Diamond Jubilee not-for-profit-project to create a huge table to gift to the nation
The largest ever intact 5,000 year old sub-fossilised trunk of an ancient giant oak (Fenland Black Oak, or bog oak) has been discovered in the fens of Ely in Cambridgeshire.
Instigated by Fenland Black Oak specialists and cabinet makers Adamson and Low and encouraged by livery company the Worshipful Company of Carpenters, the Diamond Jubilee Fenland Black Oak Project has been set up to excavate, preserve and utilise this ancient trunk.
The tree is a massive 44ft / 13.4m long with no measurable taper indicating either root or canopy. It is believed that it could be just a section – possibly as small as a quarter – of the original epic tree.
Hamish Low of Adamson and Low and Low said:
“I’ve worked with Fenland Black Oak for over 20 years and learned through many trials and lots of errors how to turn these ancient but fragile muddy trunks into unique and beautiful planks for furniture making. It might sound counter-intuitive, but because of their mind-boggling age and size, the trunks can’t be preserved in their raw form out of the ground; they deteriorate and crumble very quickly.”
At the end of September, the massive trunk will be saw milled by InSitu Designs into giant full-length planks on site on a 50ft Logosol saw mill, shipped in specially for this project. With the help of the fine woodworking craft students of the Building Crafts College in East London, the planks will be specialist kiln-dried and a unique 44ft long table will be created as a gift to the nation to form part of our national heritage.
“These oaks have been dated to about 3,600 B.C. and I have never seen or heard of one as long as this. There have been others which could have been one trunk, but which were compromised by rot or insect infestation. This one is so special in that it is intact and, as far as I can tell, sound along its full 44ft length. Along with the fact that it is impossible to know how long Fenland Black Oaks will continue to rise out of the soil, and their inherent fragility, this one is worthy of preserving for the interest of the nation.”
Fenland Black Oak is one of our nation’s most important timbers with many unique characteristics. This tree is a very rare example and gives us an unprecedented opportunity to make a breathtaking table for public display, giving an insight into the grandeur of these ancient giant forests.
The Diamond Jubilee Fenland Black Oak Project is a not-for-profit initiative, and is able to transport the saw milled planks to the college in London and into a bespoke 15 metre kiln thanks to the generosity of local, national and international companies.
More support is needed to complete the project. Follow the project on Twitter @FenlandBlackOak to watch the progress of the project and find out how you can help.
A gigantic 5,000 year old oak tree. An extraordinary challenge. An unprecedented masterpiece. A gift to the nation.