English oak or European oak?
We know many customers purchase from us as they love the “Britishness” of oak. Oak has long been regarded as the King of the Forest and emblematic of the UK, and is the largest of our native, broad-leaved trees.
Because English oak is rather rare it is also more costly than European oak, which means for many of our products we are forced to use European oak in order to remain competitive.
The good news is that we have recently changed our primary timber supplier, who sources their timber from northern France and processes (mills) it here in West Sussex. It seems the French managed their forests rather better than the English during the 18th and 19th centuries – in the 20th centrury the whole of the developed world woke up to the need for sustainable forests. The result is the oak we now use is exactly the same species as found in southern England – pedunculate oak or, to give it its Latin name, Quercus robur.
So not only is the timber effectively the same as English oak, with only minor variations in climatic conditions in which the timber would have grown in either country, the character and colour are also indistinguishable. There are, of course, variations as there is in any natural product, and these can occur even within a single log.
By having the timber sourced around 100 miles or so distant, and milled a few miles away from us in the South Downs, the environmental impact is extremely low; much lower compared to timber sourced in Germany which may then be milled in another mainland European country.
Whilst officially we can not say our beautiful boards are all made from English oak you can rest assured they are effectively from that same natural material. A natural material with its almost infinite variations of grain, colour and other characteristics. As a reminder, you can see below some examples of the cuts of oak we use in our boards – further explanation of these can be found here – all of which, of course, are either FSC or PEFC certified.
If you have any questions about our timber, our boards or other products, please do not hesitate to contact us via email or on 01903 650540.