Monthly Archives: January 2012

Say it with oak this Valentine’s Day

If you’re struggling to find that special present for the one you love this Valentine’s Day, I might just have the answer with these beautiful Lovers’ Tealight Holders.

Lovers’ Tealight Holders

Lovingly handmade in the BGO workshop, from sustainably sourced English oak. These unique little blocks of love, exclusive to BGO, are sure to touch the heart of your nearest and dearest.

The Lovers’ Tealight Holders are available for £15 a pair (including 2 tealights and UK mainland P&P).

Please contact me by email: peter@bespokegreenoak.co.uk or by phone: 07973 863 511 to order yours today.

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BGO Natural Bird Boxes

Helping Our Feathered Friends

One of Bespoke Green Oak’s flagship small products is the BGO Natural Bird Box. I was really pleased when I came up with the idea of developing a BGO Bird Box as it fits in so snuggly with all that BGO stands for.

The design is simple, functional and, of course, elegant. Like everything that comes out of our workshop near Romsey, the Bird Boxes are lovingly handmade. They are made of natural, honest and recycled materials, including off-cuts of sustainably sourced English seasoned oak and recycled slate. And to underline their green credentials further, they will provide our native garden birds with 5 star accommodation to raise a family in year after year.

BGO Natural Bird Box with recycled slate and lead roof.

Bird Box Design

Designing a useful bird box is not as simple as you might think. There are lots of key design features you must get right to keep our feathered friends safe, dry and happy.

I followed the RSPB’s recommendations for details such as the internal space, height of the entrance hole from the bottom of the box (to prevent hungry pussy cats reaching in and scooping out the residents!) and the provision of drain holes. The size of the entrance hole is important too, as it will determine which particular bird species will be interested in moving in.

The RSPB also suggest that the inside surface below the entrance hole should be rough, to help the little fledglings climb out, when the time comes. I decided I could do better than simply leaving it rough. So I cut a number of grooves leading up to the hole, making a sort of baby bird ladder.

Inside detail of the BGO Bird Box, showing the baby bird ladder.

I’ve left the oak untreated, with a sawn finish so it will blend into it’s natural surroundings, without making the little birdies breath in any potentially nasty fumes from paints or stains.

To clean out the box you simply lift off the slate roof. It’s a good idea to do this each Autumn, after the feathered visitors have left, so that it’s clean and tidy, ready for next year’s guests.

Order your very own BGO Natural Bird Box today

So the BGO Natural Bird Box certainly has a lot of green credentials. With all its recycled and natural materials and of course its intended purpose of providing shelter to little love birds looking to start a family! Not only that but its stunning good looks will make the neighbours flap with envy!

BGO Natural Bird Boxes are available for £40 (plus £4.50 UK mainland P&P). Please contact me by email: peter@bespokegreenoak.co.uk or by phone: 07973 863 511 to order yours today.

Let us know who’s moved in

I’m hoping to use this blog to track the use of BGO Natural Bird Boxes across the country. If you’d like to take part in my mini ornithological survey, get yourself a BGO Natural Bird Box, put it up somewhere in your garden and send us news of any love birds that take up residence. Or even better, see if you can take some photo’s of the little chaps as they’re coming and going! I’d love to hear from you.

The RSPB’s website provides important advice on siting and cleaning your bird box.

More small BGO products can be seen in the small gallery on my website.

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Bed Commission

Green and seasoned oak double bed.

Here’s a few photo’s of a recent commission that I delivered to a couple in Oxfordshire last November.

The head and foot boards are both made up of a pegged green oak frame, with seasoned oak in fills. Random curved grooves were added to the in fill boards, to great effect. The head and foot are tied together by longitudinal stretchers, using large lapped dovetails to lock them in at either end. Diagonal bracing to the central stretcher prevent racking. Larch slats provide a base for the mattress.

At their wedding, instead of having a normal wedding gift list, the couple asked for contributions to a furniture fund, from which they were able to pay for this bed. A lovely idea that has given them the opportunity to commission a unique and personalized handmade marital bed.

Please visit the medium gallery on my website to see photo’s of other bed commissions. And if you like the idea of having a truly unique bed, handmade to your own design then please do contact me by email peter@bespokegreenoak.co.uk or phone 07973 863 511

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Ancient Trees – ‘King of Limbs’

‘King of Limbs’, Savernake Forest, Wiltshire.

I visited this ancient pollarded oak tree, on a fairly gloomy day, back in November 2011.

Ancient oak tree, King of Limbs

Hidden away down some muddy forestry tracks it would be tricky to find this tree without a map of the forest (available from the Marlborough library) or a local to guide you. Luckily I had both!

The King of Limbs is so called due to its huge spreading limbs. One of which has sadly broken off and can be seen lying on the ground in front of the tree. It is still a very impressive tree, thought to be around 1000 years old! Back in the day, the tree would have been used as a marker due to its wide spreading branches. Apparently its hollow trunk was at one time burnt out inside but thankfully the tree has recovered.

Radiohead’s most recent album ‘King of Limbs’ is thought to have been named after this tree. They recorded part of a previous album ‘In Rainbows’ at the nearby 18th Century Tottenham House and presumably paid it a visit while out in the woods.

I find it both inspiring and awesome to be in the presence of such an old living thing. I whole heartedly recommend getting out there and discovering an ancient tree close to you. If you do please send me some photo’s so we can share them with other tree huggers on this blog.

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Ancient Trees

The Woodland Trust’s  Ancient Tree Hunt 

The Ancient Tree Hunt began in 2004, as a joint venture with the Tree register of the British Isles and the Ancient Tree Forum. It aims to involve thousands of people in finding and mapping all the fat, old trees across the UK and is right at the heart of the Woodland Trust’s ancient tree conservation work. It will create a comprehensive living database of ancient trees and it’s the first step towards cherishing and caring for them.

Ancient trees are living relics of incredible age that inspire in us feelings of awe and mystery. They have helped shape our history, and will help shape our future if we let them. Incredibly there are more ancient trees in Britain than any other country in Western Europe. In fact a churchyard in Scotland is thought to be home to the oldest living thing in Europe, the ‘Fortingall Yew’, thought to be 5000 years old! So why don’t you get out there and find some of our big old trees for yourself. Here are some useful websites and books to get you started.

Websites/blogs:

http://www.ancienttreehunt.org.uk/

http://www.treeregister.org/

http://www.ancient-tree.org.uk

http://www.treeblog.co.uk

Books:

‘The Heritage Trees of Britain and Northern Ireland’ by Jon Stokes and Donald Rodger

‘Meetings with Remarkable Trees’ by Thomas Pakenham

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New Year – New Blog

Happy New Year to everyone and a very warm welcome to my new blog!

Why set up a blog? Good question. And one that I have been using to justify its neglected presence on my to do list for so long!

Well I’ve finally come round to the benefits of keeping a blog. I’m hoping this blog will complement my website www.bespokegreenoak.co.uk and make it easier for people to keep up to date with what’s going on in BGO’s workshop. I’m also hoping that the blog will be a more informal place for me to share news, photo’s and general musings on all things woody. And hopefully get comment and feedback from all you good people out there.

So please feel free to pop back every now and then to catch up with the latest goings on, or why not sign up to receive email notifications of new blog posts by clicking on the follow button at the top right of the screen.

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