Arts + Crafts

Ancient Oak Uncovered

Ancient Oak.

Buried, untouched and starved of oxygen for thousands of years.

Silently in the darkness, gradually working upwards, as its blanket of earth is shifted.

Nurtured. Cradled.

Brought back to life in a new form, carefully revealing the rich alluring tones that have taken a millennium to develop.

Earlier this year, we heard that some trees had been brought to light, excavated by a farmer when ploughing his fields in Cartmel, Cumbria. We discovered that these lumps of wood, black as coal, were bog oak. Rare in quality and quantity, we leapt at the opportunity to procure whatever we could.

Although the name is descriptive, it perhaps does not reveal all about this material. Bog oak occurs when oak trees fall into boggy land and are consumed by the bogs. Trapped under stagnant water and mud, there is very little oxygen to encourage decomposition. And so these trees have lain there, undisturbed for thousands of years, stained by the tannins dissolved in its acidic prison, and blackened during the long slow process towards fossilisation.

Due to the obvious issues with producing and finding bog oak, it is a rare material that will become more scarce as land is farmed or built on. We are very excited to share with you our exploration of bog oak, and reveal these rarities that capture so vividly their process of life and endurance through time.

Thousand Year Knot

Hollowed out to reveal the curves of its natural form, the ancient bark, weathered and rough, has healed and grown around where a branch once sprouted. In contrast to the exterior, the inside has been highly burnished to a magnificent shine. The whole exhibits the timber’s rich textures and colours – from the subtle browns of swirling grain to deep blacks as dark as night.


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River of Gold

Cracked and warped heartwood is not our usual choice of timber, but we couldn’t resist exploring this particular piece of black bog oak. Again following the natural lines of this tree buttress, Ian has carved and shaped its form into something extraordinary. Inspired by its age and history, we wanted to make a feature of the rarity of this material. The river of gold seemed a fitting complement to the almost fossilised state of this ancient wood.

Find out more about our Fine Furniture Workshop

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