You've heard of food miles, but what about timber miles? The Woodshed from Kendal explain
PUBLISHED: 18:24 25 January 2015
Recycled pallets and industrial cable reels are being transformed into stylish homewares in a Kendal workshop
Most people are familiar with the concept of food miles, the distance your meal has travelled to arrive on your plate. For years now pubs and restaurants have proudly declared that their menus are full of locally grown and reared produce. But what about the rest of the building? The tables, the chairs and the bar? Former tree surgeon Stan Healey is concerned with timber miles, the distance wood products have travelled from the place where they grew.
Since he launched the Woodshed on a factory site just across the river from Kendal town centre just over a year ago, he has used Lakeland trees to create all manner of objects. He said: ‘It’s a resource that’s wasted a lot of the time – it is grown, milled, made into something, then chipped and burned. We want to give it another life before it comes to that point.
‘In the case of trees in gardens, if we can use that wood to make something there are no timber miles. We haven’t moved the wood, just changed its use. I made a desk from a beam at one of the units near our workshop, so again there were no timber miles. And when a big tree had to come down in Carlisle we were able to turn it into a giant octopus.’
Stan, who is originally from Holmfirth in West Yorkshire, has also made children’s play equipment and benches which overlook beauty spots around the Lakes, including the ruins of Kendal Castle. He spent 20 years as a tree surgeon, working around this country and in Australia, New Zealand and Germany before setting up in Kendal.
He sold the tree surgery side of his business in 2007 but retained Woodmad and launched Woodshed in late 2013. Woodmad uses fallen trees in situ to create large scale pieces, while Woodshed collects old wood from around the region and transforms it into items for the home and garden.
‘We started collecting old wood, partly because there’s nowhere to buy old wood and rather than it going to firewood, we can make it into something new,’ he said. ‘We are not designers and we don’t claim to be fine joiners, it’s chicken shed joinery, but we make interesting, chunky stuff.’
Alongside the chairs made from old pallets and tables that used to be doors are wine racks, garden planters and sleek tablet stands. Stan’s partner Andra Hickisch, who he met while he was working in Germany, also created a range of Christmas decorations out of wooden pallets and old floorboards.
‘The Woodshed is in its infancy but wood recycling has taken off. We are drowning in wood and we have not scratched the surface. When some stuff comes in it’s not obvious what it could become but sometimes you can see a table top or something in it straight away.’
Stan and Andra have showcased their products at the Holker Garden Festival and at Kendal’s Christmas markets and the couple are planning to be at more shows and festivals around Lakeland this year.