Ashtead Common Oak
We were very excited about the delivery of beautiful oak from Ashtead Common this week.
Last year, I was approached by Ashtead Common (the City of London Corporation); Shaun, the Senior Ranger visited the Workshop to discuss the commissioning of a Keepsake Box for Penny, one of their volunteer rangers, for her many years of service to the conservation of Ashtead Common. The box was to be made from oak of the Common, a byproduct of the conservation work done there.
During our discussions on the particulars of the commission, Shaun gave me more of a background of the conservation works done by his team. This piqued my curiosity, which lead to a visit to the common by the professional course trainees and myself. Shaun kindly gave us a guided tour around the Common. He explained the different types of habitat that had been reinstated, which had brought back a multitude of birdlife, insects, as well as other flora and fauna. Some of these had been missing of the area for many decades.
It is such a beautiful and tranquil place! I would have never guessed that this little oasis is right next to busy city life. A sanctuary, which especially in times like these, I think is immensely important for our wellbeing.
One of the aspects of the conservation work involves the felling of a small number of trees. Only a handful of such are fit for milling, while most are used for projects around the common. Never one to miss an opportunity to barter, I put a proposal forward and we came to an arrangement which included a couple of Ashtead Common oak butts.
A year and a half, one baby, and one pandemic later, Shaun got back in touch with me to say that the sawyer was coming to mill some oak.
Two things I take great enjoyment from: delivering a completed project to a client, especially seeing their response on their face; and secondly, a timber delivery!
So you can imagine I was like a child in a sweet shop, when Shaun arrived at the Workshop with the milled oak. Accompanied by Penny, who had received the commissioned box last year. It was very nice for me to meet her in person and her feedback on her keepsake box. So all in all, a very happy day in the Workshop.
If you want to find out more about what the great conservation work done by the rangers do there, you can find further information here.
The oak was milled into 50mm / 2 inch through and through slabs and will now go into stick to start the seasoning process. The question now remains: what piece of furniture will do this oak justice? We’re thinking chairs....any thoughts?