Every Oak is a unique project
The Rya farm, located about 30 miles from Kährs factory in Nybro, is characterized by its lush Oak forests, meadows, and surrounded by old stonewalls. Some of the trees are more than 500 years old. Rya has perfect conditions for forest growth, with fine clay soil and slopes with running water near the roots of the trees.
“It is high time that we harvest some of our trees. There has been no Oak or other wood harvested in Rya for many years now. Old and large Oak trees need to be removed when they are ready for felling,” explains Karl-Erik Bigelius at Rya. Around 300 cubic meters of oak are to be delivered to Kährs.
He says that forest owners find it difficult to mark Oaks for cross-cutting. The marking must be performed in the best way possible for the logs to be cut correctly to the right length without being damaged, which is crucial for collecting the best timber. There is also a demand for the wood from the branches of oak trees, which is turned into woodchips which have a high energy value. The most valuable oak trees are 12-20 inches in diameter.
It is high time that we harvest some of our trees. There has been no Oak or other wood harvested in Rya for many years now. Old and large Oak trees need to be removed when they are ready for felling.Karl-Erik Bigelius at Rya
The intrinsic power of Oak
Leif Svensson and Pontus Grönlund are two experienced woodcutters at Leif Svensson Handel med Ek, one of the contractors working with Kährs.
“It's really exciting to handle Oaks. Every Oak tree is a project in itself. No other wood species is as diverse as Oak – it can be very valuable, or it might only be used for firewood or woodchips. We have to have respect for the Oak, as there is a lot of power and vitality in these trees and in their branches. Harvesting Oak is more technical than just felling by force. Once the tree has been felled, the trunk is pruned at the top so that the woodcutter can get a good idea of its size and quality,” Leif Svensson says.
“The challenge lies in the fact that Oak trees are so heavy that you simply cannot just do whatever you like. Branches can spring back and fly several yards. They can also turn over if you are really unlucky,” adds Pontus Grönlund.
A large Oak could weigh five tons. While the woodcutters have to be efficient, they also have to proceed with caution and consider nature as well. A number of lofty Oaks are being left to stand at the farm in Rya.
“Oak which has been marked correctly for cross-cutting will fetch a better price. And at the same time, Kährs gets the right raw materials for its production,” says Leif. On a good day, two men can cut enough trees to fill a truck and trailer; that is around 30 cubic meters of trees.
Leif has also harvested Oak used in the renovation of the royal ship Vasa. “Visiting the Vasa Museum in Stockholm and realizing that Oak that I had felled was there in the bowsprit of the ship was a quite special feeling.”