OLD STANDARD AND TRADITION, MODERN DESIGN
We started manufacturing wooden doors in the early 1940s. Even though the world has changed in many ways since then, we have continued to work according to the strong ethics and quality principles laid out buy our grandfather when he started the carpentry. Every single wood component is carefully selected, produced and assembled at our original carpentry shop in Bovallstrand. Nor will we ever change that.
Three generations of door builders
The waves beat on the deck and the white froth trails behind the vessel as it trundles across Skagerrak. The yacht, Lina, will soon be back at home in Bovallstrand after yet another trip to the Norwegian town of Fredrikstad. The boat is fully laden with Norwegian timber that will be sold in its home port. Its owner is called Johan. He was the one, in the 1800s, that started the family tradition of working with timber.
However, Johan passed away far too young and the freight business was abandoned. Instead, his son, Gustaf, eventually started a wood products store in the same spot that the timber used to be unloaded.
The store became a workplace for him and his sons. One of these was Bengt Gustafsson. His intention was to become a master builder after folk high-school, just like his father. But it didn’t happen. After a short period of education he was ordered back home. The family business had been given the job of drawing and calculating construction materials for the Bovallsgården hotel, and they needed all the help they could get.
So there he is, Bengt, back at the family business in Bovallstrand. But not for much longer. He realized that in the future, when his children had their own families, it would be difficult for them all to make a living from the store. Then Bengt started to think about joinery production.
With the help of seven thousand kronor borrowed from a relative, these thoughts soon became reality. But by now it was 1943 and the Second World War was laying waste to the rest of Europe. Times were uncertain and there was a lack of both capital and material. What could be used to build with?
During that summer Bengt designed a seaside hotel in Bovallstrand. In return for the help he was able to demolish a bathhouse that stood on the site and use the materials. These came to good use when his joinery was built. The bricks were used in a boiler room, while the planks and doors were used for the workshop. In order to provide a safeguard, the workshop was built like a house. This meant it could easily be converted to rooms for holiday makers if times should turn against the joinery business.
"Here at Bovalls Dörrbyggeri, we build doors as if they were boats. The weather in Bovallstrand is as harsh today as it was when our grandfather established his quality standards. That's why we continue to use approximately the same building methods."
However, the lack of quality materials continued, even after the building was finished. One particular challenge was finding dry oak for the doorsills. But what’s a problem for if not for solving? The boatyard on Badholmsvägen in Bovallstrand had some Swedish oak lying around. Bengt took a handcart and collected the discarded pieces. With the help of a homemade bandsaw, constructed from a bent oak branch and two wheels from a Model T Ford, they were sawn into sills that were then dried in his grandmother’s barn, next to the workshop.
And that’s how it started. Tough circumstances required a high level of ingenuity and things were built to last – you simply
Bengt Gustafsson föddes 1919 och grundade AB Bengt Gustafssons snickerifabrik, som firman hette då, 1943. At the age of 88, our founder Bengt Gustafsson, began writing his memoirs, covering the period from when he set up the company until the 1950s. Read a few extracts from his hand-written notes.
RAGNAR, TORE AND LEIF REMEMBERS
Ragnar Haglund started working at the joinery factory in 1946. Leif Johansson and Tore Henriksson started in 1960s. This is some of their memories from their long time working with wood and wooden doors at Bovalls Dörrbyggeri.
THE PLACE BOVALLSTRAND
“Sad and gloomy, crags and more crags, bare rock, no trees, no bushes, no greenery”. Bovallstrand has not always been regarded as a sunny holiday paradise, at least not according to this 1855 description of the West Coast community. But the 1800s high-society tourism changed that dramatically.
The west coast of Sweden has a harsh climate that combines salt spray with high winds. The old craftsmen builders knew that doors had to be solidly constructed from good materials to withstand the weather on the west coast.