As of June 2004, we are able to re-saw, plane,
join and sand down timber according to customers specifications.
This allows customers to order & collect
timber from us which is cut exactly as they wish, whether it is
a kitchen worktop ready-to-go, or several pieces that the customer
is going to make into an item of furniture. The service is very
popular with adventurous DIY homeowners and hobbyists.
Timber that has been dried should be kept
in a reasonably warm, but dry, area.
this end, we constructed a "Dry Room" in 2001. This is
a 1,500 sq ft "building-within-a-building". At the time
of writing, additional insulation is being fitted, but otherwise
there is no heating in this area. Two dehumidifiers help to keep
moisture levels down.
The moisture content of kiln dried timber
will gradually increase after kiln drying until it reaches the Equilibrium
Moisture Content (EMC) with the surrounding environment. For this
reason, many people keep the timber in the house that it will end
up in for a couple of weeks or months before starting work on the
timber. In this way, the timber should more-or-less achieve the
EMC of the house.
database is at the very heart of the Lisnavagh Timber Project.
It contains details of every plank that we
have sawn. Not just it's size, shape & grading, but also which
tree the plank came from, why the tree came down, and even photographs
of that tree. The database also values every plank according to
it's size, species, moisture content, features and so on. The database
carries out over 20 calculations for each board before arriving
at a price, and can revalue our entire stock in about ten minutes.
The database records details of all customers
and enquiries, which helps us to tailor our sawmilling to suit likely
demand. The database also tells us, for example, that 35% of our
customers found us via the Internet and 20% of customers were referred
to us by other customers.
All invoices, statements, supplier agreements,
traceability reports and more are also automated via the database.
We are also building a "Timberpedia"
on the database - an encyclopaedia of trees and the timber from
those trees - a version of which will appear on this web site.
We believe that we have the most traceable
commercially available timber in Ireland, and perhaps the world.
We trace our boards back to the source. Not just to the landowner,
nor just to the wood, but to the tree itself.
a tree is selected by the Lisnavagh Timber Project, it is given
a unique reference number and it's history and details are recorded
onto the database. A photograph or two is also generally included
for each tree.
At sawmilling, every board is given a unique
reference number as it comes off the sawbench, where it is immediately
measured and graded. The board's reference number is automatically
related to the tree's reference number.
In this way, and at the touch of a button,
we can tell customers exactly where there timber came from,
why the tree came and what has been done to replace that tree. Photographs
of the tree are also available.
Tree Planting & Maintenance
Trees either grow because they are planted
by man, or they grow from a trees seeds which have germinated.
trees or woodlands are where the older trees have shed seeds which
germinated to become seedlings, then saplings, and then trees. This
is referred to as "Natural Regeneration". Whilst young
trees can often grow successfully without any help from man, a little
management can encourage favoured species to survive the dangers
of nutrient and light competition from other species damage by vermin,
especially in the early stages of growth
the growth of trees by natural regeneration is not always a good
thing, especially if the original provenance of the mature trees
that are producing the seeds is poor. A genetically poor tree will
more than likely produce substandard seedlings. On the other hand,
a good tree (with a straight, single trunk, well formed branches
and in good health) will produce good seedlings. Whatsmore, these
trees are more genetically adapted to their environment than, say,
a tree that has been imported from elsewhere in the country or abroad.
trees by hand is laborious but it (generally!) means that the forester
ends up with a wood comprising of the species that he intended to
grow there, and they are of the same age. Depending on species,
trees are often planted at spacings of as little as 1 to 2 metres
(2,500 to 10,000 trees per hectare). The whole wood is managed in
the same way at the same time, whereas a self-seeded wood will require
different management regimes for different trees, depending on their
stage of growth.
Seedlings are sown at nurseries (from seed
taken from mature trees), and grown there for a year or two before
being sold to foresters for planting in woodlands. Sometimes, these
seedlings or saplings are "undercut" to improve the growth
of the roots and give the tree a better start in life after being
planted. Plants are usually sold with a Certificate of Provenance
which identifies the original seed source.
the first few years, it is important to control the weed growth
around the young trees. Plants such as willow herb, briars, bracken,
nettles, grass and so on will take advantage where they can and,
if left uncontrolled, the young trees will face dangerous competition
for nutrients and light from the weeds. Whole plantations have been
lost in this way, and we have weather conditions in Ireland that
are particularly suitable to for encouraging vigorous growth.
Rabbits, hares, grey squirrels, livestock,
deer and other animals also need to be controlled - either by fencing
the wood or using tree tubes. Unfortunately grey squirrels are a
serious problem. These creatures are not native to Ireland. (Most
or all grey squirrels in Ireland are said to be descended from squirrels
released at Castleforbes in Co Longford in about 1911). The grey
squirrel does not fit well into an Irish woodlands ecosystem (it
has forced the red squirrel away from many areas, including here
at Lisnavagh) and as a result causes a lot of damage by stripping
bark off trees, etc. Deer populations are also increasing rapidly
(partly due to a lack of control in some of Ireland's larger forests).
Deer graze the young trees (causing the stem to bifurcate, or split
in two) or they use trees to rub the velvet off antlers when the
trees are about 2" in diameter (say, 5 years old). This also
rubs the bark off and the tree can die as a result. Six foot fences
and tree tubes can help, though they are both expensive options.
Culling of deer and grey squirrels is sometimes necessary.
So, growing trees can be quite challenging!
After a few years, pruning of trees is advisable, in order to reduce
the number of knots in the timber in later years. This also means
that the wood is more accessible.
By the time the trees are about 20 years
old (depending on species, rates of growth, etc.) some of the lesser
trees are "thinned" out of the wood, leaving the better
trees to grow on in a less crowded environment. Ideally, thinnings
are then carried out every few years until the final crop of trees
is left to grow on until maturity.