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A commemorative garden bench

posted on January 31, 2011

Rodas Irving’s beautiful commemorative garden bench has been completed. Rodas hand-carved some lettering on the bench for his client.


In memory of Patsy Wood who love trees. 1960-2007


Rodas Irving model benches

Read more about Rodas Irving’s work in the OneOak project

Visit Rodas Irving’s blog


Category: OneOak project, Wood

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OneOak garden bench takes shape

posted on November 25, 2010
Rodas Irving bench

Rodas Irving's bench cutting pattern

The first large wood product to be made from the OneOak tree is now in the process of being made by craftsman Rodas Irving.

Rodas has a private commission for a garden bench.  He is able to start work on this because he works with green (wet) timber.  Many of our other wood workers are still waiting for their selected pieces of timber to dry.

He selected OneOak boards 1.19 and 3.5 (see our board catalogue).  At his Oxfordshire workshop he has now marked out the pattern and cut the pieces ready to begin construction.

Rodas said  “You only get one chance at this so you need to get it right. The slab of oak I chose from the One Oak was taken from the top third of the trunk, and this tends to have more than it’s fair share of big branches. Generally that’s bad news, but for this bench I need some long pieces with grain that follows the curve of the piece; specifically for the two back legs which are almost S shaped. The big branches create waves in the grain allowing me to position the cuts to follow these.”

You can read more and follow Rodas’ work on the bench on his blog.

Category: OneOak project, Wood

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OneOak craft items by DZ Design

posted on October 11, 2012

Makers Richard Zakss and Samantha Drewett of DZ Design have produced dozens of craft items from the OneOak wood.

They have worked with the offcuts from other Makers, including Rodas Irving, and parts of the tree that other Makers ignored such as large and bent branches.

These items and more will all be for sale at our exhibition opening tomorrow at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

DZ Design website

Category: OneOak project, Wood
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OneOak news release – One oak tree: Forty gifts to life

posted on July 17, 2012

A unique project following the full life story of a single oak tree reaches a finale this week, with the first of a series of manor exhibitions at Art in Action, where all the items made from the tree are being brought together for the first time. The products range from the waste sawdust used by legendary chef Raymond Blanc to smoke salmon, to a throne chair worth £6000, and dozens of other items including charcoal, wood block prints, tables, benches, door, house, boat, and woodchip for bioenergy.

  • The OneOak project is an environmental project of the Sylva Foundation, following the full life story of one oak tree.
  • The aim of the project is to bring people closer to the importance of our woodlands and of wood in modern society.
  • The 222 year old OneOak tree was felled on the Blenheim Estate in January 2010, witnessed by 250 school children. It had been grown in a plantation for its timber, having been planted in 1788; the same year that The Times was first published and when the French Revolution was just beginning to stir.
  • The OneOak tree is now the most studied oak tree in Britain: it has been weighed, measured with lasers to create a 3D model, studied by a dendrochronologist, and had its carbon content estimated.
  • It has been featured by dozens of artists, sculptors and photographers.
  • Many of Britain’s leading designer-makers have made items using the wood of the OneOak tree. These total over 40 different products, and counting.
  • The 250 children who witnessed the felling each planted a young oak tree in January 2011, one year after the tree was felled, to fulfil the cycle in sustainable forest management.
  • The first exhibition is at Art in Action, followed by six weeks at Blenheim Palace, then six weeks at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.


Chief Executive of the Sylva Foundation and project co-ordinator Dr Gabriel Hemery said “this has been an amazing project that has inspired both the public and those who make a living working with wood and caring for our woodlands. Everyone has given their time to the project in so many different ways because they have been inspired by the concept:- the realisation that trees and wood are still vital to life even in modern society.”

Dr Hemery continued “after three years of hard work it is immensely exciting to be bringing together all the various elements of the OneOak project for our exhibitions during the Summer and Autumn. We will be able to show the public the stunning artwork, spell-binding films, earth-shattering science, and the myriad of truly amazing wood-based products. The only products that we won’t be able include in real life in the exhibitions will be the house and the boat!”

The OneOak exhibition at Art in Action is replacing the usual ‘Woodworking’ section; the marquee will be filled uniquely with all the products of the OneOak tree. Artists, musicians, sculptors and designer-makers will be on-hand to talk and demonstrate about their work in the OneOak project. Some 25,000 people are expected to attend over the four days, and where special measures have been put in place to cope with the soggy ground.  See note from Art in Action

The following have been made to date: firewood, woodchip (to heat a house for 6 weeks), sawdust for smoking food by Raymond Blanc, charcoal, bracing beams for a house, transom beam in a boat rowed in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Flotilla, door and frame, chest, pedestal table, coffee table, throne chair, clock, lantern, moebius sculpture, jewellery, acorn oakbot sculpture from waste slabwood, memorial sculpture, carved bowls, carved spoons, turned bowls, carvings, automata, commemorative garden bench by disabled workers, five benches for primary schools including the spider bench, contemplation bench, MakeIT! bench national school design competition, nesting tables, fine furniture competition winners pieces, small craft items, deer, viola chin rest, printing blocks, relief carving, sounding bowl.

Details of the OneOak products along with the stories of their making can be found here:

The project website is

Exhibition dates:

Art in Action, Waterperry                             19th – 22nd July 2012                      Art in Action

Blenheim Palace                                               25th July – 4th October                  OneOak at Blenheim Palace

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh               12th October – 2nd December    Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

More information

download the full News Release

download the full News Release

Download the full News Release


end of News Release

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Made from OneOak wood

posted on July 16, 2012
OneOak website

OneOak website

Over the last two and a half years, ever since the OneOak tree was felled in January 2010, we have been endeavoring to make as many and as varied items as possible from the tree to demonstrate how important trees and wood are to us in modern life.

Now that the first of our finale exhibitions is about to open (Art in Action July 19-22), we can list for the first time the number and variety of items made from the OneOak tree.

Here is a list of items made so far that exceeds 30 in number, while for some items there have been multiple versions (e.g. benches for five different schools) – the links point to stories on the OneOak blog over the last two and half years. See also our Products page on the OneOak website

  1. firewood from branchwood
  2. woodchip, from branchwood, for heating a house
  3. sawdust for smoking food, waste from processing other items
  4. charcoal
  5. bracing beams for a house
  6. transom beam in a boat, rowed in the Queens’ Diamond Jubilee Flotilla
  7. door and frame
  8. chest
  9. pedestal table
  10. coffee table
  11. throne chair
  12. clock
  13. lantern
  14. moebius sculpture
  15. jewellery
  16. acorn oakbot sculpture, from waste slabwood
  17. memorial sculpture, from branchwood
  18. carved bowls
  19. carved spoons
  20. turned bowls
  21. carvings
  22. automata
  23. Commemorative garden bench
  24. five benches for primary schools, including the spider bench
  25. contemplation bench
  26. MakeIT! bench, national school design competition
  27. nesting tables, fine furniture competition winner
  28. small craft items
  29. deer
  30. viola chin rest
  31. printing blocks
  32. relief carving
  33. sounding bowl

We will update this list in the future and include information on some of the items that so far have not been featured in the OneOak blog.

We hope to see at one of our exhibitions during 2012


Category: News, OneOak project, Wood

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OneOak at major art show

posted on July 15, 2011
Art in Action 2011

For the second year running we are taking the OneOak exhibition to Art in Action; one the UK’s major art shows.

This year we are delighted to have some of our makers and collaborators alongside us in the Woodworking area.  These include Richard Fox sculptor, Rodas Irving green furniture maker, Martin Damen green woodworker, Rycotewood Furniture Centre, Living Woods magazine, DZ Design and Simon Clements.

We will be showing several of our films, displaying some of the inspiring original works of art, and have several large pieces that have been already been made from the OneOak tree.  We will display the memorial sculpture made by Simon Clements, a spider bench made by Ian Smith of Rycotewood, and we will display the first length of timber and the 22 boards from the tree in the form that it’s been dried at the sawmill.

For the first time we are also selling limited edition prints of some of the artwork.

Art in Action is on between Thursday 21st and Sunday 24th July – we hope to see you there.

Find out more including directions and about the show

Category: OneOak project

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Special oak produces extraordinary food

posted on April 2, 2011
Le Manoir

A phoenix of a very special kind has risen from the ashes of one of Oxfordshire’s most famous trees – the OneOak tree.  The tree, which was felled on the Blenheim Estate as part of an education project run by the Sylva Foundation, is currently being used in the making of dozens of wooden items, including furniture, buildings, joinery, arts and craft.  More unusually, legendary Chef Raymond Blanc has selected sawdust and wood shavings from the OneOak tree to produce a dish using “OneOak-smoked salmon” at his Michelin-starred restaurant in Oxfordshire, Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons.

Slow-cooked farmed Scottish salmon, cucumber, Wasabi dressing, pickled mouli

Slow-cooked farmed Scottish salmon, cucumber, Wasabi dressing, pickled mouli

The specially ‘smoked’ slow-cooked salmon will be intermittently on the menu at Le Manoir, from April for about six months, in a dish called Slow-cooked farmed Scottish salmon, cucumber, Wasabi dressing, pickled mouli.

OneOak salmon at Le Manoir

Making OneOak-smoked salmon at Le Manoir

OneOak project manager Dr Gabriel Hemery of the Sylva Foundation said “Using the sawdust and wood shavings from the OneOak tree to smoke food demonstrates the sustainable nature of growing and using trees, especially when they are used locally.  What could have been seen as a waste product, the by-product of creating wood items, has instead produced something of high value, culturally and economically.”  He continued “we are so pleased to have been able to demonstrate this in such a powerful way thanks to the enthusiastic support of Raymond Blanc and his team at Le Manoir.”

Raymond Blanc said “when I first heard about the OneOak project I was immediately impressed by the educational aims of the project, and the fantastic stories that are starting to emerge.  What really interests me is how a locally-grown tree can support so many different local businesses.  The fact that it is undeniably a very green project too, demonstrating real sustainability, is also very exciting.  Lastly, but not at all least, it will help to create and even better dish here at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons!”.

One of the first designer-makers to have started work on a wood project using the OneOak tree’s timber is local furniture maker Rodas Irving.  Shavings from his workshop were the first to arrive at Le Manoir, the by-product of a green oak bench for a private client.  Rodas said “I have always liked using locally grown oak for my benches – it cuts down on miles and my client loves the idea of their bench having grown nearby.  When I was offered the chance to get involved in the OneOak project I jumped at it.  It was especially interesting for me as I would be able to follow the whole process from standing tree to finished product.  Usually I first get to see the timber only once it gets to the saw-mill.”

Visit the OneOak website

Category: OneOak project, Wood

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