We endeavour to use locally grown, sustainable English Oak and English Ash wherever possible. This not only keeps delivery distances to a minimum but also helps to ensure that our local woodlands continue to be managed and well looked after.
We have sourced ash timber from The Garnons Estate, near Hereford, and ash and English oak from Guys Estate, part of the Duchy Of Cornwall Woodlands, near Hereford (all within 15 miles of the workshop).
Tree trunks are carefully selected, planked, then air and kiln dried on the premises, thus maintaining quality control throughout the whole process; from the growing tree, to your finished four poster bed.
Producing our own dried timber allows us to keep a close eye on quality control throughout the whole process. Our craftsmen can select wood for your furniture from a comprehensive stock of timber built up over the years from local sources.
Furniture made from exotic timbers, including American Black Walnut, West African mahogany, etc., also come from sustainable forests.
We have worked with The Marches Woodland Initiative (MWI) to locally source timber without losing product quality. The MWI encouraged (with funding) the local reclamation and regeneration of many local woodlands and their management.
Stephen is now an experienced mill operator using a Wood-Mizer sawmill, turning the English Oak trunks into planks. Each one is carefully sawn to maximise the quality and beauty of the wood, as decades of growth are revealed with each pass of the saw.
Wood-Mizer sawmills are renowned for minimal waste of valuable timber. The slab wood from the outside of the tree, unsuitable for furniture making, is sold locally as firewood after being left to air dry for a couple of years. People are returning to using wood as a heat source through winter months as oil is not only getting more expensive but also an unpopular non-renewable energy source.
Air Drying Timber
Boards are placed in a stack, with sticks between them to allow air to circulate through the boards and dry them out slowly. This is done until they are as dry allowing the air to flow through them.
Air drying is as green as wood drying can be, and in Britain will bring the moisture content down to about 15-18%.
Kiln Drying Timber
Air drying will not dry the wood sufficiently for use in furniture placed in your house, especially if it is in a dry centrally heated home.
The use of a simple dehumidifying kiln will take the moisture content of the timber down to a satisfactory level, before it is used to make your furniture. If properly air dried, kiln drying will only take two weeks, keeping electricity usage to a minimum. Boards are placed in a stack with sticks between them. This allows the air to circulate through the boards and dry them out slowly. This process is complete when they are as dry the air flowing through them.
Once the wood has reached the desired moisture content, about 12%, it can be cooled down slowly, to avoid putting stresses in the planks. It is then ready to be machined to make your four poster bed and furniture.
A Dehumidifying Kiln
A dehumidifying kiln is an extremely well insulated box, where heat can be introduced to help the excess moisture to come to the surface of the board. Moisture can then be extracted from the air within the kiln, using a refrigeration unit and timer.
Although these low energy kilns do run on electricity, once up to temperature, they do not need additional heat, as the heat from the refrigeration unit keeps the kiln at optimum temperature. We used 4″ polystyrene insulation that was heading for a landfill site to make these kilns, and the suppliers of the kiln kits (Arrowsmith’s) tell us that the boxes are the most efficient built so far.