We asked Tom ‘what’s so special about Oak wood anyway?’ Here’s what he said…
The very word ‘Oak’ speaks to us of strength and durability, both as a tree and as a timber.
As Tom says, Oak wood is has been an instrument in our collective national culture. It has literally enabled the trade and travel that built and defended an empire.
The ability to transport people and goods on both land and sea meant that over centuries, continents were crossed, a world was discovered, and with that of course, more plants and timbers too.
Which Oak is our Oak?
Oaks are found all over the world with hundreds of sub species adapted to the particular climate and terrain.
In Britain and Europe, there are two principal species, the Quercus robur or pedunculate Oak, and Quercus petrea, which is sessile Oak.
Most British Oak is pedunculate. Throughout Europe, most of it is sessile. Both variants can be pollenated by each other and in that way there can be a mixture or hybrid with qualities from both.
As a raw material this species is preeminent in structural and internal use.
It’s incredible to think that the Oak wood you use today comes from trees that were grown two hundred, three hundred or perhaps – if it’s large, wide, waney edge boards – even four or five hundred years ago whilst our ancestors were carving out those very trade routes and forging an Empire.
This is the wonder of wood and the power of the Oak, both the tree and it’s timber.
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