Rycotewood Furniture Centre has been highly respected in the industry for over 80 years. They offer the last remaining furniture degree programme nationally that has craft at its core – every student has their own workbench. Throughout the project, students are able to make full use of the professionally equipped workshops, learn from highly experienced teachers and get vocationally relevant training.

The first step in the making process for the students, to get hands and eyes in for an entirely untried material, they were each given a single 1000mmx200mmx200mm board and just a week to produce a simple storage piece. This revealed machining issues for some, but techniques were quickly adapted to material and red oak emerged from the process with broad approval.

Following the initial tests, the students were each given two cubic feet of American red oak to create their final storage piece. Many found the process fairly smooth and the red oak very easy to work with, not to dissimilar to the properties of any other oak.

It wasn’t difficult to work with,” said Daisy Brunsdon. “I’d definitely use it again and this has tempted me to explore other hardwoods too.”

I experimented with various finishes and tinctures, and the colour was just not an issue,” added fellow student Michael Buick. “I didn’t have a problem with it.”