Posts Tagged ‘carving’

Wooden Wonders part six: yew – a hard softwood! by Kate Cashmore

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, is full of magnificent trees.

As part of our half term Wooden Wonders event taking place from 14 – 16 February, Kate Cashmore from Westonbirt’s learning team has created a trail which will help you find out about our hidden wonders.

Here, she highlights some of the Wooden Wonders that you can discover when you follow the trail.

Yew, though a conifer, grows slowly and has very hard wood.

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The older, heartwood is dark and the outer sapwood light, which combination is used for decorative effect by carvers for example for bowls.

The different qualities of the two woods is used to great effect in longbows – by combining a strip of heartwood with a strip of sapwood, the bow can bend in the most effective way.

The oldest wooden artefact dug up in Britain, is a yew spear 150,000 years old!

The trunks tend to grow in strange shapes – look out for them along the path as you follow the Wooden Wonders trail this half term.

Useful links
Find out more about the Wooden Wonders event
Buy great value Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum membership
More great activities for families

Wooden Wonders part four: lemon and lime? by Kate Cashmore

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, is full of magnificent trees.

As part of our half term Wooden Wonders event taking place from 14 – 16 February, Kate Cashmore from Westonbirt’s learning team has created a trail which will help you find out about our hidden wonders.

Here, she highlights some of the Wooden Wonders that you can discover when you follow the trail.

No, the British lime is not related to the fruit tree. But it is still a very useful tree.

Although it is a hardwood, the timber is relatively soft, and is sought after for carving as it can be worked into very smooth, fine detail, for example leaves and flowers on friezes.      

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Lime trees have been coppiced for thousands of years, and if you walk into Silk Wood, you can see a lime thicket which is from one tree, 2000 years old. The inner bark is strong and fibrous and can be twisted into rope or even woven into cloth for clothes.

Useful links
Find out more about the Wooden Wonders event
Buy great value Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum membership
More great activities for families