Wedding Gift Guide
One of The Oak & Rope Company's specialist subjects is wedding presents. The significance of inscribing the couple's names in solid oak, the symbol of strength, resilience and longevity, is pertinent in these beautiful heirlooms of the future. Our guide below will hopefully inspire you to find the right present for your couple.
It is hard to know where to begin to describe the significance of inscribing your names in oak.
There is the sheer joy of seeing your name next to the name of your sweetheart. Do you remember daydreaming in class at school, doodling the name of your first love and daring to write your own name next to it? Hoping you didn’t jinx it by doing so, or even worse, somebody would catch you doing it and tease you!
Letters carved in the bark of a treetrunk is a universally recognised romantic gesture. Even bus shelter graffiti can express undying love.
Carving names in solid oak takes the romance to the next level - the very symbol of strength and longevity
Our Oak and Rope designs connect these daydreams to everyday reality by placing your names on unique yet practical pieces you can use every day.
Our creations are the centrepieces of life’s milestone events and become part of your life. They remind you both of the “butterflies in the tummy” moments whilst having the strength and durability…
Along the way they will develop their own unique patina, becoming more beautiful and more loved every year that goes by...
Over the next few pages we will tell you about our best-sellers and why they have become so important.
The original wedding present - The breadboard
Long before there were wedding presents in the sense we know today, the wedding platter or wedding board was a thing.
The meal that follows your wedding ceremony is known asthe wedding breakfast. Traditionally the wedding ceremony was held after mass and the whole wedding party would fast before the ceremony. So the meal was “breaking the fast”. There would be a beautifully carved board typically with the couple’s initials used to display and cut the cake or bread. The intricacy of the carving and decoration varied according to the wealth of the family and the craftsmanships available. Today the meal at any wedding is still called a wedding breakfast regardless of what time of day it is served.
Through the centuries much focus has been given to carving beautiful recepticals for items of limited supply, such as salt, spices, butter, sugar, nuts, tea and coffee. Following a few poor harvests and the Corn Laws of 1820s bread platters became high fashion among those who could afford them. They were used to show off much valued loaves of bread. Some of these were pieces of art. A few have survived to this day.
The abolishment of the Corn laws, more reliable harvests, commercialisation of baking and eventually the introduction of sliced bread, demoted these boards to the back of the cupboard. However with the growth of artisan bakeries, beautiful loaves are again becoming the focal point of our gatherings, and these call for breadboards to match...
Our round boards make wonderful centrepieces for your special day. For the ‘forever after bit’ these are used as bread, cheese, chopping or serving boards. They are hand carved by our master carvers most often with the couple’s names and the wedding date, but house names or sayings are also popular. We make them in any size from 38 - 58 cm in diameter, with or without a removable stand. (see page 6/7 in Flickbook above)
How to make a cheese board...
As with everything, it is all about using the right ingredients. Start off with the finest premium European Oak, ideally from a tree which has grown in a carefully managed forrest just the right distance away from the other trees for about 70 years. This means the tree will have been stretching towards the light rather than shoot too many branches out to the sides, resulting in timber as straight and uniform as nature allows.
Make sure your oak is then milled by an experienced forrester, ideally 6th generation. This means that not only will you have the best cuts of oak, but the drying out process will be managed just right and trees will be replanted for the next generation...
The next step is to plane and thickness the planks down to the right size for your board. We recommend three staves (planks) per board, colour matched and with the grain tensions lined up to counteract each other.
Place your prepared piece of oak on your wood turning lathe and turn it into a circle, ensuring that you work with the unique nature of each one, to bring out it’s natural beauty. While the board is still spinning on the lathe you can also sand it to an exceptionally smooth finish.
Apply one coat of oil onto your board to get the first view of the boards particular grain. When the oil has dried you can set out your engravings along the edge, and hand carve each letter with some sharp chisels.
Give the board a light sand all over, before oiling the board and the engraving 2-3 times more.
When you are happy with how your board looks, fill it with 3-4 cheeses, some cold cut meats, seasonal fruit and berries and a chutney of choice. Crackers and bread can be served on the same board.
We recommend that you re-oil your board as described on our website, and that you use your board on a daily basis to cut your bread, prepare your food or place on the table when you gather your loved ones or simply have a snack on your own...