At Forest to Home, we relish making our regular visit to the sawmill. It enables us to proudly join the dots, from the forest right through to our finished furniture. Founder Will Hibbert explains…
As we race headlong towards the festive season, our Wiltshire workshop is buzzing with activity. Our talented team of craftsmen are busy putting the finishes touches to December’s deliveries, and there’s a palpable sense of anticipation in the air. We may be emerging from our second lockdown, but thankfully it hasn’t dented our pace, or our rapidly swelling order list.
Every story has a beginning and, for our solid timber furniture, life of course begins in the forest. It’s hugely important to us that we’re able to trace our timber back to the tree, which is why Sam and I regularly visit the sawmill. Even on a frosty November morning, this is a place of evocative smells, where a sense of promise hangs in the air.
Our love of the countryside is at the beating heart of our business so, for us, buying pre-cut, pre-packed slabs of wood from a timber supplier just isn’t quite the same. Nothing can replace seeing the felled trees stretched out in the yard, discovering which forest they have come from and personally cherry-picking the very best to add to our stock.
Of course, sourcing our trees direct from the sawmill also gives us total control over how our boards are prepared. We are able to handpick the very best Scottish elm or English walnut, then watch as the trunks are sliced lengthways into vast slabs. Down to the nearest centimetre, we can specify how thick and wide we want them to be.
And this isn’t just the case for rare timbers. When we’re sourcing British oak, we’ll buy a full tree too. That way, we can be certain that the colour and character will be beautifully consistent, and that those all-important live edges remain intact.
But like all great stories, this tale needs time before it reaches its grand finale. Once sliced, our freshly cut slabs need to be air dried at the mill for at least two years. They are then kiln dried as an added extra, until they are ready to be transported to our Wiltshire workshop.
Once here, our craftmanship takes centre stage. Fast forward a few weeks, and that timber will have been transformed into its exquisite new incarnation, perhaps as a table, desk or bench. And when that furniture finally leaves our workshop, we will feel immensely proud that we know it’s provenance. From tree, to timber, to table, we can talk our clients through its entire journey. From Forest to Home.