Cal Barrel Redwood Grov

Long ago, William Morris established drawing design inspiration from nature as one of the tenants of the Arts & Crafts movement. Knowing this, and being a fan of wood, I’ve always wanted to see California’s coastal redwoods. I recently checked this off my ToDo list.

When I arrived, I was awe-struck by what a peaceful and tranquil place groves (and forests) of redwoods are. I eventually learned I was hearing the presence of tannins — or more accurately the by-product of tannins. I  normally think of tannins as a critical component of the fuming process; but now I will also remember them as the genisus of the peaceful, quiet environment that exists in redwood forests. Redwoods contain a significant amount of tannins, much higher levels than the typical white oak tree both in density, and quantity — because they are much larger trees. It is one of the reasons why they live so long–the high levels of tannins provide a barrier that prevents infestation from termites and other harmful insects. The absence of bugs renders the redwood forest a less than ideal place for birds to live, and hence creates a quite, peaceful atmosphere. But it is what you hear in the absence of wildlife that made it truly inspiring to me.

When a subtle breeze winds its way through these groves, these gentle giants come to life, swaying and sometimes rubbing against one another. And that is when you hear the unmistakable sound of creaking wood. Not the BANG or CRACK we hear in the shop when a processed and dried board moves, but the subtle creaking of really big, really old, really ALIVE wood. It, is a very cool sound.