The tree to table story of our iken collection starts in East Lothian – at the historic Biel House – with the felling of a sycamore tree.
Like all of the wood we buy through Sutton Timber, in Suffolk, the tree was given a felling licence; in this instance, FLA01115.
Our sycamore was felled in the course of ‘thinning’, a woodland management process that harvests mature trees, allowing increased light into the woodland and enabling younger trees to grow and thrive. This cyclical process is vital for maintaining beautiful and healthy woodlands.
From East Lothian, the sycamore was transported by road to Helmdon Sawmill in Northamptonshire, where it was run through a bandsaw.
The milled boards were then taken by road to Sutton Timber, in the beautiful surrounds of Sotterley, near Southwold, Suffolk. At Sotterley the boards were placed ‘in stick’, air dried for up to a year, before being finished in a computer-operated heat/vent kiln for around a month.
When Hyrst arrives at Sotterley, we look through the boards, hand-selecting the sections of timber to make our furniture.
From Sotterley, we take the boards thirty miles down the coast, to our maker’s workshop on the fringes of Woodbridge. The timber is cut down to the component parts of the iken design, and then planed and joined using the traditional skills and techniques of the cabinet maker. Water-based glue is used in the joinery.
Timber continues to absorb and eject moisture throughout its life, long after the tree is felled. The bench and table tops are attached to the frames using screws placed into slotted holes, which allows for this natural process of swelling and shrinkage. It’s a centuries-old practice that works with – not against – the natural material.
After sanding to a fine finish, the furniture receives two coats of a ‘raw’ oil made by Osmo. Comprised of natural oils and waxes, Osmo products soak into the surface of the furniture, allowing the wood to breath whilst also providing hard-wearing protection.
And that’s it. The full story. From tree to table.