We source our oak from an ancient woodland that we also manage, a few miles downstream from our workshop, on the banks of the River Tay. Our cool damp weather grows strong warm dark honey coloured timber full of wonderful character. The species is Quercus robur – the native oak of the UK. Be aware that ‘oak’ is a loose term like ‘beef’ and most ‘oak’ furniture available in the UK is not our native species.
The oak trees in our wood are well over a hundred years old and were coppiced for their tannin until the First World War. The tannin was used to ‘tan’ leather in the leather industry. The trees are now over-crowded and we carefully select a few trees each year for felling bringing beneficial light into the woodland. We mill these on-site as part of a sustainable woodland management plan. The management is resulting in a wonderful cycle of improvement. We created paths and opened our woodland to other people to walk dogs, run and play. This in turn has reduced the number of deer who were preventing young trees to become established and natural regeneration is occuring. Native trees are essential to our native animals, birds, insects and plants and well managed woodlands are incredibly rich in bio-diversity. They are also beautiful therapeutic places, full of life, for people to enjoy.
Scotland has the perfect climate for growing trees but for most of the last century native woodlands have been neglected and softwood plantations producing low quality processed products has been the norm. Being actively involved in our ancient mixed woodland is a great source of inspiration and the small section green wood it provides has driven our use of steam-bending for furniture making.
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