- Sweet Chestnut is one of the most durable woods in the UK due to a combination of its very low sapwood content, very high heartwood content and high tannin levels.
- Consequently, it requires no timber preservative treatment and is thus very eco-friendly
- The splitting of timber by hand, rather than it being sawn, follows the natural grain minimising damage to the vessels of the wood creating a surface that is uniquely waterproof.
- By purchasing a Sweet Chestnut product you are helping support and maintain woodland coppicing as well as the traditional green woodworking and rural craft skills and techniques associated with the making of those products.
So, what is Coppicing?
Coppicing is a woodland management method involving, over the years, repeated felling on the same tree stump close to the ground level. This allows new shoots to re-grow from the main stump. Re-growth is rapid.
As well as Sweet Chestnut, many types of tree are suitable for coppicing including Oak, Birch, Ash, Hazel, Lime, Willow, Maple amongst others. Typically, Sweet Chestnut is coppiced every 12 to 20 years depending upon the size of the timber required for the different uses it is to be put to.
Coppicing has been traced back to the Neolithic times by Archaeologists who, on the Somerset Levels, excavated wooden tracks over boggy ground made entirely of coppiced material.
Green woodworking and cleft timber
Green woodworking is an ancient, traditional skill that dates back to over 5,000 years!
It is the process of working with timber which, once felled, is riven or cleft (split) by hand and then worked/dressed whilst it’s still green, i.e. before the moisture is removed either by kiln drying or by naturally air drying (seasoning).
Cleaving is the term used for the actual splitting of the timber. This process follows the natural grain of the timber and creates a uniqueness in every piece resulting in Sweet Chestnut products that are truly individual.