Materials for Our British Made Furniture
English and European Oak Timber
Tudor Oak has been buying its own oak timber logs directly from the English and European forests at the point of felling, for over 30 years. We get involved in this process so that we can choose exactly the right type of log we need for our British made furniture and joinery.
The selected oak timber is then transported to our timber yard to be dried. The logs are then taken to a woodmill for cutting to required thickness and size and returned to our timber yards for air-drying, then kiln-drying. Air-drying takes roughly 1 year per 25mm of thickness before it is ready to go in our special kilns to be kiln-dried to 10-12% moisture. This is a less intensive and a more natural process. So it takes longer, but it adds to the quality of the finished product.
Oak Timber Grades
Oak timber comes in a number of grades, depending on the requirement – for example, for joinery, such as windows and doors, we use clean and straight oak, because it needs to sustain its shape despite being exposed to the elements, such as rain, sunshine and so on. Timber used to make furniture is mostly graded on its visual qualities.
The whole production process right from the start is done on an individual basis. That’s why the selection of wood is extremely important to us here at Tudor Oak. Our customers are the true connoisseurs of fine oak timber and they appreciate the level of attention that is paid to each step of the process – our knowledgeable and passionate craftsmen individually select specific cuts of timber for each piece (and can take many hours), making sure that the beauty of the wood is displayed in its full splendour.
We use the natural character of oak. Our British made furniture often features epicormic oak – pippy oak, burr and flame nature’s own – “designs” which make each piece truly unique.
The scientific name for “pip” is epicormic growth; this is a genetic factor of a tree and should not be confused with a knot produced by a growing branch. This type of growth can carry on through generations of oak – like our eye colour or freckles.
Burr oak, which is when the epicormic growth had taken over the growth of the tree and can be seen all over it. It is a rare feature, which commands a premium price in a finished piece.
Flame panels are also often referred to as “curl”, and they look like a flickering flame. It occurs when a tree branches into two – this is where, when the tree is cut, the grain pattern has amazing swirls or “flame”. Tudor Oak craftsmen use it for decorative display panels as solid wood. Sometimes we split it and “book-match” it, so one piece is the mirror image of the other. It can then be veneered onto the quarter sawn oak, which is very stable. Although rare, it is possible to find two planks, which can be split into two each resulting in a pair of beautiful doors with a pattern which looks like a peacock’s opened tail.
A piece of oak furniture displaying such a design is truly unique. It is guaranteed to become a talking point of the house, a real feature. It takes real skill and knowledge to uncover this hidden treasure inside a tree and to bring it out in the finished piece. Very few people in this country have this skill. We at Tudor Oak are fortunate to work with such people, to be able to offer our customers their expertise and knowledge. Many of our customers request burr, pip or flame oak as a special feature on their pieces of furniture. It looks particularly beautiful on a tabletop or on a cabinet or wardrobe doors.
At every stage of the production process, we combine expertise, innovation and care for the environment. We are proud to produce 100% British made furniture. We manufacture it from sustainable timber, air-seasoned and then kiln-dried on the premises. Our production process is virtually waste-free, as all the leftover timber is used for firewood, organic farming and in food processing, for smoking fish and meats.