My name is Joe Whelan and I am a Professional Chainsaw Miller. I mainly mill storm-felled trees, or those that are ready to come down because they have simply become too dangerous for their environment. From this ethically sourced, predominantly oak wood that I fell, I make garden and indoor furniture, garden structures, sculptures and hand created folk art.
It’s hard to describe the intensity of feeling that occurs when I am milling a tree. Many of the trees with which I come into contact have stood for centuries; they have lived long and magnificent lives, as much as 400 or 500 years in many cases; they have existed and matured through eras that we can only imagine. Think of all those seasons they would have passed through - storm and tempest, chilling cold and searing heat. Silent yet aware, observing. Guardians of the landscape. Eternal, immortal. They deserve our respect and to be treated with dignity.
The felling and milling is the moment when a tree takes on a new role, a rebirth, a new existence, one that could potentially take it hundreds of miles from the habitat from which it grew. Each has a special story to tell. And trees make great storytellers. They have personality, too.
Being in nature is both moving and inspiring. With every tree I encounter, I get a sense of what it is telling me to make and what it wants to become. I believe these trees have fulfilled their lives and are now yearning for a second life. When I open the tree for the very first time, I always experience a surge of energy, released after hundreds of years, that is like nothing I’ve ever felt before. It’s beautiful to behold.
When I mill into a tree, it’s hands on. As I move through the tree, inch by inch, I start to understand what it is that I am to make. Every item I create will have a clear understanding of its identity and where it came from, as if giving me its blessing to proceed. At the same time, the tree is releasing its richness and beauty as nature intended, harmonising the intermittent rhythms of nature and our close connection to the trees.
Every plank or slab that goes into each furniture piece is individually chosen for its grain pattern and colour. The patina looks stunning whilst new and, if carefully looked after, your furniture will look wonderful for years to come - individually crafted pieces that you can enjoy and treasure. I sincerely believe that you will be completely delighted with any furniture purchased from me.
I love what I do. And I’d love to create special furniture for you, too.
Oak Heart Milling