Oak Timber Explained
Here at Oak and Personal we care enormously about the environment. We are not exactly “tree huggers” in the literal sense but we do adopt the ethos of treehugger.com as far is practically possible. We ensure that every wooden chopping board, every wooden wall clock, every wooden door stop, and every other wooden gift we make is created from English or European oak from FSC or PEFC certified sustainable sources.
Where possible the oak will be sourced locally from woodland in West Sussex and other nearby locations. Sources of English oak are dwindling, and such timber does attract a premium price. We are therefore often forced to purchase timber grown further afield. This is usually from sustainable northern French forests, with the logs being processed at a wood mill here in West Sussex. Unlike some companies, we try to minimise our carbon footprint so do not source timber from America (USA or South America).
No matter how careful we are with the raw material of finest A grade oak, there will inevitably be some wastage. We do our best to ensure that this wastage does not go to waste! Saw dust and shavings are collected for recycling into fire wood pellets – all done in West Sussex to minimise our carbon foorprint. Larger off-cuts of timber for which we have no further use are bagged-up and given to more senior members of our local village for their wood burning stoves.
The Character of Oak
Oak is a natural material and the item that we craft for you will have its own unique grain characteristics and may not always have uniform colour.
Below we set out a brief explanation and example images of the various prime cuts of timber that affect the finish of our products. Please also browse the product pages within this site to see further examples of the timber we use.
There are two main methods of timber sawing – crown sawn and quarter sawn – each produces a distinct grain pattern, the latter providing highly distinctive medullary rays (see below). There are other cuts but these are variations on the two main methods. Our timber is supplied in quantities of every conceivable cut and grain pattern.
The Construction of our Wooden Gifts
All our wooden gifts are hand made from the finest A grade prime oak. Our smaller wooden chopping boards and cheese boards may be made from a single piece of timber where stability within the timber is assured. Other wooden gifts such as coasters, wine racks, tea light holders, shelves and book ends are also made in this way from a single piece of finest oak.
Larger wooden chopping boards, carving boards and bread boards, and any of our items that would require a width of timber that could readily result in cracks and warping, are made from between 3 and 5 pieces (staves) of timber, butt-jointed and glued together, with the individual staves of oak being chosen to produce an interesting but cohesive finish. This reduces the risk of introducing instabilities to the product, and ensure a long and useful life for each beautiful item.