Traditional Oak & Timber Co (or Tradoak) is a family run business started by Neil Peskett in 1992. Today’s interview is with Russell Peskett who joined his Dad in 2008 and now does most of the day-to-day work and managerial responsibilities.
Workshopshed: What is it about oak that makes it so appealing?
Russell: Oak is beautiful, it’s a simple answer but the truth. The grain pattern is so rich with character and colour. The older it gets the darker it goes, so some of our 400+ year old beams are vibrant browns and dark reds. It’s fantastically strong and great to work with. It is “The mighty oak” after all
Workshopshed: You work with both new and reclaimed oak, how do the two differ?
Russell: Reclaimed oak has been used before and “reclaimed” from buildings. This can range in age from 100 to 500 years old and is incredibly characterful, and very strong. The newer oak and dried oak is fresher looking, more contemporary and generally lighter in colour and squarer. Still very lovely though!
Workshopshed: Some oak framed buildings are hundreds of years old, how do you ensure your projects will last as long?
Russell: Oak is one of the oldest construction materials on the planet. It’s been used in buildings and ships for not hundreds, but thousands of years. We ensure it will be OK, through history telling us it is.
Workshopshed: Your case studies show a mix of modern CAD and traditional techniques, how do you ensure your team has the right skills?
Russell: Working with oak and oak framing is not really something you can look up in a book or take a college course on. You have to gain experience through working it yourself and have it handed down. Our framers and yard men have years of experience in both fields and know the material very well.
Workshopshed: Oak can be very hard, what kind of effect does that have on the tools and cutters?
Russell: It blunts them, simple as that. We need to keep the band saws, circular saws and chainsaws in perfect order and razor sharp. New and dried oak is not too bad but some of the reclaimed beams are like stone. When we are slicing reclaimed beams for flooring on our large band saw we can go through a band per cut…. Not per beam, per cut. It’s very tough!
Workshopshed: Reclaimed oak seems to come from a lot of places, what’s the strangest place you received oak from?
Russell: I’m not sure about strange but I think church timbers are always the most interesting. The carvings on them are amazing and imagining the history they have seen, it really makes you wonder.
Workshopshed: Russell, thank you for your time and responses. Tradoak work hard to make sure that each client’s needs are fully understood so that the best oak is selected and every project is delivered to the best standards. If you wish to know more about traditional oak or want to get the team involved in your project then you can contact Traditional Oak & Timber Co at their website http://www.tradoak.com