The Bornholm Cherry Tree
Bornholm is known for its fantastic, beautiful spring when thousands of cherry trees bloom and large areas of the island seem to be covered in a snowlike abundance of white flowers. In mid-summer when thousands of tourists visit the island, there is an abundance of lovely, tasty black cherries.
Very few people know that the Bornholm cherrywood is one of the most beautiful type of wood which exists. With its warm, golden colour and its fascinating hues alternating between yellow and green, it is one of my favourite materials. For many years, I have produced furniture and hand-turned objects using cherrywood from trees that I have cut down, made into planks and dried.
In Bornholm cherry is not cultivated commercially and there are therefore many different types of wood. Some trees grow quickly and others very slowly resulting in large variations in the wood structure and colour.
Yggdrasil, Ash Yggdrasil, the world tree - or tree of life - which from crown to root spans the three levels of the world: Heaven, Earth, and the Underworld. In the Nordic Mythology it is the World Pillar standing in the middle of the world.
The ash has always been one of my favourite wood types. It can be used for so many purposes: Fine furniture, kitchen tools, handles, and garden tools. In the old days, ash was used for waggon wheels and for things that had to withstand great impact because of its strength.
Ash wood is white, but it also has a false nucleus which is brown. Therefore some call it olive ash because it is similar to the olive tree and it belongs to the olive tree family.
Unfortunately the ash trees have been suffering from a fungus disease called ash dieback which is fatal for most trees. The gorgeous elm trees have practically been wiped out due to a similar fungus. Hopefully the same will not happen with the ash trees and we can still get ash for our production.
Inspired by Nordic mythology, I designed a new series of kitchen equipment in 2017 which we call the New Nordic. Starting off with a range of cutting boards.
Common Oak. Quercus robur. Winter Oak. Quercus petraea.
Actually I should like to name the oak tree ‘the Danish teak’. In many ways oak is just as suitable for the things that teak is normally used for.
It is very strong and resilient due to a high content of tannins.
Oak is a much better material to work with compared to teak. Unfortunately we have a tendency to use exotic rain forest wood perhaps because we think that it is “higher quality”! Just think about all the Arose (Iron Wood) which is used in Denmark. It would be much better if we use our own oak wood instead. But the price obviously plays an important role here.
Architects and builders are crazy about using Asorb for harbour constructions and other constructions exposed to harsh and wet weather. A bad idea because there is no sustainability when using this kind of material.
It is worth remembering that many of the old houses in Copenhagen which were constructed on oak pillars are still standing.
Anyway, oak can be used for many things. It is excellent for garden furniture and terrace boards as well as for kitchen equipment and fine furniture.
But remember that oak contains a lot of tannins, so it will turn black if it gets into contact with iron. It is therefore a good idea to use stainless steel for oak.
It is impossible to tell the difference between the wood of the Winter Oak and that of the Common Oak. Whereas the wood of American Red Oak is quite distinctive.
American Red Oak. Quercus rubra.
Red Oak which comes from North America and Canada can be distinguished from the Danish oak by its lobed leaves and its fiery red autumn colours; and by its poorer durability as compared with the Danish oak. Red Oak has a very uniform structure. It is particularly suited for furniture and other objects which are used indoor. The wood has a beautiful brown and golden colour which over time will look very homogenous. In Bornholm, large areas which were planted with Red Oak and quite many of these are now being cut down. The Red Oak that we will be using would otherwise have ended up as firewood or wood shavings. Thus large quantities of good timber end up as wood shavings in a misguided attempt to produce co2 neutral energy.
This also happens in Bornholm and we therefore hope to be able to use quite a lot of Red Oak in the future to prolong the life of this beautiful tree.
Bornholm Rowan. Sorbus intermedia.
Sorbus intermedia is very common in Bornholm. It often grows in hard-to-get-to areas where no forestry is carried out because it is considered uninteresting from a commercial perspective. Driving around the island in the autumn months you will see many rowans with their beautiful clusters of berries. And if you go for a walk after the leaves have fallen, the rowan berries light up as the last fruits of the year.
When I buy stacks of kindling wood I often find rowan among the logs. I use this for kitchen equipment and tables. The wood is characteristic and beautiful with nuances changing between brown, golden and nearly white colours. Being a hard wood it is ideal for making things for the home.