Our designers working on the Woodkits project have lots of tips and advice on using local timber to make small structures.
Jonathan Lloyd worked in Corsican Pine from Angley Wood, kindly donated by Dr Fitzwater, experimenting with utilitarian items such as log bins and hen houses.
"My primary concern is as an artist and my career over 25 years has included many and various ways to fund that particular affliction!
In this illuminating project my involvement has been about experimenting with utilitarian items such as log bins and hen houses and more radically with modular roof structures. For these ordinary items aesthetic considerations are often pretty low priority but this dismal outlook is I think the result of our increased wealth as a nation. We developed an unsustainable taste for oppulence in home grown hardwoods and tropical imports and it's made us lazy about design by allowing finish to substitute invention. As a nation of whittlers we had an inate sense of material and design; now our need to make things has been been subsumed by DIY assembly and it's not a good substitute. Do your children a favour and equip them with pen knives!
I've relished the challenge of dealing with low grade timber, almost exclusively Corsican pine from extraction from the forest, through milling to fabrication. It's very prone to staining and there is a high proportion of waste due to large knots which for most purposes need to be cut out. Excessive movement and moisture absorption, variable density and low durability; I think it would be fair to say it would be nobody's first choice! However in many other countries it would be a valuable resource.
Corsican is perfectly adequate for many purposes and having spent most of the project frustrated by the lack of clear white wood, the penny finally dropped that what would in most eyes be its biggest drawback is perhaps its most endearing feature; the often intense black staining picked up after milling tends to avoid the more resinous knotty areas, creating stark colour contrasts of black and redish brown. I'll admit that surface decoration isn't in itself sufficient reason for its use and for me the jury is still out on its viability, largely to do with the choice that we currently have; a luxury that I don't think we'll have for long."
Dave Green of High Weald Furniture designed logbins in timber cut and milled near to their workshop, reducing transportation to a minimum.
"By choosing furniture made from homegrown timber you can help conserve woodlands and give valuable support to traditional rural industries."
Weald Woodkits is part of a wider programme of projects initiated by the High Weald AONB Joint Advisory Committee to promote productive landscapes whose outstanding natural beauty sustains and is in turn sustained by a vibrant local economy.