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The Wonders of Enchanting Elm: Our Live Edge Elm Woodblock

As you all know, we are ‘waste no want not’ here at Prickly, which certainly was the basis for developing our Live Edge Elm Woodblocks…

It started with my pals down the road from the mill having a load of local elm that needed using. We had not commissioned the cutting of the tree, it was a waste product that we saw purpose in, so myself and husband Alan cut, sanded, branded and oiled them by hand in the mill one weekend and… voila… another perfect way to bring the nature of the Highlands into your home.

What is the oil you ask!? Well, we used Danish linseed oil that is organic and non-toxic… without a single solvent, metal drier or VOC in sight! It is also 100% food safe and has been being made the same way since the 18th century. Since we are big advocates for traditional processes, we had no doubts it was the perfect Prickly partner.

Elm has been significant in Scottish history and folklore and was particularly valued for… guess what… it’s roles in wool dyeing! For a weaver to create a pattern in the weave more easily, elm helped enable intermittent colours in woollen yarns via a process quite like tie-dying. The elm’s inner bark could make twine which was tied tightly at regular intervals – which formed ‘hanks’ of the yarn that resisted dye from touching the wool. Following from this, natural yellow dye could also be created from the elm itself… and just when you thought they were done with the wood, the leftover leaves could be fed to livestock too!

Elm has also been useful to Scots for its flexibility and pliancy which made ideal sticks for playing shinty, called a ‘caman’; and its moisture resistant qualities meant it was hollowed out into water piping before metal came into play. It’s also been the common material for coffin making! Not just for its physical attributes that meant it was durable underground, but symbolically in ancient Celtic treelore, the elm is intricately associated with death and a healthy transition into the underworld.

So… excellent elm… we are delighted to have found another use for this powerful, high-quality and exceptionally meaningful wood – one that will see this precious, one-of-a-kind live edge block be a part of your life for generations to come.

To reserve your Live Edge Elm Woodblock click HERE.

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