When redesigning our website we were asked to come up with 4-5 reasons you should shop with us, so these could be highlighted on our home page. We failed miserably as we came up with the 31 reasons below... in no particular order.
All our designs are original.
We often start with a traditional classic, but then we give them a contemporary twist and adapt them to our modern day living.
You will see that most of our product designs come with a story of their own. The inspiration stems from our ethos of #wemakethethingswewishexisted. Sometimes it is something we need in our own home. Other times it is designed as a gift for our friends and family.
Our focus has evolved over time as we have gone through the different stages of life, from entertaining young children to trying to keep teenagers organised and finding the perfect solution for the people around us. All along the way we like to celebrate and remember life's special moments...
Our craftsmen have laboured to perfect their skills, working with oak, they know the things they make will stand the test of time.
They know how oak behaves when used every day and use their skill to make the heirlooms of the future, bringing the natural beauty of the wood into our everyday lives!
Amazing Customer Service.
When you call or email us it is normally Caren or Gena who answers you. Nothing is too much trouble. ‘No’ is hardly ever the answer. They will ensure that we have all the details of your order, send you proofs when we are not sure, work with you on adjusting your artwork and generally keep you informed about the progress of your order. They co-ordinate all requests with a mix of an iron grip and a soft touch depending on who they are dealing with.
Get in touch to discuss if you have any ideas or requests you are not sure about, and between us I am confident we can find a solution.
All the wood we use come from certified sustainable sources, of course.
The majority is kiln dried by an old family run sawmill in Italy, using timber classified as European super prime oak. We have worked with them to set up a system so that they mill logs to our specification. It means we get the planks in the sizes we need, and therefore don’t have to transport any waste material across Europe. They know the quality we want, help us plan for our peak periods and still are responsive when we say suddenly start selling an exceptional amount of swings...
For some of our products (doorstop and mileposts) we use green oak, i.e. not yet seasoned. This we source from trusted contacts more local to us.
Zero Waste Policy.
In the Oak & Rope workshop we strive towards zero waste. Off-cuts from one job can be used to make new products, and we even collect all the sawdust and compress these into firewood. These briquettes are sold to generate income for a local charity… Soon we will be using the sawdust to create our packaging material (see below).
In the making of one of our best sellers, the boot pull, we produce some interestingly shaped off cuts which we thought we could give a further life in their current form… They make a great gift set with an unusual story.
When we were looking for a sustainable gift bag to put them in we came across All Cotton and Linen, a great company who shares our outlook. Among other things they sell and promote the use of all-organic-cotton-mesh produce bags which you can take with you when you go shopping or for storing your food in. It is another way of reducing the amount of plastic we use. In the way it didn’t take long for us all to learn to take our own shopping bags to the shops, I think we will quickly get used to bringing our own produce bags too!
Bespoke Design Service.
Because everything is made in our own workshop - if you would like to make changes to any of our designs to meet your particular requirements, that is very often possible. If you have an idea for something completely different, but it is in ‘the style of’ Oak & Rope, we can work with you to convert your back-of-the-envelope scribbles into a truly unique design.
We can do this as a one-off or create a bespoke gift for say corporate clients, trophies for an event or something for you to incorporate in a shop or restaurant.
We have the skills and flexibility to create anything from a lavatory seat with your family crest to a travelling box for your tiara.
Short Delivery Times.
We keep our delivery times to 10-14 days.
We also have a special Fast-Track service which can reduce the delivery time to 5-7 days.
This sometimes means long hours in the workshop for the team, but we believe that in the world we live in most people find it difficult to plan further ahead. If you tell us when you would ideally like to receive your order, we do our outmost to work to that. Whenever possible we would like to ensure you can turn up to the occasion with your perfect present in hand or already sent to the recipient ON or before their event. Nothing makes you (and us) look better!
We do love it when people are organised though, as ‘good things take time’ and ‘you can’t rush something you want to last forever’ are both quotes on the wall in the workshop. If you are one of those people who are able to plan ahead we can 'hold' the present for you, and ship it so it arrives at a date of your choice.
If you really have left it late we also have an 'Urgent' category in our Gift Guide, which allows for 'next day' shipping if you order before noon. Any questions, call us.
Despite being personalised, if for whatever reason you are not 100% happy with something you have bought from us, you can return it and get a refund.
Supports Local Charities.
We collect our sawdust and make them into briquettes, or ‘The Warmest Wood in the World’ as we like to call it. This firewood is bagged up into 5 kg bags and all the proceeds go to Charity.
Everybody can make a mistake. Sometimes we engrave the same thing twice, put an apostrophe in the wrong place or suddenly some irregular markings show up in the wood, and we get what we call a ‘workshop whoopsy’. Rather than throwing them away we put them on the ‘charity table’ in the workshop and sell them at a much reduced price. We have heard rumours about people gifting a ‘Holly’s G&T’ board to someone not called Holly, and that is fine by us. It is still a jolly useful board for chopping lemons…
From time to time we do give raffle and auction prizes for charity events, but sadly we can not do that for everybody who asks. We feel it is more productive to focus our giving to a few select ones, and we feel we contribute more by making and donating medals and trophies to events and causes that we believe in and have connections with.
We also love introducing young people to the joy of making things by organising workshop experience days for local schools.
Made in England
Well it just is. It is where we are and what we call home.
Our workshop is in Kent, also known as The Garden of England.
Our particular part of the countryside is classified as ‘An area of outstanding natural beauty’.
I think being surrounded by such beauty inspires our designs, ethos and quality of work.
We use natural hessian for our gift wrap for a number of reasons: We think it looks lovely with our oak. It offers a natural protection for our finished pieces. You can easily unwrap and rewrap the present for a sneaky peak before presenting the gift. The hessian can be reused either as wrapping or for other projects in your home and garden.
If you don’t want to use it for anything else you can of course put this on your compost heap.
Due to the weight of our products we have in the past been using a lot of bubble wrap, but we are currently working with cutting edge partners to find sustainable alternatives like wool and natural composites which incorporate our sawdust. These solutions are more expensive. Despite being compostable at home they are also re-usable, and we are preparing for a system where the packaging can be returned to us, unless you can put it to good use at home.
Small Independent Company.
Our small company has been through a few ups and downs over the last few years. (See Our Story here). As a result we are a tightly knit team, where every order and every customer is highly valued.
There is numerous economic research showing the positive impact small independent companies have on our economy overall. People like Holly Tucker are supported by the government and industry to campaign to spread this message (read more here) It makes a lot of sense and we are trying to live by this rule ourselves, even though it is hard when you are short of time and your Amazon Prime account is on all your devices and so convenient!
Not only do you support local and creative jobs, help the environment and build your local community by shopping from small independent companies, but you can also get access to one-offs and generally get a better deal.
It is also true what they say: Every time you place an order with a Small Independent Company, somebody does a ‘Happy Dance’… and the world would be a lot better place if we all danced a bit more…
#votewithyourmoney #shopindependent #shopsmall
Jobs in the Countryside.
Our workshop is in a very rural location (although only 6 minutes from Canterbury) on an old model farm with an interesting history. One of the previous owners was mad about motor racing and put aeroplane engines into cars in these workshops… He drove past Ian Flemings house down the road, and this is apparently what inspired him to write Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang! (and I’m sure it was the inspiration for some of the 007 stories too!)
When we were looking for new premises nearby following our catastrophic workshop fire in 2014, we knocked on the farmer’s door and he showed us these barns full of family ‘treasures’. After a bit of a clean-up we turned some of the barns into our beautiful workshop. The little collection of old and beautiful farm buildings now house architects, a property developer, an IT company, our fabulous café The Independent Pedaler, in addition to our studio, workshop and office.
I don’t know how many jobs that adds up to in total, but we now have school classes coming to do case studies for their Geography course work, learning about text book diversification!
Made to Last
We know that every single hand carved oak piece we make potentially becomes somebody’s heirloom.
The reason why so many of the antique furniture around today is made of oak is NOT that they only used oak. It is because it is the oak that stands the test of time.
It is humbling to make things you know will be around longer than we will. It really means that every detail has to be right, as it represents our legacy. We use a combination of traditional tried and tested techniques, yet make use of the latest and best available adhesives and finishing products.
An heirloom of the future is what you get when you only use the best timber available and when the people who make them know what they are doing…
Letter carvers and rope workers don't come straight out of collage these days. Even craftsmen are few and far between.
Engraving used to be part of the skill set of any maker, as it was usual to at least put your 'makers mark' on any project you were proud of, or happy to 'put your name to'.
If you look carefully you will see initials and dates often carved in prominent place on homes and structures, telling us the 'who, when and where' of our world in stone, brick or wood.
Rope used to be a strategic military resource. If you did anything to put a rope making yard in danger, you would be hung for treason! Nelson's success has been attibuted to the immaculate rope quality and work available to him at the time...
I learnt rope splicing from my Grandfather when I was 10 years old and started experimenting with carving letters when I discovered a strange looking V-shaped chisel among the tools I had inherited. It is now safe to say that I am the worst carver and rope splicer among us, but we have researched old practices, visited wood carvers and collected knowledge and skills that were in danger of being lost. Through the ever growing experience in our own team we are now able to train up new team members and even members of the public who join us for our workshop experience days in these traditional skills.
Gift Wrap Available
This is particularly useful if you would like us to send the present directly on to the recipient, or if you don’t keep a cupboard full of gift wraps.
For the smaller items we use a beautiful recyclable gift wrap, sourced (with great difficulty) from a Scandinavian company who does not like to ship abroad. For the larger items we use our eco-friendly hessian (see above) which is even better as you can unwrap it and have a sneaky peak before giving it away.
Either way we have spent considerable time finding gift wrap solutions which compliments our products and look beautiful. Our gift wrap service is charged at cost and probably a lot cheaper than you could do it yourself… unless you are like us and normally re-use wrapping paper a few times at home.
Thoughtful and Memorable Presents
Not only do our designs provide practical solutions for everyday life, but with your own engraving added, it becomes part of the formative story we pass on to our children. In the same way that photographs influence the memories that survive, the messages that are carved in oak will stand the test of time. Engraved quotes will become family mottos. The use of the Sunday Roast carving board will crystallise a family tradition.
When you give someone a present from The Oak & Rope Company it becomes part of their story!
Easy to use website
We are constantly trying to improve how we present our products to you on our website with accurate and detailed photography, plenty of information and a simple customisation and check-out process.
Technology is forever evolving and our site is moving with it.
However, any problems we are only a phone call or email away.
All the prices are quoted in $, € and £.
When you check out you will be charged in the currency you are browsing in.
The price conversions are linked to the spot rates quoted on the world wide web.
If you prefer to pay in any other currency that can also be arranged if you call our office.
Gifts for Anyone
We have 10 years of experience in creating perfect presents for ‘difficult-to-buy-for’ people. A lot of our products are designs that grow with you, like the child’s stool that become a side-table or the swings that are a toy for a child but become a garden seat for grown-ups. Most designs can be gifted to any age. Take the book-ends: Suitable as a Christening present, a graduation present, great for wedding presents, work as a trophy or simply as a practical book end to keep your special books in place.
The natural beauty of oak compliments any setting, be it modern or traditional. The words you choose can be sentimental, funny or motivational. You really can make these meaningful for anybody and for any occasion.
If you are stuck for ideas, let us know, and we will be able to help.
What started as a last minute birthday present has evolved into 120-130 products in the last 10 years. The inspiration comes from our own every day lives, the people we want to make presents for and from the customers who share our approach to these things and come to us with new ideas we develop together.
We have notebooks full of ideas we have yet to create. The ones we do turn into reality we share on our various social media platforms as quickly as we can, as we really are quite bad at keeping these types of secrets…
Whatever you do it is best done with a smile. We generally keep spirits high in the workshop and the tougher the challenge the more we joke about it.
Once upon a time we made 160 swings in 2 weeks for a special order, and whatever we have been challenged with since has been easier.
Our particular sense of humour come through in a lot of our engravings. The ones that get most comments are the For Butter & For Worse™ butter dishes, Dad’s Nuts™ jars and our Still Pulling…™ boot jacks, but smiles are contagious and our customers come up with their own great engravings that we share with you when we can.
We believe the best presents are those who make you smile, and if the humour is clever it will make you smile every time you use it, which often for an Oak & Rope design is every day!
We do not make trinkets that gather dust on a mantelpiece. Everything we make has a function, is ideally something you can use every day and wherever we can, we make our designs as simple as possible.
Another wise man has said that “Sophistication is not when nothing more can be added, but when nothing more can be taken away…”
Utilitarian simplicity – it must be my Scandinavian heritage.
During the second Christmas season at The Oak & Rope Company we received an amazing order for about 20 boards. All were destined to celebrity families, with the couple’s names on one side and their children’s names on the other.
Somebody with a very impressive address book came to us with all their Christmas shopping. A few of the couples are no longer together, some are no longer with us. I photographed the whole stack of them, but will never share these photos… The customer's continued trust is more valuable to us…
Our swings have touched the bottom of ‘the sexiest man alive’, we have been privy to what is hiding under some of the most famous Christmas trees, travel plans of Royals, names of unborn children and of course ‘in the know’ of endless other secrets over the years.
Every time we share a photograph we check if it possibly could spoil anybody’s surprises, intrude in anybody’s privacy or in any other way identify somebody who have not given their permission explicitly.
This policy definitely paid off when Buckingham Palace released the Matt Porteous photograph of Prince George on his third birthday, standing on the swing we made for his parents wedding five years earlier…
Improve with Age
Like a lot of the finer things in live, they get even better with age… Oak is such a wonderful material to work with. It has already proven that it can stand the test of time. Why are so many of the old timber houses and antique furniture made of oak? It is not because that is all they used! It is because those are the pieces that have lasted for hundreds of years!
We encourage everybody to use their chopping boards, leave their swings and benches outside to weather and don’t worry about getting mud on the bootjacks. It will only add to their individual character.
We are now even offering an ‘aged oak’ finish on all our products for those who want it to look as if their Oak & Rope has been around for hundreds of years…
If you prefer to touch and feel things before you buy, you can come and visit our studio and workshop. It is very much a working space, but we welcome customers to come and simply have a browse or to come and discuss any project or design they may be interested in. Depending on timing and who is available we are happy to give people a quick tour of our workshop so you can see for yourself what goes into making these heirlooms of the future.
We also run workshop days when you can come and learn how to carve or even to make an Oak & Rope swing. You can buy vouchers for these courses on our website.
We are 10 years old this year. Some people are surprised at that, and think we have been around for longer.
I feel we are now experienced enough to really know what we are doing, old enough to show people that we are here to stay but young enough to stay fresh and keep coming up with new ideas.
We have just started offering our ‘aged oak’ finish… in some ways I can not believe it has taken us this long to try this out, but in other ways it makes sense as it does take time to build the foundations of a collection of this breadth.
Our products come with their own care instructions, but through the normal wear, tear and weathering they may need some additional love and attention.
We can either send you some sandpaper and oil for you to attempt to treat blemishes at home or you can return your product to us for some workshop magic.
We can arrange for our courier to collect the items from you but you are responsible for packing the items safely as we can not take responsibility for any damage that may occur in transit.
The rope on our swings may need replacing after a few years. If you return it to us (or our courier collects it) we simply charge for the rope and shipping.
We are not joking when we say our things are made to last. They will need looking after, as all things do, but with the right care the oak is capable of outliving us all!
You will find that a lot of our products are in fact clever storage solutions for the things we use a lot or want to keep on display.
Phone stands, family recharging stations, record racks, jars, sunglasses trays, welly racks and floating shelves, to mention a few. We think ‘A place for everything and everything in it’s place’ is a great rule to live by.
We strongly believe that you should buy the best quality you can afford and take good care of your special belongings. That is why we like to keep them in a designated place and we provide storage solutions to fit in with our evolving way of living.
Passion and Care
I was not sure if this needed it’s own doorstop icon, as it runs through everything we do, but there is so much I want to say about it…
From the discussion with a client about their particular commission, to the delivery on time and even the reaction of the recipient, we really care about getting it right. So often will our creations be the talking point at a significant event, and we want to make sure it exceeds everybody’s expectations.
If there are tears, it should be of joy!
If something goes wrong, we will do our outmost to put it right.
Over the years we have hears so many tales of how much joy an Oak & Rope present has provided, and we can not bear it when something is not right.
Worldwide Shipping and Free UK Deliveries
We are currently offering free UK delivery on all orders.
We are also lucky enough that the courier services from the UK are relatively reasonable and effective. We have yet to come across a destination we have not been able to ship to.
Over the years we have learnt about the various local import peculiarities and requirements too, so we can manoeuvre these for a quick and trouble free delivery all the way to your door wherever you are in the world.