Today we called in at a saw mill, high up in the mountains of Dongmenzhen, where we met with a wonderful lady called Mei Ling and gentleman called Tai Sun.
In the saw mill the tree trunks are put through a giant veneer slicing machine, firstly the bark is stripped to clean and straighten the trunk, then with each rotation a sharp blade slices a thin 2mm veneer from the raw trunk, basically until the trunk is that small in diameter all that’s left is a 1 inch piece of dowel like timber, this is then used for broom handles.
Pictured below you can see the pine veneers drying out on racks in the humid heat, there’s literally millions of these to been seen around this region. The veneers are used in both the furniture manufacturing trade, and are also bonded together in a lamination process to make sheets of plywood.
Tai Sun’s job is to collect the circular broom handles from the saw mill where he loads them up by hand onto his scooter truck, he then delivers them to Mei Ling, she then bundles about 40 of the broom handles together by tying string round the center, then with a sudden twist of her hands she makes them into a fan shape and stands them up to dry out in the heat.
Between the two of them, from the early hours of the morning to late at night, they literally handle tens of thousands of broom handles each day, and the amount they get paid each day wouldn’t even be enough to buy a simple sweeping brush.
So the next time you nip round to your local hardware shop to buy a sweeping brush, there’s every chance that it’s one of Mei Ling and Tai Sun’s broom handles!