From bog to table
March 12, 2021 11:43 AM   Subscribe

The Jubilee Oak is a five-thousand-year-old, perfectly preserved 42-foot long bog oak, discovered in 2012. Now it's being turned into a really, really long table. Just drying the wood was in itself a multiyear process. The wood has the density of ebony, and the individual planks take 18 people to move. Here's the story of Hamish Low, the craftsman leading the project. The project blog has lots of cool detail on every part of the process.
posted by kaibutsu (19 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm not saying that this project is definitely going to anger a millennia-old bog dryad, but if you wanted to, this would be a good way to do it.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:09 PM on March 12 [27 favorites]


This is fantastic.

From the website:

When faced with these huge trees emerging from the peat it always makes me wonder what it must have been like for nomadic family groups to wander through forests of such vast trees.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:35 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]


It was important to bring all ten of the Jubilee Oak planks into the workshop in their correct orientation to one another as we could turn them over, but it was impossible to turn them end for end without closing a road in East London.

That made me laugh. That's not something you want to make a mistake on too many times. I really admire the craftsmanship and just the huge amount of effort. I'm not yet sold on the final table, but suspect the renderings really don't do it justice - and a lot of its impact will come down to its location and lighting etc.

This image was the one that I found best gave me a size of scale and that it would make for a pretty comical 2 person meal with visual "can you pass the salt?" gags.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 1:16 PM on March 12 [6 favorites]


Wow! I didn't see anything about what they are going to do with the rest of the planks. I'm curious if they are getting cut down
posted by nolnacs at 1:49 PM on March 12


Build a longer table, not a higher wall and all that. Wonderful post, thank you
posted by FirstMateKate at 2:42 PM on March 12


Very cool! I have a piece of polished bog wood my Irish cousin who dug it out of the local bog gave to me when I visited. It is quite small but lovely and reminds me of my Irish roots.
posted by mermayd at 2:58 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]


I would like more details on that river join.
posted by aniola at 3:19 PM on March 12


Regardless of how cool the table ends up being (and I think it will be really cool), I think it would be a lot of fun to work on a project like that. In the stuff I do I am the main organizer/manager of the projects, which is fine, but seeing the photos makes me want to be just helping out on something cool.
posted by snofoam at 4:47 PM on March 12 [3 favorites]


I would like more details on that river join.

The blog post on the river joints is more detailed than the (more picture-heavy / word-light) front page.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:00 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


aniola: It looks like there's some pictures of the river join work on instagram [2], which helps me get a better idea of what's going on.

Working backwards, it seems like it's a matter of making a two templates by cutting a single template board in two, with the particular curvy-cut that you want. How to pick the curvy cut? Find a path which wastes as little of the two adjacent boards as possible... Seems to involve bonkers quantities of tracing paper, in practice. (at least when dealing with 13 meter boards.)
posted by kaibutsu at 5:02 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]


Its still only 2/3 the regulation length for a game of table cricket.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:17 PM on March 12 [4 favorites]


I wonder if any scientists have tried making bog wood using some kind of artificial process. I looked but I found nothing.
posted by interogative mood at 6:07 PM on March 12


Coming to Ikea in 2022, Bög. Available in sizes 10m to 15m, colors include black, large item shipping charges apply.
posted by Cris E at 7:02 PM on March 12 [7 favorites]


I wonder if any scientists have tried making bog wood using some kind of artificial process.

That’s basically what the ebonizing process is.
posted by jedicus at 7:26 PM on March 12 [7 favorites]


Pity they cancelled the printed IKEA catalog: imagine the fold-out section just for Bog!
posted by wenestvedt at 8:52 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]


This is a pretty amazing project. I'm glad they are finding an appropriate use for that amazing piece of wood. I have a few beautiful boards I can't bear to start working with: I need my skill to develop to a point where I feel worthy. And a fitting project.

I've blackened oak by throwing a finished carved piece in a bucket of rusty water left over from cleaning some old tools in a citric acid solution. Works surprisingly well and quickly.

Since "bög" is a slur in Swedish, can guarantee it will never get used for a product name. "Svartek" maybe.
posted by St. Oops at 9:38 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]


"In 2012 Hamish Low and his team made an incredible discovery. At over 13 metres long and perfectly preserved they found the buried giant of that ancient high forest."
Doesn't that state that Hamish Low and his team are 13 metres long and perfectly preserved?
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 3:38 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


I hope they use the jig they used to make the river join to make a table or tables, too.
posted by aniola at 6:51 PM on March 13


Wow! I didn't see anything about what they are going to do with the rest of the planks. I'm curious if they are getting cut down

At least one and probably more have had sections cut out to patch bad sections of the table top planks. And they still need to build the pedestals for the top to sit on which will presumably use the same wood.
posted by Mitheral at 12:02 PM on March 15


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