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Barnaby Scott of Waywood Furniture has completed his work on a OneOak piece making a stunning and unique chest. He tells us more about the inspiration behind the design and making of the OneOak chest.

When we were thinking of what to make out of our allocated boards from the One Oak, we quickly decided on two things:

 1. That we would work ‘with the wood’ rather than fighting it, and

2. We wanted to do something that was truly a trademark Waywood piece.

1. Working with the wood.

 The main board we were working with was very handsome, with a lovely chocolate brown patch rising from the base, and full of character. Now ‘character’ is a word often applied by timber merchants as a euphemism for ‘full of defects’, but one man’s defect is another man’s feature! It was obvious that we were going to get the best results by viewing each knot, each cluster of pips, each coloured patch, each split even, as an interesting feature to work with, rather than a blemish to excise and consign to the workshop boiler. This is a way we love to work when given the chance, but all too often considerations like structural soundness or a customer’s expectations get in the way. For one thing it means that we can fully embrace what nature has provided and show it off in what we hope is a respectful and enhanced way. But an equally important aspect is the fact that we do not waste this precious resource: what a tragedy it would have been if we had chopped the wood into small pieces and thrown half of them out. As it turns out, we have managed to use an exceptionally high percentage of the board, and all that has been burned is the crumbly and worm-riddled sapwood.

So what we ideally needed was a piece of furniture that used the wood in large slabs, rather than small components that excluded and wasted the characterful parts, or worse still components that suffered structural compromise from them. For example, to make a chair would have meant cutting out structurally sound legs etc, and throwing the rest of the wood away. In the end we opted for a chest made entirely from the oak – hinges included.

Passing the OneOak wood through the CNC machine

Passing the OneOak wood through the CNC machine



The main sections of the OneOak chest

The main sections of the OneOak chest

The OneOak chest in construction

The OneOak chest in construction

 2. A Waywood classic

Back in the mid 1980’s when Waywood was formed, we used to make a lot of free-form, organic, sculptural furniture, including a series of chests with wooden hinges which, at the time, were something of a Waywood trademark. We have often thought that we would like to re-visit these chests – after all, others have used them as inspiration and re-interpreted them over the years, so why couldn’t we?! We didn’t want to do a straight repeat, but wanted to to allow the intervening years – over 25 of them – to contribute from their wealth of ideas and developments in technique.

Apart from flattering ourselves that we now have more discerning and sophisticated eyes for design, one of the most significant differences between Waywood of the 1980’s and the Waywood of today is that we have added to our armoury some of what the digital age has to offer, both in our design office and in our workshop. Now we are able to model a piece of furniture on the computer, and rather than experiment with dozens of chests before we arrive – knee-deep in wood shavings – at one that we really like, we can now make endless virtual versions from which to choose.

Similarly in the workshop, we now have much more advanced tools than the procession of angle grinders, scrapers and chisels upon which we had to rely exclusively in the past. Of course a CNC router will only do what it is told to do, in just the same way as one’s hands, but it can do it more quickly and more precisely, freeing up time that we can then spend on those things that truly benefit from being done with hand tools.

The OneOak chest by Waywood

The OneOak chest by Waywood

The result is a chest which is much more boldly shaped than we have ever dared to do in the past – having been able to develop and preview a model – with undulating forms and a textured surface. To us, these features celebrate the living wood; the shapes evoke movement, like ripples on a lake, and these are married with a texture that enhances the grain and reminds us of where this wonderful material comes from.

Barnaby Scott, Waywood Furniture

The latest new OneOak product,crafted from offcuts, has been completed by Master violin maker Marc Soubeyran.

Marc used an offcut (leftover piece) from another OneOak maker, Waywood Furniture, to make a chinrest for a viola. During the OneOak exhibition at Art in Action in July, Marc put the finishing touches to the chinrest using tiny woodworking tools. The chinrest has gone appropriately to violin and viola player Anna Hemery, who composed the OneOak music and played in the ‘OneOak trio’ (the music is available on the homepage).

Marc Soubeyran’s website

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

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



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