Wood Knowledge: The Pips in Pippy Oak

Apr 22, 2022 | English Hardwoods, Furniture Timber, Wood Knowledge

We asked Tom where the the pips in Pippy Oak come from, here’s what he told us…


English Pippy Oak has been one of our specialist hardwood timbers for as long as we’ve been sawing logs.

There’s a very particular quality about it that’s not common to all tree and wood species. It’s the tiny pin knots in Oak wood, often found in clusters, usually not very far underneath the bark line and sometimes, much deeper into the tree.

Tom, our MD and chartered forest manager, explains how, being such long lived trees, Oaks use these knots as a way of adapting to be able withstand substantial climatic change.


When an Oak tree suffers damage

In the event of substantial damage to the crown or to major branches the tree would be especially vulnerable. If a tree is without leaves, or enough of a canopy, the life force of the tree isn’t being served, photosynthesis can’t take place and it can’t generate energy and over time it would die.


The Oak tree’s natural survival mechanism

So just underneath the bark of an Oak tree are literally hundreds of dormant buds – the potential for shoots which are the beginning of new branches and leaves – biding their time and ready to activate in case of significant damage.

These buds gradually become incorporated into the main body of the trunk as the Oak grows, and this natural survival mechanism produces what we see in our Oak wood as natural, character features.


Oak timber grades and characteristics

Despite the wealth of understanding in forestry, as living, breathing, autonomous nature of course not of every tree grows as foresters and woodland stewards expect. Trees are responding to the many variables in their make up and their environments which contribute to the enormous range of character features that we see.

In Oak this could be the occasional pin knots found across an otherwise straight grain pattern, to fully fledged groups or clusters of tiny knots known as cats paw or Pippy Oak, right up to completely burred trees producing planks without any straight grain whatsoever which is appreciated for it’s intense beauty and rarity.

We value and cherish all these natural characteristics and stock a whole ranges of Oak boards across each of these grades to serve furniture makers and joinery companies.

If you’d like to see some Oak stock or find out more about Oak and grades try some of the links below.



Read more about Oak

Find out more about the timber grades we’ve been talking about

Watch more videos on Oak grades

Search our Oak stock for pippy and burry boards



the stock team measuring up beautiful english pippy oak as upload infromation to the online stock system lo a lovely selection of scottish pippy oak to be cut sq a close up of pippy knot clusters starting to form burrs in boards from oak trees grown on the floors estate pippy oak logs to stick PIppy Oak logs, identified by the knotted clusters, felled and waiting for sawmilling exceptional quality big Oak planks from trees grown on the Floors Estate