David Gunton's Hardwood Floors.
Grange Lane, Winsford,
Cheshire, CW7 2PS
Tel: +44 (0)1606 861 442
Fax: +44 (0)1606 861 445
wideboards@gmail.com
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  • Marquetry
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  • Very Wide Logs

    This page was first created about five years ago so the content is historic rather than contemporary. The English oak logs seen in the photographs have been sawn, dried, handworked, sold and fitted into homes from Scotland to Cornwall,to Chicago and Australia. New logs have been bought for jobs in hand and as this is being written in July 2007 been sawn and are drying 'in stick'. See here.

     

    We needed some outstanding logs for a special customer who is restoring a very old manor house in Oxfordshire. So, we went looking. We were offered these lovely long logs from an estate contigous with Burnham Wood near Beaconsfield. We bought rather more than was needed for the customer, just because they were so lovely. On this gorgeous spring day David Gunton walked the logs to select those he wanted to buy - though in this picture, the man in blue walking the logs is an imposter, merely masquerading as David Gunton who is twice the size and twice as good looking.

    From the woods, the logs are to be transported to the only saw mill in the UK which can cut logs up to 60 feet.

     

     

    The only reason for showing this picture is to show the rather fascinating radial shrinkage patterns which have occurred on the end of the logs since felling. If you click on the picture you can see a larger version which shows the patterns more clearly.

     

    This is the first of the logs to be cut- all 37 foot 8 inches of it! It is being loaded onto the carriage which will draw it across the saw blade. First a slice is taken of the top then the log is turned to lie comfortably on this flat face for sawing through and through.

     

     

    Here, we have the log with a flat face on both the underside and topside. The two boards cut from the log to provide these flat faces are mostly sap wood. They go straight to the chipper. You can see that about 15 to 20% of the log has now been wasted. Woodworm and other beetles can occasionally feast on sapwood so we try to avoid including it in floors.


    We saw the boards at 32 millimetres thick. After sawing they are put into stick to allow air to pass over them. After six to twelve months slowly air drying outdoors they will go to kiln to be dried to the required moisture content. This may be between just below 8% for fitting over under floor heating, or as much as 12% for less well heated environments. When dry the boards will have shrunk to around 30 millimetres thick. Another 16% of stock lost.

    Once dry these boards will be 'straight line edged' - in other words the edges will be straightened and made parallel. If you look at this board even though it is from a relatively straight log we will still lose approximately 20% of the board. More stock lost!

    You can see from this process why oak is so expensive. We pay a lot for the logs. We pay a lot for transport. We put in an enormous amount of labour. We use huge and costly machines in vast premises. Very unwillingly, we lose up to 65% of the log-wood in cutting away the sapwood, in sawdust and in straight line edging the boards. All that before we get the timber to site to fit it - where we lose some more! This is yet another good reason to make floors that will last rather than waste yet more precious natural resource making cheap short life 'fashionable' floors such as engineered board floors.


    Go to more boards.