesi (Samanea saman Merr. - Mimosaceae). Treated material will then be exposed to beetle and termite attack.
Wood structure assessment by macroscopic observation of vessels size of teak (Tectona grandis), mahogany (Swietenia sp.), mindi (Melia azedarach), and trembesi (Samanea saman) has been conducted to determine the possibility of penetration by beetles’ eggs.
Investigation on the impact of microwave pre-treatment on the penetration of wood preservatives into teak sapwood has been completed.
Vacuum pressure treatment of teak has been carried out using various wood preservatives. Non-pressure treatment of teak using boron based preservative has been carried out. Techniques include: dip diffusion, cold soak and hot & cold processes. This research will continue on other species: mahogany, mindi and trembesi.
Demonstration treatment plants have been constructed (steam-cold soak, hot & cold, vacuum pressure). It is planned to use these plants for demonstration and training.
Laboratory research into the decay durability of heat treated teak has been completed.
Preliminary research into the impact of ammonia fumigation on the colour of teak has been completed.
Wood drying:
Drying trials have been conducted on four primary wood species used in Jepara: teak (Tectona grandis), mahogany (Swietenia sp), mindi (Melia azedarach), and trembesi (Samanea saman). The results from this work will be provided in technical brochures to interested kiln operators throughout Jepara and presented at the future training sessions.
Collection and review of international standards and specifications for furniture at SMEs has been carried out. The aim of this work is to collate Indonesian and international standards, methods and specifications related to furniture production methods, quality control and requirements for furniture applicable to SMEs. The data and information will be then used for the development of quality control assessment methods and tests applicable to SMEs in Jepara.
Collection and review of basic properties of the alternative species for furniture: jabon (Anthocephalus cadamba) and sungkai (Peronema canescens) is in progress.
The literature review on alternative species of mangium (Acacia mangium) and trembesi (Samanea saman) is in progress.
A study on the utilization of selected Lesser Used Species for manufacturing of furniture has been completed,
A study on the current recovery of furniture components has been undertaken. The results will be used for developing recommendations for making improvements in recovery and waste reduction.
A research study on the enhancement of surface appearance of tropical woods from community forest has been carried out by application of ammonia fuming technique. The experimental result showed that ammonia fuming could change significantly the natural color of nangka (Artocarpus heterophyllus), waru (Hibiscus tiliaceus Bl.), afrika (Maesopsis eminii), akasia mangium (Acacia mangium Willd.), mahoni (Swietenia sp.), teak (Tectona grandis) and puspa (Schima wallichii). The woods treated by ammonia fuming showed an increase in resistance against termite attack.
3. To ensure the project sustainability after its completion, a strong emphasis has been placed on the establishment of a comprehensive training program. Two training courses were provided to the Jepara SMEs: on sawing processes and wood drying.
The sawing training was carried out by the members of the Sawing Team on 19 April 2011 in Jepara. The session was attended by 16 participants from the furniture industry, including representatives of the Industry Champions and the Jepara Small-scale Furniture Producers Association (APKJ) The training included the following subjects: basic physical and mechanical properties of wood, target size, standard efficiency and safety.
The wood drying training will be held on 22-23 May 2011. The training will include presentations by the members of the drying team (in Jepara) and practical sessions at PIKA training facilities in Semarang.
4. The SWOT Analysis of the furniture industry in Jepara has been undertaken that will enable the industry to focus on strengths, minimise weaknesses, address threats, and take the greatest possible advantage of opportunities available.
5. An important goal of the project has been the establishment of collaborative linkages with SMEs in Jepara. The project team believes that it is essential that the companies respond with trust and confidence to the project members and clearly understand the project’s objectives and related activities. This goal is being achieved through frequent consultations and discussions with the Industry Champions, consolidation meetings, field visits and training.
Abbreviations Used in the Report
ACIAR Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research
UoM The University of Melbourne
DEEDI The Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation.
FORDA Forest Product Research and Development Center, Forestry Research and Development Agency, Ministry of Forestry
IPB Bogor Agricultural University
UGM Universitas Gadjah Mada
PIKA Technical College of Wood Technology
CIFOR Center for International Forestry Research
APKJ Jepara Small-scale Furniture Producers Association

The ACIAR Forestry RPM mid-term review was conducted on 30 October 2011 with the overall finding that “The project is progressing extremely well and is on track with almost all of its planned activities, which is very pleasing considering the complexity of the project design and number of partners (8 research partners and 16 private sector collaborators)”.
The 2nd Annual Workshop and Steering Committee meeting were held on 29-30 October 2011 in Jepara. FORDA Director General, Pak Fathoni, emphasized the priority that the Indonesian Government gives to this project.
Regular visits to the Industry Champions have been undertaken with the aim to implement the recommended improvements and changes in processing and production methods.
The project research activities conducted by five research teams; sawing, preservative treatment, drying, manufacturing and finishing, are progressing very well with significant achievements made which have been documented in reports, journal publications and conference proceeding and disseminated at the project workshop, training courses and in data sheets tailored for the industry. Some of the research studies are summarised below:
In-mill recovery studies were completed to provide benchmark data and a journal article. A review of metal detectors was completed and recommendations provided to the sector. The model regarded as most suitable assessed by cost, ease of use, portability and accuracy is now circulating in Industry Champion facilities.
The principles of lean management and waste minimisation as relevant to sawmilling practice were reviewed, summarised and translated for the benefit of the Industry Champions and other SMEs in Jepara.
A review of the availability and cost of personal protective equipment was undertaken by PIKA in an effort to implement a culture of safety awareness in the industry.
Preservative treatment:
Above ground field exposure trials were established in Australia to evaluate the performance of heat treated, clear finished teak and unfinished controls.
Work on timber treatment specifications within Indonesia is being investigated.
Options for equipment and chemicals for effective treatment of lyctus-susceptible timber was discussed with Industry Champion company Raisa.

 A demonstration kiln has been constructed in Jepara.
 Drying trials have been conducted on four primary wood species from young plantation forests used in Jepara: teak (Tectona grandis), mahogany (Swietenia sp.), mindi (Melia azedarach), and trembesi (Samanea saman).
 Solar drying trials on preservative treated wood and kiln drying schedule development for a range of timbers are in progress.
 A study on the use of solar kilns in Indonesia has found that drying of timber using solar energy is feasible in the majority of Java. Given the low cost of solar kilns and the abundance of solar energy in the region, a moderately sized solar kiln (i.e. 22 m3) may be accessible for most SME furniture companies.

 The review of Indonesian and international standards related to furniture has been completed.
 Analysis of the current recovery rate in furniture production has been completed and documented.
 The development of database on alternative species has been completed and documented. The FORDA book “Alternative wood species for furniture and creative industry” presents data on 21 plantation/community forest species.
 Literature review on options for products made from low quality, small dimensions timbers is underway.
 Wood bending and gluing/laminating have been identified as the priority technologies for future implementation by the Industry Champions.
 A survey is being developed with the aim to identify design skills, design education and training available to furniture manufacturers in Jepara.
 Research study on ammonia fuming was completed and the results published.
 Trials on the application of oil based and water-based wood finishes were completed. Both finishes obtained good performance results with oil-based finish showing better resistance to mechanical damage.
 The investigation of the effect of heat treatment on wood properties and finishing quality is in progress.
By industry request a strong focus was placed on regular training activities and five training courses were held during the reporting period..
Collaborations between project participants have developed over the year with increasing networking and joint problem solving. It is particularly noted during research activities, training and technology transfer.

The project is now in the final year of its duration. During the last 12 months further progress was made towards achieving the objectives of the project. The team members are confident that the project’s goals will be achieved on time and the outcomes will assist small and medium furniture enterprises in Jepara to significantly improve the quality of their products and to become more efficient and skilled.
The major activities during the 4th year of the project term are as follows:
The 3rd Annual Workshop was held on 8 December 2012 in Jepara, attended by Dr. Iman Santoso, the Director General of FORDA, the project partners, invited stakeholders and 35 members of the Industry Champions and APKJ.
An extensive training program was developed by the project team aiming to increase skills and knowledge of the industry members in various aspects of wood processing and manufacturing. Each training course was well attended not only by Industry Champions and APKJ members but also by other SMEs in the Jepara region.
Regular implementation visits to the Industry Champions and APKJ companies have been carried out by the project team members with the aim to implement the recommended improvements and changes in processing and production methods
Some of the research studies are summarised below:
Research on girdling teak trees is in progress.
Wood machining characteristics from West Java and Banten were analysed on six species for five machining operations: planing, moulding, sanding, boring and peeling. Total percentage of defects was determined.
‘Quality Operations Manual on Sawing’ is in preparation.
Preservative treatment:
Research study on the durability of six furniture wood species from plantation forest against post powder beetle was completed.
The effectiveness of the current preservative treatment methods used by SMEs in Jepara was tested under laboratory conditions. It was found that timber which is treated with traditional preservative methods in Jepara is not protected against insects.
Research studies on wood durability of several wood species against subterranean termite attack were conducted.
The signficant achievement of the drying activities was the completion of a demonstration drying chamber (kiln) for SMEs in Jepara, which was funded and supervised by PUSTEKOLAH team, FORDA. A small and affordable wood drying chamber (pilot project) with size (6 x 4 x 3) m3 was completed in August 2012.
Study on wood drying properties and development of drying schedules for six wood species from Community Forest in Banten Province was completed.
A study on the potential use of solar kilns in Indonesia indicates that drying of timber is feasible using solar energy in the majority of the locations studied around Java
Research on wood bending has made a very good progress.
Research on gluing/laminating properties of six furniture wood species from plantation forest has been completed.
A review of design skills in Jepara has been conducted.
A Furniture Design Competition has been initiated with the aim to identify good designers and to link them with furniture companies.
Two research studies on the durability of the water-based wood finishes coated on fast growing wood species were completed. In total seventeen species were tested. The test results showed that ammonia fumigation method increases the aesthetic value of wood (colour and pattern look natural) and increases durability of wood. In addition, a strong resistance of the finishing layer of the water-based lacquer was observed.
A research study has been completed, and the results published, on the determination of juvenile and mature transition ring for fast growing sengon (Paraserianthes falcataria) and jabon (Anthocephalus cadamba) timbers.
The investigation of the effect of heat treatment on wood properties and finishing quality has been carried out. Two types of heat treatment methods were used in this research, i.e. oven and steaming methods.
The project has made significant achievements in capacity building, mainly through the development of strong network linkages between education, research, training and the industry. During Year 4 a strong emphasis was placed on disseminating the project findings not only to the Industry Champions but also to APKJ members and other small and medium companies in the Jepara region.
It is believed that the network developed within the project will provide sustainable long-term capacity improvements which will provide significant benefits to the Jepara furniture industry.
The research results have been widely published in international scientific journals, conference proceedings and research reports and disseminated at the project workshop, training courses, project website, newsletters and in data sheets tailored for the industry.

The project is now in the final year of its duration. The completion date, originally due on 31 June 2014, has been extended by ACIAR until 31 December 2014, without additional funding, to allow for the completion of the project activities.
During the last 12 months further progress was made towards achieving the objectives of the project. An increased effort has been put into disseminating project research results through an extensive training program for Jepara companies, both Industry Champions and other companies (e.g. Jepara Small-Scale Furniture Producers Association APKJ members), developing technical manuals, guidelines and training materials as well as publications for international journals and conferences.
The major activities during the 5th year of the project term are as follows:
The 4th Project Annual Workshop was held in Jepara on 7 December 2013, attended by the project partners, invited stakeholders and 35 members of the Industry Champions and APKJ. The workshop allowed members and stakeholders to get an update on the project progress and discuss the priorities for the next year activities.
The Project Steering Committee meeting was held on 8 December 2013, at PIKA, Semarang. The meeting allowed the Committee members to discuss the project outputs and their benefits to the industry.
In total eight training courses were conducted on various topics selected by the industry as the priorities. Each training course was highly attended not only by Industry Champions and APKJ members but also by other SMEs in the Jepara region. Course notes were prepared for each participant in Bahasa Indonesia. Enthusiasm and positive feedback from the participants shows that the training program provided to date has been successful.
A book entitled “Furniture from plantation timber. A manual for furniture manufacturers in the Jepara region of Indonesia” has been completed. The manual of 220 pages is a series of eight guides, prepared in both English and Bahasa Indonesia, which covers critical aspects of the key stages of furniture production: sawmilling, drying, preserving (treating) timber, and manufacturing the final furniture products. The manual will contribute to improved processing efficiency, product quality and worker safety.
The performance of a demonstration drying chamber, constructed in 2012 for the Industry Champions and APKJ is being tested and monitored on continuous basis. The kiln is being used by a group of 5 - 10 SMEs. A similar kiln but of a larger capacity has been recently built by the company which manages the kiln to dry timber for their own and other SMEs needs.
A Furniture Design Competition has been successfully completed. The aim of the competition was to identify good designers and link them with furniture companies. The competition included two categories of designers: professional designers (task - to design a chair) and students (a coffee table). The competition was open to all participants from Central Java province, including Yogyakarta. In total 22 submissions were received and three winners from each category were selected. The first and second winners of each category were awarded with an intensive furniture design training at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.
An impact assessment of the project has been undertaken by a team from CIFOR. The study was conducted to obtain empirical validation on the effectiveness of the project in achieving its goals. According to the study’s results, the companies involved in the survey reported an increase in sales turnover by 40% after attending various training courses, and their income has increased by about 50%. The data indicates positive economic impact of the project on the development of furniture industry in Jepara.
The project team is confident that the project will have substantial outcomes which will provide significant improvements in SMEs capacity in the utilization of plantation timber for furniture production in the Jepara region.

Project ID
Project Country
Inactive project countries
Commissioned Organisation
University of Melbourne, Australia
Project Leader
Associate Professor Barbara Ozarska
03 9250 6878
03 9250 6917
Collaborating Institutions
Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Australia
Forest Research and Development Agency, Indonesia
Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia
Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia
Technical College of Wood Technology, Indonesia
Center for International Forestry Research, Indonesia
Forum Rembug Kluster, Indonesia
Project Budget
Start Date
Finish Date
Extension Start Date
Extension Finish Date
ACIAR Research Program Manager
Mr Tony Bartlett