Tranquility Sustainable Timber Floors Please note the ‘Brand Ethos’ statement which covers all products carrying the Tranquility Brand. However, the Sustainable British Floors need the additional explanation below. Conventionally flooring is offered for sale by timber species. This requires trees to be felled when sales require it and trees are felled to satisfy this market. All Tranquility flooring is offered ‘as available’ from trees that for a variety of reasons have had to be felled. Furthermore, all of them have full sustainable status. They come from the very best sources and all these are known prior to agreement to take the logs. The National Arboreta and National Trust premises are the prime sources. When any timber is offered for sale, it is intended that its provenance is provided on the web site. The timber species offered are consequently often going to be extremely rare; frequently just a single large log may be taken. Only a limited volume of timber will therefore be available for sale at any time, and when this has been sold it will have gone. If another log of the same species becomes obtainable later it will again become available, but we should bear in mind that as the UK led the world in collecting foreign tree species from the early 1800s, we have over 1000 species, in addition to more than 1000 species variations called ‘cultivars’. Timbers are therefore not necessarily indigenous to the UK. There is one point of particular note. Trees grow in the natural environment and as such each is different. If you want a totally homogenous floor, where every part is like every other part, then please do not read on. A tree growing in a dense wood will look different inside from one growing on the edge of a wood, and one in a parkland setting very different again. When the soils change so can the internal colourings; and many species are attacked by funguses which further change and intensify the colours. Tranquility floors demonstrate the infinite beauty of a growing tree, complete with all its natural features. So knots are a welcome feature rather than to be discarded. Some logs will demonstrate particularly beautiful features: • Pip: This is usually found in garden or parkland trees or where animals have grazed. Very small lower branches are removed from the growing tree and as they heal the ‘pip’ remains which is the centre of that lost tiny branch. • Burr: This is almost always from trees growing in these same settings as the constant removal of tiny lower branches close together causes bulbous growths to occur. These are rare and extremely beautiful as the grain doesn’t have any direction – or rather there is no grain as such. Such a feature is to be prized, but there is very little of it on any one tree. • Ripple: This shows itself as horizontal character markings across the grain, normally over a fairly short length. The tree appears to have slightly collapsed on itself as it grew, forming horizontal corrugations in the growth, so when machined up it shows as cross banding. It is again highly prized. We currently fell about 160% of the world’s sustainable annual harvest. This cannot continue for much longer or we will suffer the fate of the Easter Islanders. So Tranquility rejects only timber we absolutely cannot use. Inside a tree is the old structural part, the heartwood, which is usually darker in colour than the outer sapwood. When we refer to the colour of a timber we mean the heartwood, which is harder than the paler sapwood. But many trees, particularly younger ones, can have up to 30% of the whole tree as sapwood, which it is not necessary to discard: indeed it is unsustainable to do so. And anyway, the sapwood increases the colours and the vibrancy shown within a floor, so such timber is included in Tranquility floors. To a limited extent worm-marked wood can also be included, as again it is vital that all resources are as fully utilised as possible. This should not be cut out when laying, as fillers will have to be used, and by selecting matching coloured fillers worm-holes will never be seen - though they are part of what proves timber to be 100% natural. Happily, using as much of the timber as possible enhances the visual effect, so Tranquility floors are usually supplied in about 3 different board widths. This allows us when milling (sawing the logs) to make the best use of the available tree width, and multi-width floors when laid will just look impressive and natural, as the eye cannot confuse them with the homogeneous man-made competitor. Not a competitor at all, in fact. One is real and natural and the other is at best managed, and at worst made to look as if factory-produced. Tranquility floors show the full beauty of the growing trees in all their natural glory. These are very much not factory-made products and do not look like them. They are to be loved and admired (by all). Softwood versus hardwood This can be a confusing situation because the definition is botanical rather than practical. To give two examples: Yew is a softwood, yet extremely hard and hugely valuable, while Balsa is a hardwood and surely the softest timber there is. Tranquility is built almost exclusively using softwoods, with only some ‘Tranquility’ hardwood floors, for the reasons exemplified in this comparison between Oak and Larch: An oak tree reaches mature felling age between 120 and 180 years old. Larch is mature in 60 to 80 years. Oaks require to be grown at significant spacings (say 20m) whereas Larch can be grown to maturity much closer (say 8m). Taking the total amount of ‘wood’ the tree has grown when felled, only about 5% of an oak will end up being used, while for Larch the figure is about 25% N.B. the rootstock can never be used; neither can the branches - or for an oak anything above the main trunk; the bark is discarded (yet the tree grew it); the sapwood on Oak is discarded; only the straight timber from bent planks can be used; after drying, much of the irregular boards must be machined off to finish with flat boards; any board splitting from the drying process must be eliminated, and the end shakes must also be removed. So taking all this into account the useable softwood timber yield from a given land area per year is about 60 times as much as for oak. That is 5 times the log yield x 6 times tree density x ½ the time to grow. Astonishing it may be, but this is the reality. It is therefore crucial that in a world short of timber the softwoods should provide most of what is needed, with the hardwoods being used only when trees have to come down to provide essential ecological habitats. Finally, the softwoods produce some truly remarkable timbers, often much more amazing than the hardwoods. But the choice is yours as all timbers sold under the Tranquility Brand are sustainable by our definition.