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5,000 Year Old Oak Machined into Massive Table for British Monarch

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June 10, 2022 | Bill Esler

London, UK—A huge, 5,000 year old oak tree found in a bog has been fabricated to a table that is more than 42 feet long. It was donated to the British nation to preserve the memory of the ancient wood and dedicated in May to Queen Elizabeth’s 70th year as ruling monarch.

The Jubilee Oak, as it is known, is the rarest, most prestigious timber in Great Britain, as well as being a material with unique structural and aesthetic features. The “Fenland Black Oak Project” led to a masterpiece of unique design, as well as considerable symbolic worth.

A team of dedicated craftsmen set themselves to the challenge of preserving this giant from the Fenland, a marshy district in eastern England. To keep the exceptional tree whole, it was sawn, sliced, kilned, and fashioned into a “Guinness world record” table from 42-foot planks. Machining was done on technology from SCM Group (IWF Booths B6953-B6973), a L’invincibile s7 planer.

On May 17, 2022, the table was unveiled by Princess Anne at the prestigious Ely Cathedral in the county of Cambridgeshire to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. It will be housed in this magnificent Gothic building, northeast of London, surrounded by fields that conceal, in their depths, a large number of black oaks dating back thousands of years.

L’invincibile s7 was particularly well suited to hard, quality wood like the Jubilee Oak because the inverter on the feeder allows the operator to adjust the entry speed of the piece being machined. “In order to work on planks of this size (42 feet long and 1.5 feet wide) weighing 330 lbs. each, required a machine with an extremely powerful motor,” says a workman on the project.

Other features such as its pneumatic adjustment, adjustable thrust on the infeed and outgoing rollers, lent themselves to the particular project.

“The planks were sanded by hand, so it was essential for the surface planer to guarantee an excellent finish quality,” says architect Mauro Dell’Orco, project design coordinator. “We were very confident that the possibility to easily control independently the pressure of both the feeding and the rubber dragging rolls would have led to that result.”

At IWF 2022, SCM North America will introduce two new technologies—the Maestro Power TMW and a
Robotic Nesting/Doweling/Banding/Sorting Cell—both of them entries in the 2022 IWF Challengers Award competition. SCM North America is also holding a woodworking project competition at the show, with the winner to be announced August 26.

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