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Working with the RSPB to support sustainable woodland management

posted on March 10, 2014

Paul Orsi and Gabriel Hemery (Sylva Foundation) recently met with members of the RSPB Woodland and Reserves team at a small woodland reserve in Buckinghamshire. The wood was bequeathed to the RSPB in the 1950s and is managed by the reserves team based in Otmoor.

Sylva's Paul Orsi meets with members of the RSPB Forestry and Reserves team at a small woodland reserve

Sylva’s Paul Orsi talks with members of the RSPB Forestry and Reserves team in a small woodland reserve

The woodland is primarily managed for biodiversity and access, with active management focussing on the maintenance of an important area of meadow habitat, together with clearance of footpaths and rides.  Discussions during the visit centred on how more active and productive management could improve the woodland for biodiversity as well as bringing in a small amount of income to offset running costs.

There were commonalities in approaches between the two organisations and it was stimulating to see how we were looking at the same challenges and opportunities through different lenses.

The team from the RSPB were interested in looking at how they could collaborate with other woodland owners, in what is a heavily-wooded area, to bring about economies of scale and to achieve landscape scale biodiversity benefits.

We look forward to continuing to work together to help bring more woodlands into management, so that they can thrive both ecologically and economically for the benefit of everyone.


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OneOak throne making part 3

posted on July 10, 2012

In our third installment about the making of the OneOak throne, designer-maker Robert Ingham talks about his creation.

This chair is a combination of design, construction and expression.  The design addresses the issues of function which is explicit in the word ‘chair’. It has to be able to support the weight and movement of the person who is going to sit in it in comfort.

The OneOak throne chair by Robert Ingham

The OneOak throne chair by Robert Ingham

The construction, which is the challenge of putting together the complex components is achieved with the knowledge of years of experience of craftsmanship, and which draws on the tools and processes of the past and the versatility of the progress that has been made in the last fifty years with the introduction of machines that allow the craftsman to remove material to achieve the forms, shapes and practical junctions between components without taking away the hands on and lateral thinking of the craft.

The expression is the visual factor that encourages the eye to engage with the chair and is the result of the designers’ desire to incorporate forms that have inspired them through the myriad of sensations that they have experienced from nature, architecture, drama, music, in fact all the fantastic sensations that the human mind engages.

Laminating the curved uprights

Laminating the curved uprights using a single part mould to hold the 4mm thick laminations in place with cramps while the glue sets. Epoxy resin is the glue was used as it does not contain water and cures chemically resulting in a very strong and stable bond.

Splines (loose tenons) used to join the horizontal projections

Splines (loose tenons) used to join the horizontal projections that will support the seat and provide a structural link to the upright legs and curved rails.

Shaping the flowing curve

Shaping the flowing curve between the horizontal projections and the curved uprights. Removing the bulk of the waste with a bandsaw.

Finishing the curve with a bobbin sander

Finishing the curve with a bobbin sander.

Gluing the arms to the uprights with cam clamps

Gluing the arms to the uprights with cam clamps.

Without the tools and technology, this chair would have been a nightmare to make.  In fact, I would go as far as to say, impossible to make.  The chair is my manifestation of the open minded attitude that technical progress has made available to the craftsmanship of today.
Robert Ingham, July 2012
Category: OneOak project, Wood

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OneOak throne making part 2

posted on May 28, 2012

Designer-maker Robert Ingham has shared with us more photos of his work in creating the OneOak throne chair.

Machining a component of the OneOak throne chair

Robert Ingham machining a component of the OneOak throne chair

Talking about his work Robert said that it was a “Metamorphosis: the progression of an oak tree from Blenheim Palace to a quarter sawn board to the concept of a design and the incredible challenge to convert it into a functional object of beauty.”

Throne chair - some of the finished components

Throne chair by Robert Ingham- some of the finished components

Read more about Robert Ingham’s work in the OneOak project


Category: OneOak project, Wood

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OneOak Throne

posted on March 20, 2012

Another of Britain’s leading designer makers, Robert Ingham, has started work on a piece of furniture using wood from the OneOak tree.

Robert Ingham studies the model of the OneOak Throne

Robert Ingham studies his model of the OneOak Throne

Robert Ingham, based in Denbighshire, is creating a piece called ‘Throne’.  Like all the OneOak pieces, we will be following the story of its creation over the next few months on this blog. Robert will be joining us at our OneOak exhibition at Art in Action in July (read more).

Category: OneOak project, Wood
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Sylva’s CEO to talk at the Chilterns Woodland Conference – 16th March

posted on March 13, 2012

Chilterns Woodland Conference

Friday 16 March 2012 09:30 to 13:00:

The Annual Chiltern Woodlands Conference this year will be looking into the future of forestry in England, the use of Box wood for musical instruments, the OneOak project, current forestry issues and news and much more. With talks from the Forestry Commission, Sylva Foundation and John Morris of the Chiltern Woodlands Project. It’s the annual event for all those with an interest, professional or otherwise, in Chiltern woodlands.

Download the full programme for the event.

The event costs £20 per head to attend. A buffet lunch is being offered afterwards, at an additional cost of £10 per head.

Booking is essential – please send an email to the address below to reserve your place. You can pay the Chilterns Woodland Project on the day.

Price: £20 per person plus an additional £10 for lunch

Location: The Clare Foundation, Saunderton, Bucks HP14 4HU
Organised by: Chiltern Woodlands Project
Phone:            01844 355503
Getting there: Saunderton Station on the Chiltern Railways London to Birmingham line is very nearby.
Contact name: John Morris
Booking essential?: Yes
Category: Announcements

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OneOak timber in the hands of Makers

posted on November 22, 2011

A major milestone was reached in the OneOak project yesterday. The timber was removed from the drying kiln at Deep in Wood sawmill, and the Makers came to collect their boards.

OneOak Makers - November 2011

Some of the OneOak Makers gathered in the timber shop at Deep in Wood

Makers present included Philip Koomen, Derek Elliot, Robert Ingham, Philip Clayden, Simon Clements, Martin Damen, Terry Hardaker, Pathway Workshop, and students from Rycotewood Furniture Centre (Oxford & Cherwell Valley College) led by Chris Hyde and Joseph Bray.

These makers will be working mostly with the main sawn boards from the OneOak tree, and their products will join those already made by other makers from its branchwood and waste products. All Makers will now get underway in making a myriad of wooden objects from the OneOak tree’s timber, in readiness for our major exhibitions from Summer 2012.

Our huge thanks to James Binning and team at Deep in Wood for hosting the event and for their generous support of the  OneOak project over the last two years.


Category: OneOak project, Wood

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OneOak 2010 prize winners

posted on October 8, 2010

The winners of our 2010 OneOak competition visited the Blenheim woodland today to receive their prizes.

OneOak 2010 prize winners

OneOak 2010 prize winners Jordan Le Roux and Cherie Ellis, with Martin Damen (left) and Nick Gibbs (right)

Would you know how much a whole oak tree weighs?  Over the summer the Sylva Foundation invited people to guess the weight of a massive oak tree, the OneOak tree felled in January this year, as part of their OneOak education project.

OneOak prizes

The prizes carved from the OneOak wood by Martin Damen

The OneOak tree was weighed by a team of scientists from Forest Research immediately after it was felled.  It took a team of six people from the Government research agency two days to weigh every stem, branch and twig.  The total weight (excluding roots) of the OneOak tree was 14.385 tonnes (14,385 kg).

The winning entry, just 277 kg away from the correct answer, was by amateur tree enthusiast Cherie Ellis from Buckinghamshire.  In second place was Tomas Thuresson, a forest scientist from Sweden.  Third place went to local school pupil Jordan Le Roux.

Today, the winners visited the woodland on the Blenheim Estate where the tree had once stood, to be presented with beautiful hand-carved wooden items made from the OneOak tree by local craftsman Martin Damen.  They were also presented with a year’s subscription to Living Woods magazine by Editor Nick Gibbs.

Category: News, OneOak project

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