Where our wood comes from
Did you know that over 90% of hardwoods used in the UK are imported? We are on a mission to change that. We offer our clients a carefully-considered choice of responsibly-sourced timber with the lowest carbon footprint possible. By favouring reclaimed, sustainable, and locally-sourced timber, we can repurpose waste into something beautifully new, and reduce the travel miles between where the tree was grown, and where it finds its home.
When possible, we use reclaimed timber donated by our material partners across London. This minimises our carbon footprint, and often comes with a great history too. We’ve worked with maple flooring from the Science Museum and teak lab benches from Imperial College London.
5,000 mature trees are felled every year in London due to weather, urban development or disease. Most of these are chipped and burned. We put this wood to good use by giving it a new life as furniture. This saves the tree from being wasted, sequesters carbon, and reduces the need to cut down forests.
Grown in Britain
We also source wood from responsibly-managed British woodlands, who have best-in-class sustainability credentials. Timber that is certified as Grown in Britain is guaranteed to have been grown sustainably with local provenance. Using this wood reduces unnecessary imports, encouraging the sustainable management of our own forests.
FSC and PEFC Certified
If our local supply can't meet a project's needs, from time to time we use FSC or PEFC certified wood from overseas. This timber has been grown in woodlands that are sustainably managed and environmentally responsible. FSC’s global standards support biodiversity protection and zero deforestation all over the world, whereas PEFC makes sustainable certification possible for smaller forest owners.
Wood and wellness
Wood is good. We may instinctively know this, but it’s been scientifically proven, too. Touching wood reduces stress, and studies conducted in Japan and Norway have shown that being surrounded by wood — even in our homes — has a positive impact on our wellbeing, enhancing our connection to the natural world.
The native ash is among the most common trees in the UK, though its prevalence is threatened by the continued spread of Ash Dieback. It’s one of the toughest hardwoods, absorbing shocks without splintering, and has a pronounced, straight grain. Its durability and light brown hue makes it a great choice for contemporary furniture.
Native to south-east England and Wales, beech is known as the queen of British trees. Found in almost every household’s kitchen drawers, this dense timber is commonly used to make wooden spoons and other cooking utensils. It has excellent bending capabilities, a fine, straight grain, and a pale straw tone, with hues of brown and pink.
Cherry trees are native to Britain and can be found throughout most of the country. A fruit-bearing tree, cherry boasts dense, slow-growing timber, making it ideal for woodworking. Its distinctive pale reddish-brown timber has a natural, warm lustre with a fine, straight grain that has long been a popular choice for decorative veneers and furniture.
This North American evergreen was brought to the UK in 1827 by the Scottish botanist David Douglas. Its straight-grained timber has a beautiful, red-brown hue. Our artisans love to bring out the best in this softwood with a hand-planed finish, sanding away the softer summer rings to bring the tree’s distinctive winter rings to the surface.
First introduced to the UK by Bronze Age farmers, the English elm once dominated the landscape, but is now more commonly found nestled amongst hedgerows and woodlands. With a beautiful, wavy grain that is full of character, Elm is often used for fine cabinetry.
Native to southern Britain, today hornbeam is commonly planted across the UK. Boasting the hardest timber of any tree found in Europe, the mighty Hornbeam has traditionally been used to craft tools, and was even used to make Roman chariots. Although a tough timber to work with, its pale, almost white timber is particularly beautiful to hand-turn.
London’s most common tree is in fact a hybrid species which was first planted in the city in the late 18th century. A cross between the Oriental plane and the American sycamore, London Plane has become an icon of the city, beautifully lining its streets, parks and squares. Its timber has a rich, golden hue and a unique, flecked grain pattern, making London Plane a popular choice for furniture and carvings.
The English Oak is so ubiquitous it has become a national symbol. A native tree that is especially common in deciduous woods in southern and central Britain, Oak produces one of the most durable timbers that has traditionally been used in carpentry and construction, and even to build Admiral Nelson’s fleet. A classic choice for furniture, Oak has an attractive light, sometimes olive-tinged colour, with a straight grain.
Once believed to have been brought to the UK by the Romans, it is now thought that Sweet Chestnut is a far more recent introduction. Today it is famous for its shiny brown fruits, commonly found throughout the UK in woods and copses. Similar in colour to oak, its timber is straight-grained and coarse in texture, often used in carpentry and wood veneers.
First introduced to the UK in the Tudor era, sycamore has been widely planted across the UK since the 1700s. Well known for its ‘helicopter’ winged seeds, its timber is treasured for its delicate, pale-lustred colouring and its fine grain. Our makers are especially fond of Sycamore’s beautiful ray flakes, which give the timber a distinctive, flecked appearance.
Walnut was first introduced to the UK by the Romans. Today it has naturalised in lowland Britain, and is widely planted for its timber. Versatile and easy to work with, Walnut is one of the best woods to use when carving. With a fine grain and distinct colours, ranging from pale brown to rich chocolate tones, Walnut continues to be a luxurious choice for furniture and interiors.
A native evergreen, Yew is the UK’s longest-living species. Ancient Yew trees dating back thousands of years can be found across Britain, especially in old churchyards, and hedging in southern England. A strong and durable softwood, Yew’s timber has a straight grain with a fine, uniform texture, and can sometimes bear a violet hue.
When creating upholstered pieces we work with partners such as Naturalmat to create pieces with natural, sustainable materials that feel great, too. Handmade in Devon with natural fibres, Naturalmat’s chemical and synthetic-free upholstery is good for both your health and the environment.
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