Sunday, 19 May 2013

A Tale of Two Tables: 2. The Hills Are Alive With the Sound of Chainsaws

I like wood. It may be strange to some, but those who have worked with it will understand. It is a tactile, sensory thing. Some woods assault the nasal passages with their rich oils whilst others caress the skin with their smooth planed surfaces. Some give to the slightest cut whilst others are strong as steel. They can be as pale as snow or brightly coloured like an autumn sky. Grain can provide majestically sweeping flow to surfaces or interrupt the eye like bright stars in the sky. All in all the choice of wood for the table was going to be pretty important for me.

Aesthetics aside I wanted a native wood, one that wasn't costing the earth but was supporting proper forestry. Practically I wanted something tough enough to survive the abuses of family life and come out with character not flaws. Realistically this limited my options a little! To get the durability I desired I would need to look at hardwood species. This narrowed me down to perhaps a dozen options, which I then narrowed down further based on the strength of the wood. There are lots of papers and books discussing and comparing the toughness but I shall leave those for you to find.

This left me with a choice of oak or cherry. We decided on oak for the extra fraction of toughness (as lovely as cherry is). I managed to find a local timber yard who specialised in regionally sourced woods that were based in Wentwood Forest near our home. This forest is being actively managed and slowly turned back into traditional deciduous woodland. The oak isn't quite ready yet so ours came from Powis Castle, 90 miles away. Wentwood Timber were very helpful, cutting and planing all my planks for me. All the photos on this page were taken on their site one sunny April afternoon.










Finally: one car full of oak for the tables.


Previously: 1. Grand Designs

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