Welcome to our third blog from Touchwood Craft!
This month, we thought we would tell you all about the journey made by some of the timber we use. We would like to describe the journey it takes from growing in a forest to arriving in our workshop.
Many of us take for granted a lovely piece of wooden furniture, for example. We love the feel, texture and the look of the grain as every piece of wood is unique. Yet have you ever wondered what happens before it reaches our workshop where we can turn timber into a table or a mud kitchen?
Here at Touchwood Craft, our timber is sustainably sourced which means it comes from a company that takes into consideration the long-term well-being of the wood or forest the timber is taken from.
When a tree or trees are felled, sustainable harvesting encourages timber regeneration and is done so in an environmentally friendly way. Timber that is felled responsibly should also be fully tracible, from forest to home.
We all know that trees are the lungs of our earth. They take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the atmosphere, helping keep our air clean and breathable.
But did you know that some trees, when they reach maturity, the rate at which they can take in CO2 really slows down. In some circumstances, when trees reach this point, they are felled and used in construction, as timber of all types has been used in construction for many years.
Also, for hardwoods, such as mahogany, it is crucial that reputable companies are used as these magnificent trees need to reach 100-years-of-age or even older before they can be logged or felled. This is longer than most human lifespans and gives us an idea of how long these types of trees take to grow and reach maturity.
Softwoods, such as pine, can be grown at a more rapid rate and therefore meets demand more quickly.
However, the process for growing and felling trees can often be a lengthy one and should always be done in an environmentally conscious way.
As we described above, it does depend on the type of wood as to when it is cut down. Cutting down, or felling, usually happens in winter. This is because trees contain less moisture – in the summer, they can have up to 50% water content.
Trained tree fellers will use special equipment to fell the correct trees and it should never be attempted by anyone but a trained feller or tree surgeon.
Once a tree has been felled, in many cases, a sapling is planted in its place. This means a very young tree replaces the cut down one, and the whole process begins again. This sapling will then grow and be used by future generations.
The next stage is storage. If you head up to Raincliffe Woods or similar places you will see the cut down tree trunks stored usually in a clearing and they are stored on top of one another until they make their way to the sawmill.
Storing them also means some of the moisture can evaporate, reducing the weight of the logs.
The logs are cut into smaller chunks, picked up by a timber lorry and then taken to a processing location such as a sawmill, papermill or similar.
In most cases the bark is removed, and the timber is cut into required lengths, called bucking. Depending on what the wood is going to be used for, the pieces are sometimes cut into boards and the timber goes through several stages of sawing processes, collectively known as primary processing.
Wood that is used for furniture making and for other uses also needs to be seasoned. This means removing the excess water or moisture content and is also a process used for timber for log burners. This process is crucial as it prevents the wood from warping. Any wood that’s not been seasoned is called green wood and is very difficult to work with.
By now, our timber isn’t too far away from our workshop! As we order our timber, our pieces of wood have already on quite a journey. The timber now reaches the secondary processing stage which means it is ready to be made into a product.
At this stage, fire and rot resistance is also added and here at Touchwood Craft, we love to see the timber arrive as we know it has finally reached its workshop destination!
While many of us are careful about the impact we’re having on our planet, when you order a piece of furniture or an item from us, remember:
Timber products are biodegradable. Wood can be recycled. Timber can be carbon neutral if carefully sourced. Wood can be repaired or renovated, increasing its lifespan. Cut-offs, shavings and other elements can be used for wood-burners, donated to activity groups, and even used for bedding for livestock.
Here at Touchwood Craft, we work with wood and we give it the utmost respect as we understand the complex journey it has taken.
The timber we use then undergoes a transition and is carefully and skilfully assessed and crafted into a product or piece of furniture that then ‘lives’ in a person’s home, hopefully for many years to come. We help create an item that can be enjoyed by a family for generations to come, so the timber continues its journey in someone’s living room, kitchen or even in their garden.
We take our timber usage very seriously here at Touchwood Craft. If we have any offcuts, we make sure they are reused or recycled wherever possible. We try not to use screws or nails in our products and when we come up with our product ideas, we try to think about the usage it will have going forward.
We do hope you’ve enjoyed this blog as we wanted to share with you what happens to the wood we use before it reaches our workshop. It is a fascinating journey!
Until next time …