There are tens of thousands of different tree species growing throughout the world, each one with a recognisable grain pattern. Each tree in turn produces its own individual version of that grain, creating endless visual variation. For the artist, craftsman and designer, wood offers unlimited potential as a decorative surface and is an incredible, sustainable structural material.
Timber selection is a crucial stage of any furniture making project, and one over which a maker will deliberate at length. The entire feel of a piece of furniture can be changed with the direction taken at this very early stage, and the ability to visualise the impact of each decision on the final result is a skill that comes from long experience.
Waywood specialises in the use of solid temperate hardwoods, mainly from Britain. The rich variety of these woods encompasses a wide palette of colours, textures and figures and the working characteristics of each wood bring different challenges and qualities to each piece of furniture.
Although wood will always be the material to which we look first, we also sometimes use other materials to enhance and complement our designs. Traditional materials like glass and stone are now being added to by a whole host of more modern composite materials, which can add a new dimension and structural possibilities in their use.
The natural beauty of wood is central to everything we do. We strive to celebrate what nature has generously provided us with, not to contribute to the destruction of the natural world.
To date we have planted approximately 11,000 hardwood trees on our land - including oak, ash, cherry, walnut and maple. Our planting programme regenerates the woodland typical to our area and replaces, on a local scale, the types of wood we use.
We use almost entirely temperate hardwoods and, wherever possible, timber that has been produced sustainably or is derived from wind-blown, dead or dying trees.
On the rare occasions that we use tropical woods, we insist on timber that has been produced in a demonstrably sustainable manner.
Over the years we have built up a network of contacts to help us source the best and most appropriate wood for each project. The sawmills, timber and veneer merchants we work with all share our passion and commitment to responsible forestry.
When a project calls for veneers, we follow the same thought process for selecting which decorative timbers to use. We source our veneers from one or two well-respected suppliers who specialise in striking and unusual veneers made from Burr Elm, Burr Walnut, Ripple Sycamore and Tamo Ash, to name but a few.
Where possible we prefer to use thicker veneers of around 1.5mm rather than the standard 0.6mm. On occasion we have cut our own veneers from particularly striking timbers to stunning effect, especially for table tops.
Finishing is as vital a process as any other stage in the creation of a piece of furniture — in terms of its appearance and daily use, perhaps the most important.
As part of the collaborative commissioning process with the client, we always choose together the most appropriate finish for the job - considering the function and style of the furniture, its appearance, durability, renewability and aftercare, as well as the client's preferences and lifestyle.
We favour natural oils and waxes, because with occasional polishing a piece will age gracefully and look good forever. Lacquer, while potentially providing a better seal and being maintenance-free, is not easily restored if damaged; we tend to lean towards lacquer on veneered work.