Mankind has been harvesting the natural products around him for thousands of years. We have used stone, clay and timber to make tools, homes, furniture and art for as long as time has been recorded.
To have these natural products around you is somehow soothing and brings much pleasure, especially wood. We see people touching the polished surfaces to feel the texture, bumps and grain; perhaps picturing the tree as it once stood in the forest.
Ancient timber is in itself special. Our ancestors cut down only the largest trees and, for example, as you touch a piece of 300 year old English oak, it is likely to have been over 300 years old before it was cut or it fell naturally.
Old tools leave their marks; trunks were pit sawn and have random cut lines to the surface; beams were adzed to give shape, leaving scoop marks on them; edges were rounded or had a chamfer which, being done by hand, would leave a wobble down the length of the wood.
I often find old nails and hooks in the reclaimed wood that I use, as well as old pegs and joints and I leave these exactly as they are to emphasise the skill, precision and care that was lavished into this woodwork many hundreds of years ago. I believe we should all rescue, restore and re-use items today as much as possible. We need to preserve our heritage and try to find timber in reclamation yards, demolition sites, farm clearances etc.
Each piece of wood is unique and has its own character. Some are great just left as a piece of art and others work best when turned into everyday items or unique wooden gifts, hopefully to be enjoyed for many, many years in your home.