Woodland Soul boards are frequently made of English pippy oak. It is said that English forests produce the finest pippy oak in the world. Pippy oak tends to be more of a wild hedgerow tree than a straight oak. This unique hardwood features curly grain with natural clusters of pin knots mainly on the outside of the log similar to cat’s paws giving it a charming rustic character.
It is the open nature of our English woodlands, hedgerows and large parks that allow for plenty of light penetration. This encourages ‘epicormic growth’ on the main trunks of the trees. These growths penetrate deep into the heart wood of the tree.
When the tree is cut perpendicularly to the direction of travel, the growths appear as cat’s paws. Cat’s paws are revealed as frequent small knots and knot clusters peppering the board. The large knot clusters are called burr. Boards with a high proportion of burrs are described as burr oak.
The heart wood of English pippy oak ranges in colour from pale straw to dark honey brown. The grain moves around the knots and clusters to create beautiful wild patterns and figures which are highly prized by furniture makers such as Steven Baker Furniture. We work with English pippy oak that has been cut to achieve as much interest and beauty as possible. These logs are ‘flat cut’ meaning that they are cut parallel to the growth rings. This displays the epicormic growths as pips and burrs on the surface of the board, along with the growth ring patterns.
Pippy oak lends itself particularly to rustic cheese boards, wooden serving platters and rustic food presentation boards. Wood is naturally anti-bacterial and an ideal medium for food boards. We love to work with timber in an organic way and to celebrate the knots, burrs and figured grain in each board. We carefully fill any gaps or cracks as needed and protect the board with a few coats of food safe mineral oil or wax oil.
If you would like to commission a handmade board or boards with your choice of edge, type of wood, selected dimensions and finish, contact Rachel directly via firstname.lastname@example.org