Although classed as oak, the wood found in bogs comes in various important types - pine, yew, oak and larch.
About eight thousand years or so ago the Earth’s climate altered and the present wetter and milder climate came to be the norm. All the great forests of before now found competition from various grasses, mosses and heathers increasing. This along with poor drainage and the build up of dead material (leaves etc.) caused areas of waterlogging. The trees could not long continue to survive these boggy conditions and many died, fell and rotted.
Now, the lack of oxygen in this combination of waterlogged materials prevents natural decay and much of the wood was preserved. The bogs however continued to grow apace, in some areas up to forty feet in depth.
As time passed, man discovered that by harvesting blocks or sods of peat and drying them it could be used as a source of fuel for cooking and heating, thereby uncovering some of the preserved logs. It was also discovered that the chemical reaction of natural tannin mixing with the highly mineralised water containing iron caused the wood to turn brown shading to black.
Such background events give bog oak a wonderfully rich history. The fact that most bog oak initially came from Ireland and England obviously gives added value due to the wide and varied history of these countries
The advent of carbon dating has allowed us to verify the actual age of the wood, this gives the wood an added mystique all its own. To be able to say a bit of wood is 2000 or 5000 years old is a great conversational piece ‘Was St Patrick alive when this tree was growing?’…. Quite possibly!!
Early uses of bog oak included furniture and ornamental pieces, it became extremely popular in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. From inkstands to chessboards and chessmen, celtic crosses, brooches, letter racks, pipes and now pens. The variety is impressive……
Bog oak has sophistication and quality as a wood, with some superb, but subtle, figuring, together with its distinctive black colour.
All adding together to make an excellent gift