All the timber used in Westwind’s buildings is sourced from responsibly grown, managed woodlands. Having worked with oak for nearly 30 years we have a deep understanding of the natural characteristics of oak and the processes needed to optimise its function as a building material.
Green oak is the industry term for freshly felled oak which has not had time to dry. When an oak tree is felled it has a high moisture content (as much as 80%). At this stage we convert the fresh logs into beams at the saw mill. Each beam has a specific function and follows a detailed plan which has been expertly masterminded by our in-house design experts.
Green oak shrinks but this only starts when the timber reaches a moisture content of around 30%. This is called Fibre Saturation Point. The shrinkage occurs across its grain but not along its length. Understanding the natural transformations timber goes through, such natural occurrences are not a problem and are considered in the design and the individual handling of each piece of wood.
The best timber for framing comes from fast grown oak. This because it is stronger and has less knots than slowly grown oak. As the right cultivation is of vital importance, we source our timber from responsibly farmed forests in France. This is because in France, oak is grown more like a crop to create long straight logs. They do this by inter-planting or under-planting the oak with nursery trees. As the trees grow larger, both the nursery and oak trees are thinned out, so the crowns of the oak get enough light.
Eventually, the forest contains large, widely spaced, fast-growing oak trees, with a dense under-storey of shade loving plants to discourage any side shoots in the oak. In contrast, British woodlands tend to have a mixture of species and are used more for recreation, as the oak produced has a wide crown and many side branches.
For more information on the sustainable properties of oak, please visit our Sustainability page.