A friend asked for some help extracting a little timber from a local woodland where he volunteers. I guess that’s the equivalent to Sunday church for me! (Though I prefer a colander hat). He’d been given access to a tree that has fallen “maybe a few years back”. Good, I thought, it won’t be too dry and hard if just a few years old…

Sat right at the edge of the woodland, roots facing directly South, the log was virtually indistinguishable from the ground.

“Is that it?”


“Might be a few years older that I’d like to cut”!

One of the other guys then comments on it being there from before he started volunteering in the early 90’s, “probably from ’87”, he says.

After a little research on the legendary storm, it had fallen precisely how would be expected given the Southerly winds.

Nevertheless, we grabbed the cant hook and pulled it out. The bark did not exist, nor did the sapwood. Rolled it onto a couple of bearers, took out the saw and made the first cut. I was hard, really hard!


I think this picture really illustrates the virtues of oak. The heartwood was completely untouched, just a few brownish streaks and not a worm hole in sight.


Three more cuts and one very blunt saw later, we produced this lovely 6″ timber soon to become a sole plate in said volunteers timber framed house. From the other sections, we were able to produce some lovely timber suitable for studs.


This a short section from the end of the log which illustrates how decayed the timber appeared. The right side is darker as sat in a wet ditch!


So if you’d like to build something that stands way beyond your lifetime, consider oak!