The Victorian ash bed, seen above, is one of the very first furniture pieces we made at Beeline Design. It was made to order for a client here in Melbourne. Along with our Maker’s Tables and early Calypso Stools, this Victorian ash bed basically kick started Beeline Design.
As you can probably work out, we used the above image as a banner for an early version of this website. However, the picture is not really up to our standards nowadays, but it’s nice to know where we’ve been. We’ve come a long way since making that first Vic ash bed, I feel!
Early on we used a lot of reclaimed timber for our projects. Much of this timber we got for free – sourced from friends and work colleagues, scrap yards, or even thrown out in the trash. Now the issue with free timber is that we found that the quality of the material varied greatly. Sure, it was free, but the wood needed a lot of work done to it to get it to usable standards for use in fine quality handcrafted furniture.
For instance, all the nails had to be pulled out and the nail holes filled. Cracks and gum pockets – of which there were often many – also needed to be extensively filled and sanded. Some of the wood was just unusable for furniture, so there was quite a bit of waste involved. Still, the free wood helped to get us started and well on our way and we’re very grateful for that.
Just about all of our early furniture, including the Victorian ash bed and the Maker’s Table, used reclaimed timber in their construction. Our very early Calypso Stools were also made with the same timber. However, one of the sources I was buying my reclaimed timber from started to raise their prices dramatically, so new solutions needed to be taken into account.
New Sources: Victorian Ash Beds Are Now Tasmanian Oak Beds
Before too long we started using new sources of sustainably grown timber, and phased out our use of reclaimed timber. Even though the timber is more expensive to buy, the real cost saving is that there’s much less work to do to clean it up, ready for fine furniture making. Time is money, as they say. First we started buying Vic ash from places like Australian Sustainable Hardwoods, but we soon branched out to other sources as well.
So nowadays, instead of Victorian ash we mainly use Tasmanian oak. Now it should be made clear that the two woods are from the exact same species, Eucalyptus regnans. The only real difference is the location in which they were grown. Even though they’re the same timber, sometimes there is some colour variation – Victorian ash often being lighter and a little more pink in places. Some boards may also be heavier in weight than others, depending on where they were grown. However, the two timbers, Victorian ash and Tasmanian oak, are virtually the same to look at.
That very first Victorian ash bed was, more or less, bespoke or custom made to order for the client. While we never had a name for the particular style, we now have two newer styles of bed for customers to choose from – the Cuba Tasmanian oak bed and the Ridge Tasmanian oak bed.
The Cuba Range features woven strips of fine quality Australian leather that have been used to form panels in the bed head. These panels are then framed in wood. As a piece of traditionally handcrafted furniture it stands to reason that these beds add an extra level of luxury with the inclusion of the leather. The Cuba beds have been one of our best sellers, and we’ve sold quite a lot of these beds since their introduction a few years ago. In fact this is the very same range of beds that we shipped to China last year.
Our newest range of handcrafted furniture is the Ridge Collection and an image of the bed from that range can be seen below. Again this bed features fine-grained Australian leather panels, but this time they are applied over corrugated steel. This gives a gentle wavy effect to the panels and looks quite unique. If the customer prefers, these panels also come in a range of powder coated colours to choose from.
Is it still possible to order a Victorian ash bed from Beeline Design? You bet! Even though both of these newer range of beds have been made from sustainably sourced Tasmanian oak, if you have your heart truly set on a Victorian ash bed then don’t worry – we can still make one for you. We’re also quite happy to use a design created by you or one of our own – or any other piece of handcrafted furniture for that matter. Just let us know via our contact page and we’ll get started.
To read more about some of the timbers we use at Beeline Design – including Victorian ash and Tasmanian oak – click the link below.