In more than 40 years of log buying, sawmilling & husbandry we’ve come to understand that wood is an emotive material. The way we feel about wood is woven into and borne out of a living history of the British forestry & timber industry. This history is our cultural heritage and as such we treasure it and seek to strengthen, deepen and celebrate it, all for the sake of the glorious material humbly known as ‘wood’.
Here is a brief insight into us, our work and our wood…
We’re a company that has evolved over 80 years with roots in the WWII war effort, cutting blanks for Lee Enflied rifle butts. We’re still based on the original Beech sawmill site, working in the footsteps of our forbears. Today, our customers are more varied but the way we cut and care for our wood is remarkably similar to that of our 1940’s predecessors.
Wood begins in our woodlands, as trees in the care of foresters employed by owners acting in their role as stewards of a landscape. Active management of woodland is the lifeblood of British forestry and is necessary for healthy trees and biodiverse environments. There is no wood without woodland management. We work closely with forestry professionals to source our logs and we actively support Grown in Britain certfication for British woodlands & timber.
Our combined wood knowledge amounts to a couple of centuries of learning all-told, with some of us verging on the half century alone. Although we’ve each been down various avenues of study in our time from silviculture to pathology, woodworking to architecture we’re attuned to hands on experience as a teacher. In addition ,every one of us has had the benefit of time spent with our elders and betters. We listen to their thoughts on the subject, question and test and weave the results into our collective knowledge. Wood is definitely a science, not a trade, and we are it’s perpetual students.
It’s important to remember that trees come first. Trees are a keystone to our delicate ecosystem and to our survival as human beings. We believe felling trees should always be part of a long term plan to manage the silvicultural health of a woodland and (although we might understand the temptation,) not the health of an owner’s bank balance. It goes without saying that where our wood comes from is important to us. We believe in direct relationships with foresters, we like to know the woodland or estate where our logs are sourced, to know the climate, the soil, that the woodland is under ongoing management and that the trees are felled under license. Beyond that we aim to source remarkable trees that have led extraordinary lives and to bring them gently into their next incarnation as wood. We pass this provenance on to you.
From the moment the tree is cut and the log is created the care taken at each stage of processing leaves it’s mark on the wood. All points of conversion, drying, storing, handling, selecting and machining require fastidious efforts of care to bring forth excellent quality wood. It’s true that no two pieces of wood are the same, nature has determined this, and in that difference lies the need for an attention to detail, a deep knowledge, a robust methodology and a great deal of patience. Our hardwoods take a year or more per inch of traditional, natural seasoning in the outdoors to reach the point at which they can be kilned. The result is a mellow seasoning that allows the wood to stabilise and settle into it’s new form.
The truth is, we feel that there are some trees and some timbers which shouldn’t left to fall into ‘the run of the mill’ (for want of a better expression). We believe that a tree that has grown for 300 years, beginning it’s life in the last days of the Restoration before the King George I, deserves some careful consideration and a big dose of biased treatment.
And so, the reserve is our repository for wood with provenance, with a story to tell of it’s life before the fall. It is already becoming a very special collection of boards, some that have been selected over recent years, some that are freshly cut for the purpose and are currently drying in boules. We’re thrilled to be able to present them to you here and we hope that they will live on long after us, carrying their provenance with them.