This is a lovely wood with a rich orange/ brown heart wood and contrasting cream sap wood. I really like the effects this can create in the puzzles. I try to ensure each puzzle takes full advantage of the detailed and intricate figure (sometimes called ‘the grain’) usually present in this wood.
The yew that I am currently using came from a tree that grew near Hetton (not far from Grassington, North Yorkshire) and was taken down to make way for a new house.
Oak is similar in colour to the brown beech but with streaks rather than flecks. Every bit as strong and hardy as its reputation, a lovely wood to work with. Most of my oak comes from an FSC woodland near Hebden Bridge, but recently I was lucky to find an old fire surround dumped in a skip which proved to be some lovely oak when I had cleaned it up.
The Types of Wood Used . . . . and the sustainability of these pieces is very important to me. All the wood comes from sustainable sources. Most comes from well managed woodland within North Yorkshire, some from recycled furniture that nobody wants any more and some I picked up as drift wood on the Welsh coast a few years ago.
This is a very pale wood without the of the pale beech, but a slight figure (grain) visible. The sycamore that I am using comes mainly from Wharfedale where some trees were removed from a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) as they were interfering with the reason why the site was a SSSI. I use this for all the coloured puzzles as well as the black and white ones.
This is quite a variable wood and can be pale or medium brown, with or without prominent strips. This depends on the growing conditions where the tree lived. The ash that I am currently using came from a tree in Wharfedale that lost a big branch two years ago. I was also lucky enough to find an old chest of drawers in a skip – nobody else wanted it so I rescued it and put it to better use.
Before you start I know this is a ‘Tropical hardwood’ and I should not be calling myself sustainable. However, all the Sapele I’m using comes from one of two very worthwhile sources. Most was washed up as driftwood on the Welsh coast (back in the days when I used to live there) and it seemed a shame to just rot on the beech. The remainder comes from my skip-diving. It’s an old wardrobe door that wasn't wanted any more.
Another ‘Tropical Hardwood’ but from the same beach as the Sapele. A paler, medium brown wood that is most often used for windows and doors as it resists the weather very well.
Once my drift wood has all been used I will not be buying any more, choosing to use hardwoods that are native to this country.
Purple Heart (right)
As it’s name suggests this wood is indeed purple. It is another Tropical hardwood and I have a very limited
stock that I dug out of yet another skip – so if you really like this get your orders in quick as I’d be surprised if I found any more.
This wood can be very pale as the left hand picture (left), or quite brown (right). This is to do with the way the wood was dried after first cutting the tree down. The pale beech has been kiln dried, in my own kiln. The brown beech was air-dried for two years before use. Both have a close grain with numerous little flecks throughout.
The pale beech came from a tree felled near Richmond, North Yorkshire and the brown beech from near Hebden Bridge. Both were from FSC (Forest Standards Council) sustainable managed woodlands.
All the puzzles are finished with a mixture of nut and vegetable oil which is water and dirt resistant. Coloured puzzles are coloured using a combination of dyes not paints. The colour combinations shown are for illustration only and may vary.