The Canary Tea Pine

The Canary tea pine is a very common wood in the Canary traditions, its beauty and strength, but difficult to work, perfectly supports the weather. A clear example is La Casa de los Balcones, used in many of its installations, it has never been treated or painted and thus can appreciate the delicacy, neatness and the beautiful craftsmanship of master carpenters that worked it. It’s been four hundred years and even summarizes wood resin.

Patio central de La Casa de Los Balcones en La Orotava

central courtyard of  La Casa de Los Balcones en La Orotava

  • Name: Pine Tea pine
  • Also known as: tea Canary Island pine, loblolly pine, loblolly pine tea ,,
  • Color: Wood is provided heartwood. Dark brown and reddish caramel aspect.
  • Hometown: Canary Islands.
  • Properties: Very heavy. white pine and loblolly pine. Little nervous. Hard. Difficult to work because of its fragility. It isn´t impregnable as it is already impregnated with resin.
  • Applications: Woodworking. exterior carpentry: lattice windows, carpentry work view (does not require treatment for his incorruptible character).
  • Other information: Fibre is straight. tea timber is translucent in thin pieces (bottom thickness 1 cm).
Detalle del balcón de pino de tea en La Casa de Los Balcones

Detail of the tea pine balconie in La Casa de Los Balcones

The Wine Press

One element of European culture and a fundamental part of the Mediterranean diet is the wine, which arrived in the Canary Islands with the first Spanish settlers during the conquest.

Together with the first samples of wine brought by Castilians, begin to reach the island landscape wine press accompanied by wine cellars in form of stone, wood and tile constructions.

Los Muchachos, los RRPP de La Casa de Los Balcones en su Lagar
Recently, a team of researchers discovered the oldest winery found to date. They managed to identify a harvest of about 6,000 years old in southern Armenia. ‘This is the unit’s oldest wine production which has been discovered so far, with its press, its fermentation tanks and storage vessels. ”

Among the objects found included grape seed, remains of treated grapes, vine shoots and a clay vat apparently used for fermentation. ‘The winery would have contained a few liters of juice and crushed grapes, so it would presumable with the traditional technique of treading grapes barefoot.

Antiguo lagar de viga
In the Canary Islands, the most common and popular, becomes the beam press, example of simplicity and efficiency, qualities that converted in one of those picturesque old mechanisms that usefully have survived in a useful way until today.

The wine press consists of the building and mechanical parts. The building or construction regularly a rectangular building is covered by a gable roof, which houses the armored, made in ordinary masonry where is trod and pressed the grapes; Lagareta or tub where the juice is collected.

Lagar de La Casa de Los Balcones - La Orotava
The mechanical parts begin with the huge beam for pressing, of wood of  80 or 90 cm in diameter and between 12 to 15 metres long; and the Roman balance consisting of stone, spindle and hub.

  • The stone, of a conical shape, with little inclination, will be the force application on the lever.
  • The spindle is a great screw carved in wood approximately 3 metres long and a diameter of 20 centimetres which rests on the stone
  • The club is the nut where the spindle is screwed.

This forms the moving mechanism exerting with its weight the pressure of the device functioning thus with the principle at lever of the second type.

La Ventita de La Casa - 3er premio Concurso Fotográfico
At the Casa de los Balcones, in La Orotava, the end of the courtyard we can see a typical beamed wine press of the Canaries. Although it is in perfect condition, currently it is no longer it used for the harvest, but serves as storage for the finest wines and products of our land.

Come to taste the excellent wine production of the island. We wait for you!

Fuentes:

The spiral staircase

Once through the imposing entrance to the Casa de los Balcones and crosses the hall into the courtyard, we find two wide corridors that form an “L” in which, among other peculiarities stands out, looking to the left side, the spiral staircase.

This original spiral staircase that from the courtyard communicates with the other two floors of the house, mainly known for its central axis, a single piece of robust tea wood, 11.10 meters high and uniform thickness of 16, 5cm. in diameter. Add to that a few meters buried in the ground to solidify the structure, we can get an idea of the great height of the ancient canaries tea pines.

Escalera de Caracol en La Casa de Los Balcones, La Orotava

Spiral staircase in La Casa de Los Balcones, La Orotava

The staircase, and in general all the woodwork of this house, represents a genuine display of this wood, difficult to carve but used by the best master carpenters of the time for its strength and beauty that remains over time. In this house, with its 380 years of history has never been painted or the wood treated and it continues oozing resin.

You reach the stairs from the courtyard and from one of the front rooms, and both have access doors with locks. There are 21 steps or rungs to climb to the second floor, with almost two full turns which is slightly overwhelming for those who up go it for the first time.

What´s more, this first section is enclosed with walls of red mud bricks and dead stone (volcanic stone or gravel) and finally whitewashed six small windows with wooden blinds for ventilation and clarity were maintained. At the end of this section, a minimum landing where again a door leads this time to a beautiful balcony.

Entrada al Museo por la escalera de caracol, en la Casa de Los Balcones

Entrance to the Museum through the Spiral Staircase, en la Casa de Los Balcones

The second flight, which leads to the third floor has the same characteristics as the first, both in number of steps and its peculiar almost two turns, but this time that which encloses the staircase is all lattice. At this point, we reach the balcony of the third floor, where the stairs end, but the wooden shaft of tea still stands out 1.60 meters above the last one.

¡We wait for you in La Orotava!