Bog oak found near Ely entes six-month drying phase

A 5,000-year-old fossilised oak tree discovered in the fens around Ely in September is now beginning its six-month drying process as the project continues to transform it into a treasure for the nation.

The giant ancient oak was discovered perfectly preserved in the fen peat of Southery and was painstakingly lifted from the ground and transported down to London as part of a project to create a table to honour the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Despite measuring a gigantic 44ft in length, biologists believe that what they have found may be as little as a quarter-sized section of the full-sized tree.

This week, the giant oak was successfully sawn down into 44ft-long plants and placed in a special 15-metre long drying facility at the Building Crafts College in Stratford, London.

Once full kiln dried, the fine woodworking students of the college will help create a the unique 44ft long table which will be given to the nation.

Project director and Fenland oak specialist Hamish Low, said,

“These enormous and very precious planks will need to be arranged carefully and precisely in the kiln where they will remain for six months until dry, and therefore stabilised and preserved.

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It is usual at the end of the drying process to have removed from the timber a staggering 3.2 gallons of water per cubic foot – more than 50 per cent of the tree’s volume.

More support is needed to complete the project. Follow the project on Twitter @FenlandBlackOak and visit this site regularly to watch the progress and find out how you can help.