Why use locally sourced wood?
We use locally sourced wood from Somerset and the surrounding counties. If we hear of a tree coming down and the land owner has given us permission, then we will arrive to carefully chop down the tree. Getting wood locally means we know exactly where the wood grew, what the condition of the wood was and its approximate age. It also means we can give our customers the history behind it.
What happens if there is nothing local?
We always aim to source wood locally as it is clearly better for the environment. However, if we just can’t find the wood locally then we will purchase it in from local timber merchants in Somerset. This means we can get British hardwoods that are sufficiently dry to be turned. However we only do this if there really isn’t any wood for us to work with that we’ve sourced ourselves.
If you cut down the tree yourself how do you know what to turn it in to?
The first thing is looking at the size and shape of the tree. It may sound strange, but to Greg’s expert eye, he can look at a branch or log and immediately spot something useful or beautiful (often both) within it. For example he can see a piece of cherry or walnut branch and spot a beautiful kitchen spoon. The same applies for logs where he can see a marking or character within the wood that he knows will be a superb feature in a bowl.
So you’ve got an idea, what next?
For ‘green wood’ bowls we would saw up the wood, so if you imagine a log, we would saw it in half along the long edge. Some people think bowls are turned from the round of the log but this isn’t the case. If the bowl was turned from the round then it would be weak in the middle. Green wood contains more moisture content than dried wood. We look at the size of the sawn log and then draw a circle on the half we have cut. This is to guide us in turning the log in to a wood blank. A ‘blank’ is the term given to a piece of wood that is going to be ‘turned’ in to a bowl or other object.
How long does it take to process a ‘green wood’ blank?
Once we have cut out our ’round’ shape we then melt some candle wax and coat the wood. We then leave this to dry for months. We need the wood to be as dry as possible so that the wood does not change shape once it has been turned.
So what happens when the blank is dry?
When the blank is dry enough to be turned, we will put it on the lathe and shape it. We then leave the shaped bowl a little while longer before getting it ready for turning proper. Once the bowl is on the lathe the magic starts to happen. Greg has the ability to turn most wood in to a piece of treasure. Much like an artist or sculptor, the bowl appears from the wood in a way that is hard to explain. It almost happens naturally… yet this is no easy skill to learn.
What happens after the wood turning?
After the final turning is completed, the bowl gets sanded. This is done in a methodical way by hand, using many different grits of sandpaper. This is very time consuming, however all the effort is worthwhile for the wonderfully smooth finish on all of our bowls.
What about finishing your bowl or wooden items?
We use a wonderful product called tung oil. Read our our blog for more on that.
If our customer has requested a personalised item we will burn their inscribe their message or name or date using our pyrograghy pen (also known as fire-writing). All of our items have our Blighty hand print on them.
Once the Blighty bowl or any of our wooden items is nearing completion it gets a final quality check and inspection. If there are any issues, e.g. rough patches which hardly ever happens at this stage in the process, the item is re-worked on so it is 100%. We never send out sub-standard items or ‘seconds’.
Gift Wrap and Delivery
Once the tung oil has dried so that it can be gift wrapped, we use food quality tissue paper to wrap the item. If we are posting or sending the item by courier we use plenty of bubble wrap to protect it in transit. Delivery is normally a couple of days depending on the size of the item. We do offer next day delivery providing we have the item in stock but most of our wooden-ware is made to order.
Our ultimate goal is to have a happy customer. Not only with their unique Blighty product but someone who has had a great customer experience with us overall from initial enquiry to final product. We take enormous pride in the high end finish of our products and we are always keen to improve so we ask that our customers, past and present leave feedback against our products. We love sharing our passion for all things handmade and we love what we do.