Voea V'taera: Sheet Wood Material in Wouraiya | World Anvil
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Voea V'taera: Sheet Wood

Image hand-drawn and article written both by Daskalarch


Physical & Chemical Properties

V'taera is almost puncture-proof. Very few items can penetrate it, certainly not sharp items. It is more fire resistant than most other woods on Wouraiya. It is sterile and pest-resistant, and most things can't stick to its sides. However, it is not strong from certain angles. It will not hold up most proportionally heavy objects if they are placed on its thin side; it will bend or curl over and fall. It is particularly susceptible to changes in pH, though the weather in Wouraiya generally cannot provide changes drastic enough to affect its viability.

Geology & Geography

The tree from which v'taera is derived has several cousins across Wlitowaru'u and Keyrit. However, the only variant whose lumber can withstand the manufacturing process is found in central Keyrit, largely in out-of-the-way places. Because of this, many localities in Keyrit have their economy almost exclusively founded upon harvesting material for voea v'taera.

Origin & Source

V'taera comes from particularly hardy trees in central Keyrit. Their trunks are large and thick, but their branches are knotted and travel every which way. It is difficult to cut down trees there, but its rings are separable from each other. To access the wood inside, foresters paint a line of vinegar on the tree. The acid melts the bark away along that line. From there, foresters use picks or axes to pry a ring of wood away from the rest of the tree. This process must be repeated for every ring peeled from the tree. Partly for sustainability purposes and partly because the wood from the inner rings isn't worth the hassle, the tree is left as thin as a young shoot, with its uppermost branches and leaves intact.

History & Usage


The trees of Keyrit were few in number when the Keywelok first migrated there. Irewa, the nation from which the Keywelok people derived, had thrived on minimal natural resources. Even still, this pushed the Keywelok to their limit; the non-Irewan cultures would have perished within a few years of setting up a colony.

Several species of trees were believed to have been chopped down to extinction. Wood from the very first settlements of Keyrit shared similar properties to specimens from Wlitowaru’u, though there wasn’t a large enough population on Wlitowaru’u to support an export economy. Regardless of how the old wood was acquired, though, the only trees that were remained were gnarly and not fit for use, or alternatively too difficult to harvest. The tree from which voea v’taera is derived was one of the latter, seemingly engineered to resist the blades of axes. Even if a lumberjack strong enough could wield an axe sharp enough, the tree (and its cousin species) would shatter into unusable splinters. For centuries, the tree was deemed a useless natural resource, and more of a pest. Even worse, it was particularly ugly to look at.

Keyrit’s lack of trees forced the upstart nation to look for alternatives. Irewa mastered bronze while scratching out a living on the sands of its island territory. Likewise, Keyrit learned to master the elements of iron and nickel. Its furnaces roared with ferocity. Winds would often blow the excess dust and soot from the process east, out into the bay, then onto the shores of Unterritory and perhaps through Unterritory’s mountains into the lush jungles therewith.

On one year, though, a great wind blew west, coming in from the Strait of Uketya into the face of Eryai Retwerai. The elements of Eryai’s factories were caught up in the rain, and acid rain fell upon the central hinterlands of Keyrit. There was noticeable corrosion damage everywhere, though acid rain was an uncommon weather occurrence and would have caused quite a stir at any magnitude. Most noticeable in these hinterlands was the previously-unachieved damage to the hinterland’s trees.

The tribes of Retrougo would have considered this a travesty of cosmic proportions. This wasn’t Retrougo, though; this was Keyrit. They saw this as a triumph over nature, a beacon of hope for industrial progress. Locals in central Keyrit joined hands with central planners in eastern Keyrit to find a way to replicate the miracle. They didn’t yet understand the components that made up acid rain, so they threw everything at the wall to see what stuck. One madman even tried to reverse the flow of wind through Keyrit, first through natural means, then through artificial means. None of his approaches worked, obviously.

The Keywelok’s sister culture, the T’kakou, used specific animals to obtain Vitamin C, ascorbic acid. These animals were traded with Keyrit on a common basis, and their livers were one of the items tested on the stubborn trees. After a sizable amount of liver juices, the tree would peel off. This wasn’t efficient, though. The resultant product smelled and had sparingly little use by the rest of the world’s woodcutting standards. It was rejected by most of the industrial world as a useless novelty.

Votir Tekelotek, otherwise an unimpressive weroiki rancher near Vort Yiki, dedicated his free time and life savings to trying to make voea v’taera work. He was the one who discovered (or who at least discovered independently) that vinegar was a better alternative to liver juices. He conducted many home experiments that tested the properties of v’taera. Most importantly, he found out how to flatten the wood with his hot iron and a bucket of water. He would never see voea v’taera used profusely, but his actions gave him posthumous recognition and honors.

His three daughters (Ingai, Klire, and Wyaua) would turn Votir’s passion into a business. Their products were better and cheaper for their neighbors than equivalents from the city, and they soon gained local recognition. They purchased further land and soon owned 40% of their local suburb. Having reached what they believed to be the pinnacle of their business ventures, they gave away Votir’s secrets to the rest of the world.

Cottage industries sprouted across the land. Towns opened up local presses, where villagers could press their wood for a small fee. For most, voea v’taera was not a full-time occupation but rather an easy way to earn money on the side using already plentiful resources on their own land. By making product one tree at a time, the species was not driven to extinction like before, but responsibly harvested and allowed to grow further.

In the cities, voea v’taera was initially treated as a hot new material on the construction scene. Keep in mind that most wood in Keyrit was imported and so maintained a healthy reputation as an item of luxury. Voea v’taera retained that status while cutting importation costs almost entirely. The odd new way of manufacture confused the city slickers into thinking that the wood was even more special. For the first few decades of industrial production, supply simply couldn’t meet demand. Even as supply finally met the challenge, voea v’taera had a few years left of prestige.

As a highlight of the demand craze, one patron ordered an entire ship to be made of voea v’taera. Full uncut sheets were sent to work on the project, from at least a dozen different producers. Because manufacturing wasn’t standardized, constructors had difficult times piecing the sheets together. After a year, though, the ship was complete and sent out on a maiden voyage. The new captain sent the ship southeast into the warmer Strait of Uketya. The warm waters of the sea dissolved the bonds of glue that held the ship together, and warped the sheet wood into a curvy mess. Fortunately for the crew on board, the sheets of wood that made up the hull could become perfectly serviceable life rafts, fitting two or three and even enough supplies to get them ashore. No one died, and they all made it safely to Welkwu. Even the captain stayed alive, since he had no ship with which he could go down. The crew sold the scraps of the ship, which earned them just enough for the voyage home.

Nobody knows exactly why the price of voea v’taera collapsed. In retrospect, it was inevitable. The quality of manufacturing was never standardized or regulated. So many cottage industries rose to meet the demand that supply overcompensated. Buildings and wood products were made just as an excuse to use the excess. The material itself was flimsy, albeit puncture proof, and didn’t carry much intrinsic value. Everyone should have known that the product could not keep its boom going; it was only a matter of time before the price dropped.

Yet for the price to drop so drastically- no one could have predicted a crash of such magnitude, in such a short time. The specific spark that set the wood on fire is still unknown, but everyone stopped buying voea v’taera for a time. Prices dropped drastically. Local farmers and ranchers dropped out of the industry to focus on other ventures, and those who remained sold their stock at roughly a sixth of its previous price. Suppliers were forced to look for other markets.

The merchants of Wlitowa and Tuhra helped to keep the entire industry from extinction. The lumber supplies of their nations were noticeably smaller than before, and prices had risen accordingly. Political turmoil and economic downturn had tightened the budgets of the common citizen immensely. People were looking for material that was cheap and plentiful, for a number of reasons but foremost for housing. Voea v’taera now shared a market with the mighty evergreens of Retrougo and Unterritory, and it came up severely wanting. Keyrit’s hand-me-downs garnered an instant reputation of poor quality worldwide, but it filled a crucial gap and helped to keep roofs over the heads of the poor.

Everyday use

V'taera shares many of the same uses as regular wood. Because v'taera cannot handle the weight of an entire rooftop, vertical beams made from metal or sturdier wood must support it when it is used for walls. Mass housing projects in Wlitowa and Tuhra require it, and it is a popular export for Keyrit. Because most Keyrit architecture is not built above ground, however, v'taera was used historically for oitagter armaments, barricades, small crates, and boxes. It will keep water and the elements away from items enclosed inside it.

Cultural Significance and Usage

As fascinating as its properties are, v'taera has a reputation of being cheap construction material. Buildings that use it are usually replaced as soon as the landlord can afford to do so. Even so, for the local producers of Keyrit, v'taera was responsible for a golden age of wealth and prosperity. The local producers have never forgotten that. Small local towns built sections of their marketplace specifically dedicated to selling items made of the stuff. Back during their boom, some towns commissioned official regalia, such as city flags, crests, and seals. Those emblems are commonly sold on shields made of voea v'taera as souvenirs, not that many travelers stop by and visit.

Even so, the eccentric T'klor Wengti toured the Keyrit countryside to collect as many shields as he could in his lifetime. He was a cobbler by trade, able to make only a meager living. With what savings he had, he took a seasonal trip to a different settlement every year, tasting their cuisine, participating in their festivities, and buying their shields as mementos. By the time his business and funds ran out, he had twenty-one shields in his collection. His son Weteng carried on the tradition to add a further eleven, and they hadn't gotten half the available shields in Keyrit. The adventures of T'klor and Weteng turned the shields into small novelty items, and they're now found all across Keyrit.


When harvested, v'taera is peeled off of its tree. It thus retains the shape and size that it otherwise would have had as part of the tree. Standard usage in manufacturing requires the v'taera to be flat. V'taera can be bent, however, when steam is applied to it. As soon as the lumber comes in from harvesting, it is dipped in water and placed between two heated metal sheets. The sheets are then pressed together via vise, and the v'taera's curves are flattened. The v'taera is then set out to dry in a warehouse for a few days, after which it is ready for further processing.

Often customers want something thicker and less flimsy than a single sheet of v'taera. If this is the case, individual sheets of v'taera are painted with glue, then pressed together with the vise. Because water dilutes the glue, this process is usually done after drying. Most purposes generally don't require a thickness of more than four or five sheets, though v'taera generally will lose cohesion only after ten or twelve sheets.

V'taera is used in all sizes, for purposes ranging from small crates to building walls. Most sheets cannot accommodate these sizes, so they must be artificially cut up and/or spliced together. For the former process, manufacturers outline a rectangle in the wood and outline that rectangle with vinegar. The vinegar cuts through the wood, and an acid-singed rectangle is the result.

To splice v'taera together, two or more sheets are pressed against each other by their edges. The shared line(s) is (are) doused with water and heated up, but not pressed. The v'taera is then doused with a special adhesive, and the wood of the v'taera fuses together. Even still, the fused line will be slightly weaker than the rest of the wood. In the rush to cut costs during mass production, sheets are often pressed together en masse, then cut separately as the customer demands. This aspect of mass production leads to more of these weak lines than a specialized approach.

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