Chestnut – not just for Christmas

The Chestnuts we enjoy around the fire at Christmas time is from the lovely Sweet Chestnut tree. There is another Chestnut tree, well known for its conkers, known as the Horse Chestnut. The wood and fruit of these trees differ greatly, namely the wood of the Sweet Chestnut is strong, with lovely grain and similar to Oak whereas the wood from the Horse Chestnut is not strong and can split very easily. The fruit from each of these is very different as well. The Sweet Chestnut is famous for its shiny brown fruits, or ‘chestnuts’, that are wrapped in a spiky, green casing and make a tasty winter treat where as the fruit from Horse Chestnuts are conkers which are not to be eaten.   We only use Sweet Chestnut wood when we use Chestnut.

Sweet chestnut is thought to have been introduced by the Romans from southern Europe and has been grown in the UK for some 2,000 years. The wood of Sweet Chestnut was known as the ‘poor man’s Oak’ , but Chestnut (Sweet not Horse) makes an interesting alternative to Oak in lots of circumstances and its certainly not ‘poor’ in any way, shape or form. The wood is a light to medium brown, darkening to a reddish brown with age. Narrow sapwood is well-defined and is pale white to light brown.

Betwixt and between

The internet is such a convenient way to buy and sell.

For the customers, convenience is everything.  They can buy whatever is needed or wished for whenever it is convenient to them. No longer does the customer have to concern themselves with the opening and closing hours of a shop. However, it does have its drawbacks! One such disadvantage of internet shopping is cost of delivery.

For the retailer, an internet “shop” is more than convenient.  Besides being able to keep costs down by not needing to hire premises and staff, it also has the advantage of reaching a much larger clientele.  But again there are drawbacks for the retailer as well.

One of the main disadvantage we have discovered is to deliver our fine products to the customer in good order and as quickly as possible.  We have chosen not to charge for delivery at the moment.  However, that does leave us vulnerable to loss of revenue.  Many courier companies charge an exorbitant amount but do not deliver any better service than the cheaper delivery companies, which leaves us very much betwixt and between giving good service and free delivery on time.

The future is and remains with e-commerce. So what is the solution? Do we call on Doctor Who and the Tardis to help out?  Or perhaps A SPELL from Harry Potter – a transportation spell perhaps.

Until the delivery conundrum is sorted, we will continue to strive to deliver our beautiful hand-crafted products in the safest and quickest way, not withstanding the unreliability of many of the man-with-a-van courier services.


Doctor Potter meme Doctor Who Harry Potter GIFs Daleks Hogwarts



What is in the name?

Is it Sycamore or Maple? Sycamore & Maple are both Acers. The trees are not so very different so it is understandable that there is confusion. But whatever it is called, it is a beautiful wood.

SYCAMORE is one of the favourite English timber species, native to the UK. It is a deciduous tree and fairly commonly found in well managed, sustainable woodlands.

As a timber it is a hardwood. The sap and heartwood have the same colour and visual qualities. It’s grain is broad, strong and vibrant. The overall colouring is a pale cream with the marked growth rings which are a rich red-brown. We think Sycamore is a very handsome looking timber. It is treasured for it’s delicate lustred colouring and fine grain.

SYCAMORE wood does not stain or taint food and stays smooth after scrubbing, so it is ideal for serving platters, chopping boards and other kitchen utensils.



Wood Forever


Recently someone mentioned to us that they had bought a chopping board from a large company that specialised in budget accessories, only to find that the board disintegrated within 3 weeks.  This did not surprise us as many people will look at our boards and say they can get it cheaper at some or other supermarket.  But the question one must ask is – what is the quality? What is the product made of? Is it a soft wood, a composite or a lasting hardwood?

In a throw-away age, where nothing seems to have any lasting value, it is very sad that a hand-crafted item is put on the same value scale as the mass-produced products churned out in sweat factories in places where the worker and the raw material has been exploited.

If one is only buying something cheap made of inferior material, then indeed our products do not fit that individual.

Our products are made from sustainable wood, a very large majority of the wood used is obtained from trees that have suffered damage or where uprooted in storms.  A sizable percentage of this lovely old oak wood is bought by wood merchants who kiln dry it to resell as firewood.  Sometimes the most beautiful pieces of oak with interesting grain and shapes are chopped up and sold at not too cheap a price to go up in smoke.  Truly a sad situation!  However, we do understand that oak makes wonderfully warm fires, and people’s comfort is not something we discount.  That said, what is sad is the indiscriminate way all wood is being chopped up for burning with no thought of it’s beauty.

In a report published in the Daily Mail  “Now we learn that wood-burning is the single biggest source of tiny soot particles called PM2.5s — they are also emitted by burning coal and diesel — which go into our lungs and are said to be responsible for an estimated 37,800 premature deaths a year.” (

We support the efforts to protect the environment and our woodlands.  We believe that it is also time that more trees are planted.  In this way, the future will look better for many.  A bonus to this is the purification of the air with trees and the prevention of flooding, as reported in the BBC – Tree planting ‘can reduce flooding‘ Planting trees around rivers could reduce the height of flooding in towns by up to 20%, new research suggests. A study for the Environment Agency concludes that trees round a feeder stream can slow the rush of rainwater and save properties from flooding.(

The Action Oak Partnership states – The UK has more ancient, native oak trees than all other EU countries combined and losing them from our landscape would impact our wellbeing, economy, environment and the hundreds of species that rely on them. In a statement of unity and defiance against the threat posed to the indispensible species, Michael Gove said: ‘Ensuring plant biosecurity requires vigilance between the government and industry.’

As another influential supporter of the campaign a 3D scan of Dame Judi Dench’s favourite oak tree has been used as the backdrop to the Action Oak display at Chelsea.Oak tree