Today we reached a major milestone in the OneOak project as the OneOak tree was sawn at Deep in Wood sawmill.
Owner and sawmiller James Binning invited some of the future users of the wood to watch the sawing. Guests included Joe Bray and 13 students from Rycotewood Furniture Centre, green wood furniture designer-maker Rodas Irving, timber framer Norman Guiver, and Chris Mills from Upton Smokery. The foresters from Blenheim also came to watch their tree being milled.
Our main advisor in the wood aspect of the project, Philip Koomen, was on hand to advise on how best to cut each of the tree’s three timber sections. We all waited anxiously as the first 4.5m long section was cut into for the first time. It is never possible to know how good the timber in a tree will be until it is sawn. It could be that after 160 years of growing in the woodland at Blenheim, and a year of planning in our project, that the timber may have been of poor quality!
We were delighted and relieved that, as board by board was sliced off the giant logs by the super powerful bandsaw, the quality of the boards was excellent. In the trade they would be called “low grade character timber“. Expert Philip Koomen was surprised by the quantity of usuable timber and delighted by some of the figuring and colouring in the boards. For many of the potential uses of the tree this will help in bringing extra value and beauty to the objects.
Now begins a patient waiting game. The boards were put back together one by one to reform the log with sticks in between. They will now be kept this way and allowed to air dry. The usual rule of thumb is one year for every one inch (26mm) of board thickness. We will need to wait until 2012 for the larger boards to air dry, although the thinner boards will be ready for use in 2011. Other boards will be used sooner still – by green wood workers – and we look forward to seeing our first manufactured products later this year.