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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.

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

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

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

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


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