The wonder of oak - part 1

 

At Petrel HQ, we are busy making for the upcoming Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design furniture show at the end of August, where we'll be exhibiting three pieces. We're really excited about showing our work there and looking forward to meeting people, who'll be able to see and get their hands on our work (a great thing to be able to do with furniture.)

We're passionate about the wonder and diversity of British woods at Petrel and one of the pieces we'll be exhibiting celebrates a wood often associated with the British Isles; the mighty oak.

Our design will pay tribute to oak in a variety of forms, including 4000-year old bog oak from the Fens and brown oak.

Brown oak is formed as a result of a beefsteak fungus growing on the tree, which reacts with the tannin in the tree and changes the colour of the wood, making it a glorious darker and richer brown, occasionally with dramatic streaks.

In preparation for making this piece, we bought an entire tree - a first for Petrel! This is a big outlay for a small workshop, but exciting too as it means we can get amazing quality, consistent colour and interesting details, which will feature throughout the finished piece. We searched long and hard to find the best possible brown oak available and were super lucky to get a superb quality specimen, from a great timber yard only an hour away from the workshop. 

These are our lovely boards (or boules as they are known when you buy the whole log) 

We hand picked this tree, as we loved the consistent deep hazel brown colour and small decorative knots (called pip - a cute name hey! But they can be a pain to deal with,  but give great character to the finished piece.)

The joy of hand picking your timber, is not only so you can get the details you're looking for, but so you also know the provenance of the timber. We believe wood is a precious resource and we take responsibility for crafting our work in woods that we can account for.

Buying from small, independent specialists, enables you to learn the backstory of the wood you buy. As I mentioned, this piece will also use incredibly valuable bog oak. 

I sourced a few boards from a renowned maker, whose dedication to getting the finest bog oak available, sees him travelling to remote fields in the Fens to unearth and assess massive prehistoric logs, to then arrange transport, cutting and conditioning. He has even built a series of custom dehumidifiers, to bring this incredible oak to a stable condition fit for fine furniture.

This process, from getting the oak out of the ground, to becoming ready for use, takes the best part of a year.  After that, once this fine material is on my bench having completed its 4000 year long journey, it is a unique feeling of responsibility. Working with bog oak demands I respect the material, cut economically, design with sensitivity and don't bugger it up!  

Now, hours and hours of careful, focused work will take this oak on to the next part of its story.

There's still plenty to do before we have a finished piece. But when it is completed, I hope our craftsmanship and our chosen design will show off this beautiful British wood and do justice to the formidable oak  tree.

You can follow our progress in finishing this piece on our twitter feed.

 

Console Table: It's Auction Time

After many hours of beavering away I am so proud to offer the first piece from Petrel Furniture up for auction.

This is your chance to own a fine, handcrafted table, please place your bids in the comment section at the bottom of the post. 

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Up for grabs is a stunning English oak console table that would be perfectly at home in the hall or as a lamp table by the side of the sofa. It is influenced by the Biedermeier period (1815 - 1848) which was an influential period of design that promoted simplicity and clean lines.

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The auction format couldn't be easier:

What are you bidding on? A solid English Oak console table with a drawer, elegant curved top and beautiful tapered legs. The top is inlayed with a fine line of American Black Walnut which is complemented with a matching hand-turned drawer pull.

The drawer has hand cut dovetails and is lined with Cedar of Lebanon which gives the most beautiful aroma. Oak ages most gracefully, the table will get richer and deeper in colour with age. 

How to Bid: If you are interested in having this fine table for your very own simply post your bid in the comment section below. I am offering this at a reserve price of £250 which is basically cost, please bid with minimum increments of £5. A table of this quality would normally have a price tag of at least £800. 

When you bid you will be asked to enter your email address and name this information will not be shared with any third party. 

Auction Deadline: The auction will run for one week ending at 7pm on Tuesday 11th March, the highest last posted bid at that point will win the table. 

How big is it? H 77cm, W 60cm, D 35cm. The drawer is large enough to hold A4 paper/mail/envelopes

Shipping costs: Are included in the reserve price for UK delivery, I will deliver direct to a greater London address in exchange for a cup of tea and a biscuit.

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This is a great opportunity not only to bid on a wonderful piece of furniture that has been lovingly handmade but also support a young fledgling business. Petrel Furniture is dedicated to producing fine handmade furniture combining traditional skills and sensitive design. 

Thank you for your generous support and happy bidding.