3000 BC

5000 years ago the East Anglian Fenland basin was densely forested by gigantic oak trees.

5000 years ago a rise in sea level caused the rivers to back up and flood the ancient high forests. These huge trees died standing in water and eventually fell into the silt of the forest floor where some have been preserved under anaerobic conditions until now.

Due to the cultivation of this productive land the preserved trees are emerging from the peat. They are extremely fragile when exposed to the elements unless wrapped, converted into planks, dried and stabilised.

Fortunately some Fenland land owners recognise the significance of these ancient trees and are very supportive of their constructive use.

The famous intensity of colour associated with Black Oak is a result of soluble irons in the mineral sub soil reacting with tannins in the oak.

There is clearly a finite supply of Black Oak buried beneath the peat and it is in decline. There is an urgent need to to preserve as much as we can for future generations.
 

fenland black oak

Today Black Oak is the nation’s rarest and most valuable native hardwood.

Occasionaly weighing over 1000 kg per cubic metre Black Oak is by far the densest native hardwood, meaning very fine detailed accurate work can be achieved.

At between 4800 to 5500 years old Black Oak is the nation’s most ancient hardwood.

Black Oak has intense and unique colour fade characteristics which, along with stunning medullary figure – this offers great creative opportunities for visual impact, particularly when used as a contrast and in combination with other native hardwoods.

It has recently been discovered that Black Oak is a tone wood with unique sound and is highly prized for use in hand made percussion, wood wind and stringed musical instruments.

Black Oak is the only native hardwood that is black.

Black Oak has many unique characteristics and beautiful features making it highly prized by craftsmen making objects of the very highest quality.