They came, they re-sawed, they conquered… the V&A

Jan 12, 2012 | cladding timber, english hardwoods, fresh sawn timber, kiln dried timber, round timber, structural timber, woodland products

I’m obviously still getting over the loss of the re-saw…

 terunobu fujimori teahouse black charred wood at the v and a terunobu fujimori teahouse black charred wood at the v and a detail terunobu fujimori teahouse black charred wood at the v and a close of charring

I’ve been looking back at it’s usefulness over the years I realise we only really fired it up for all the really awkward jobs like timber that was too small for the Stenner bandsaw, or too big for the Wadkin straight line edger or when someone needed some featheredge cladding at the last minute..  or anything  that it wasn’t physically possible to do with a chainsaw.

It was good (and I use this term loosely) for re-sawing air dried Oak beams, or for square edging the unwieldy 100mm or 120mm French waney edge Oak boards..  or for any other unusual job that no other machine could handle… like the quartering of a Sweet Chestnut log for an art project at the V&A!

When the V&A Museum* invited architect Terunobu Fujimori to take part in an exhibition in the summer of 2010 he chose to create a small timber teahouse in a courtyard space using his trademark charring method to treat the timber and he chose native Sweet Chestnut to work with to make the structure.

MDM Props, who are experts at constructing this type of installation, got in touch to see if we could help with the timber. They came down to the sawmill bringing Mr Fujimori and he selected the Sweet Chestnut log he liked from a selection we had in the yard.

Then Philip and Graham obligingly quartered the log which was to the ‘legs’ for the teahouse that you see above.

If only it were that simple.

The good old re-saw certainly made hard work of it.

Our guys had to lift the log by hand – a log that was a good 500mm diameter and at least 4.0m long and it wasn’t straight or round… of course – and get it up onto the sawbed and hold it in position so it would cut where Mr Fujimori had marked it up.

This was easier said than done I can assure you…  those poor guys, they really struggled… a light perspiration was raised and tempers were frayed… arms were pulled from sockets but they held it together, literally… and four quarters of English Sweet Chestnut were sawn. Amazingly Philip and Graham are still talking to each other !

Best of all, the architect was very happy…  there just aren’t that many places you can go these days to select your own log and have it sawn up on the spot ! we’re are so glad to be one of those places… it definitely makes our work more rewarding.

I would say we will all have fond memories of that old re-saw but I think ‘fond’ will be stretching the definition of the word… but as seen here in this beautiful little building… at least it was good for something !

There is some footage showing the method of charring of the timber which is very interesting… I want to have a go here at the sawmill – be nice on the outside of our office I think – but no-one will let me have a go…  I cannot for the life of me think why…

For more about Sweet Chestnut and other timbers search our stock

Terunobu Fujimori teahouse