English brown oak is a result of a Beefsteak fungus (fistulina hepatica) growing on an oak tree. The fungus reacts with the tannin in the tree changing the colour a rich brown. Needless to say this makes it rarer than standard oak and therefore a bit more pricey. I have used a few times before and it is good to be able to offer clients a rich dark timber without having to resort to importing an exotic species or using a stain.
Today I visited Jack Clark in Leigh Sinton. I had stayed overnight with family in Worcester and woke up to freezing fog and a hard frost. I set of with a bit of trepidation, not looking forward to having to trying to select boards in the freezing cold. However as I drove out of the city the sun broke through and revealed a beautiful clear morning. Jack has been in the timber industry one way or another since he was a young man and is one of the few suppliers who has really good quality brown oak. His small timber yard is full with planked trees and is a world away from the bigger yards I sometimes use. He is always happy to help me go through and select out what I want. After an hour and a half in the fresh morning air he made a proper cup of tea (tea leaves in pot) to warm us both up whilst we did the paper work.