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“It renews your faith in craftsmanship.” [MW, Lyme Regis]

18th-27th August 2018

Daniel Lacey Design & Furniture

Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design


18th - 27th August 2018


Daniel Lacey Design & Furniture

Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design is filled with special exhibits that have been expertly created by knowledgeable craftsmen and women, using timber that has taken years to grow and mature before being given a new life as a wonderful heirloom piece of furniture.  Daniel Lacey has taken this to another level however with his drinks cabinet, that is on display with us this year, which has been crafted from timber dating back to the Mesolithic Age (or Middle Stone Age) when the only humans in the area were hunter gatherers, centuries before the first settled farmers!


The ‘Solway Bog Oak’ after excavation and (inset) the beautiful character and figure of the machined timber within.

The bog oak that he has used was discovered beneath a 7,000 year old layer of peat just 40 minutes’ drive from his workshop in Langholm, Dumfries & Galloway.  Quality bog oak is much sought after by furniture makers and to recover a log this old is highly uncommon and all the more so because it is 7m long and nearly a metre wide.  In Britain most bog of oak of furniture quality comes from East Anglia, and is highly prized by furniture makers and connoisseur-buyers.  A log from the north is therefore particularly rare and unusual.

“It’s remarkable to work with wood like this because the tannin present in oak reacts with the minerals it has absorbed over the millennia to give it an astonishing nearly-black colour and a very unusual lustre. The colours are very subtle – something that people who love wood really watch out for.  It’s also quite something to think that this tree, which grew by the Solway Firth all that time ago, has been rediscovered and can be used to create furniture designed to make the most of its special character.” Says Daniel.


Daniel Lacey starts to work on his drinks cabinet.

Image courtesy of Euan Anderson.

Interestingly, during the drying process, shrinkage/cell collapse creates a remarkable juxtaposition in weight.  Fresh green oak weighs around 1200kg/cu.m and when dried and ready to make into furniture it weights around 800kg/cu.m.  The bog oak, even though saturated when fresh out of the bog, weighs less at around the 800kg/cu.m but when dried and ready to be made into furniture it is around 1100kg/cu.m.

The ‘Solway Bog Oak’ in stick after planking at the start of its slow and careful drying process.

The wood itself has a high iron content, helping make it very hard, and adding to the distinctive orange and black colouring that it has given to pottery when colleagues Miles-Moore Ceramics began to experiment with using it for a glaze.  They found that the bog oak sawdust has a very high mineral content—10x the content of contemporary timber!  The cabinet was appropriately first exhibited earlier this year at Spring Fling, a local open studio event that covers both the location of the logs discovery and Daniels workshop.  We are delighted to now have it on display in Cheltenham this year alongside his other beautiful work and that of around 70 other designer-makers.

The ‘Solway Bog Oak Drinks Cabinet’ and Daniel Lacey.

Images: Courtesy of Euan Anderson (L) and Colin Hattersley, Spring Fling Open Studios 2018 (R).





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