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W. & S. Butcher


English Hand Tools with Jim Hendricks

  The Mystery of the 5300 Years Old Box 1 of 4  

When we think of tsunami we usually think of the Far East but 5300 years ago, if the stories are to be believed, a huge tsunami swept across a tropical North Sea and hit the east coast of England.

What is now Norfolk was decimated and a huge forest of English oaks were flattened in a blink of an eye. The trees thus felled were instantly buried below the bog and starved of oxygen and so did not decay as other plant life would.

Five millennia later, irate Fenland farmers caught their ploughs in these mighty oaks exposed by centuries of farming. Initially, they burnt the offending obstructions by the ton until the immense value of this wood was realized and they were harvested for the gorgeous timber it yielded.

Using the historical data from dendrochronology, annular ring patterns dated these samples to over 3000 years before Christ.

I happened to discover this amazing and rare wood at my local exotic timber supplier and have been saving these little blanks for a very special occasion.

Well today, such an occasion arose and so the blanks were shaped and whittled into two pieces to form a box for a tool which will soon be leaving the shores where those ancient trees first grew. All will be revealed soon but I thought I might share the fascinating story of the unique wood that is Norfolk Bog Oak.

Bog oak has the most amazing characteristics far different to working any other species alive today. My first task was to establish first exactly true edge.

With very sharp edges near silk finish can be obtained.

Planing of this wood is very smooth but still the grain direction needs to be observed.

Learn how. Discover why. Build better.
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W. & S. Butcher

Preston Planes


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