Saturday, 12 December 2009


I was recently given this lump of Oak by a friend of my Dad's, Leonard Croft, who lives near Scarborough.

Obviously it's only a section of a much longer piece - perhaps part of a beam judging from that cross section?  Maybe from a roof?

Quite a big clue in the photo of the other side...

Hmmm...quite badly fire damaged.

Any guesses??

It came from the roof of the south transept of York Minster when it was damaged by fire after a lightning strike in 1984 so could be 600 years old.  Leonard knew some of the folk involved in the refurbishment and knowing he is a wood carver they gave him some pieces.  Any dendrochronologists out there?

Now what am I going to do with it?


Oak is a great tree and timber and one of the little known things that you can produce from it is a very drinkable Oak Leaf Wine.

Very simple to make - just pick a bucketfull of leaves, pour boiling water over to cover them and leave for 4 days stirring everyday.  Strain, boil again, add the juice of an orange and lemon + yeast + sugar and ferment in the normal way.
You can vary the flavour by picking the leaves at different times of the year and the amount of sugar used.  Some tastes like sherry others like a Rioja.


Anonymous said...

I've never heard of oak leaf wine! I have to try making some next year. Can it be made with young leaves? Are older leaves beter? Tell, tell tell!

The Oak looks interesting. With such provenance I'd have thought church candle sticks would be good sellers, and a fitting end for the wood.

ronald said...

For the oak block: do a sculpture! Henry Moore or Hans Arp did nice things ...


Robin Fawcett said...

"Can it be made with young leaves? Are older leaves better?"

It's ALL good and I can only remember as far back as the last batch!

Young leaves make a light wine and older leaves make a fuller body which can almost be like a Sherry.

Try young leaves, mid season and late season before they go brown.

Richard Law said...

You could make the beam section into nice little matches and build a replica York Minster ;-)