Makers furniture designs are totally inspired by the wonderful construction of the old oak frame farm buildings and barns that surround us here in the Loire Valley. We use only locally sourced French oak in all our bespoke handmade furniture .
We used to work almost exclusively in reclaimed oak. These days we work almost entirely in sustainable oak. Our supply of reclaimed oak was becoming unpredictable and scarce. So making the switch to newer oak seemed like the obvious thing to do. We now have an amazing supply of air-dried sustainable oak from a local French family owned sawmill just 20 minutes away.
We endeavour to select pieces of sustainable oak for our furniture that contains as much character as reclaimed oak. All our French oak originates from sustainable forests. In fact, every tree that arrives at our wood yard is still carefully numbered and recorded by hand in the wood yard record book. Consequently, the provenance of our oak is completely guaranteed.
And in the spirit of sustainability, we use some of our sawdust on our garden and donate to many others. A local cooking school has used our sawdust to smoke fish and meat. Our off cuts are made into smaller items or burned to keep us warm in the winter – nothing is wasted.
When we use reclaimed oak, it comes from French oak beams that have been salvaged from old agricultural buildings. These buildings have inevitably outgrown their present use. When in supply, we love to save these old hunks of oak and turn them into something beautiful and useful again.
The characteristics of French Oak
The natural characteristics of sustainable and reclaimed oak (grain patterns, knots, variations in colouring etc.) are not considered to be faults. They are part of the unpredictable beauty of nature. We often use these characteristics to effect in our furniture making. This feature is most noteworthy on our bespoke dining tables which may contain cracking on the legs. The effect can be utterly striking and one we wouldn’t be without.
Why is our oak sustainable?
The sawmills of France produce a lot of the worlds oak timber. An ever increasing percentage of this oak is coming from sustainable managed forests who rotate on a 200 year life cycle! Oak is hard to surpass as an ethical and sustainable material. Before it is felled, an oak tree will have absorbed plenty of carbon dioxide throughout it’s long life. Its’ longevity as a material makes it one of the first choices for carpenters and furniture makers. Oak trees will not start to be productive and produce acorns until they are 20 years old. Some trees will not produce seed until they are even 50 years old.