There can be no doubting the beauty of real English timber when it is built into a piece of furniture, or a door. It truly can be a work of art. It may take a little more time and knowledge to use more characterful timber but the beauty of the grain of English hardwoods can really enhance your living space when incorporated into one of Stephen’s pieces.
Stephen works with a variety of timbers to create a wonderful piece of furniture especially for you. Traditionally different woods have had different purposes that utilise their particular characteristics and each can be chosen for their aesthetic qualities to suit a particular taste and setting.
Stephen sources much of his timber locally, sawing windblown trees from on and around the farm. The main timbers used are:
English Oak. Although a little more expensive than European Oak, English Oak is generally more interesting and characterful. Quarter sawn and Burr Oak make especially spectacular table tops
Quarter Sawn Oak. This is a description of the way the oak is sawn into boards, rather than the type of oak. The tree is sawn radially, producing not only a more stable board, but a wonderful and spectacular appearance as the medullary rays, which radiate out from the centre of the tree, burst out onto the cut surface.
Burr Oak. A particular favourite of Stephen’s and regularly used on his table tops.
Roger Deakin, in his book “Wildwood” writes of burr oak:
“The burr is a excrescence of would be buds rising from somewhere inside the tree like a spring. When cut across the grain in a saw mill, as the buds bubble towards the bark of the tree, their turbulence is displayed, with every little eddy and vortex held perfectly still. A burr may arise as a reaction to some itch in the tree, a kind of benign wood tumour. There is an outburst of mad cell division, and elephantiasis sets in. What begins as a disfigurement ends life as an opulent adornment. Cutting the light in a thousand ways in its eyes and prisms, the veneer is a celebration of the tree's pent-up energy in a whirling wood dance."
Cherry. Much finer grain texture than oak and a beautiful pinky orange colour. Present stock includes an unusually large windblown Cherry tree from Molland with a particularly rich colour.
Beech. Quite pale brown/pink in colour with a fine flecked texture. Present stock comes from a local Exmoor farm.
Ash. A lovely timber and a beautiful tree! Usually quite light in colour but can have a much prized darker centre (known as ‘olive’ ash). Again, present stock includes windblown trees from around the farm.
Cedar of Lebanon. A soft wood, very mellow in appearance and texture. Produces a beautiful strong aroma when freshly worked. Available in very wide boards making it particularly suitable for internal doors. Large, attractive knots can be incorporated to produce a very interesting and unique door.
Reclaimed Wood. Where possible, Stephen loves to use reclaimed wood in his work, such as timber from the farm weathered by the Exmoor wind and rain, rubbed by the sheep, worn by the gate hinge.
“I find it really satisfying to use reclaimed wood, and beautiful, too. I love to see the old staple holes in an oak gatepost which may have served on the farm for 50 years and the post is now beginning it’s new life as a table leg on one of my pieces.”
“ Oak is such a wonderful material. First it graces the landscape serving man and creature, providing shade and beauty whilst growing slowly for up to 100 years or more. Then, when the tree falls or is felled, it’s upper branches serve to keep us warm on the open fire during the winter months and the main trunk is converted into timber and made into all manner of useful things. The timber might serve as a gatepost or beam for another 100 years before ending up as a leg on one of my tables. Who knows what it will be doing in another 100 years time?”
Other less common English timbers which Stephen likes to work with include: Acacia, Apple, Birch, Box, Western Red Cedar, Elm, Holly, Hornbeam, Laburnum, Larch, Lime, Field Maple, Mulberry, Pear, Plane, Lacewood, Plum, Poplar, Redwood, Sycamore, English Walnut, and Yew. Advice can be given on appropriate timbers during the consultation process when placing an order.