Made in Surrey: Bark & Rock luxury notebooks

PUBLISHED: 14:41 11 August 2020 | UPDATED: 18:23 17 August 2020

Up your stationery game with a bespoke wooden notebook. Image: Lewis McCarthy

Up your stationery game with a bespoke wooden notebook. Image: Lewis McCarthy

lewis.mccarthy@me.com

Looking to up your stationery game this September? Look no further than these stunning notebooks and journals made from wood

Bark & Rock's latest product, a notebook made from the burr of the Walnut tree. Image: Lewis McCarthyBark & Rock's latest product, a notebook made from the burr of the Walnut tree. Image: Lewis McCarthy

What do you buy the person who has everything? That’s a question Luke Gosling asked himself before launching luxury stationery company Bark & Rock in 2018.

While working for his father’s personalisation company Proper Goose, Luke found an increasing number of people were looking for something a little different – that special occasion gift that could be used and cherished for a lifetime.

“It started off with us looking at creating personalised wooden spiral-bound notebooks but then, once we started exploring all the different types of woods and how beautiful we could make the notebooks, we realised we could create a much more niche and luxurious product,” he says. “We source the veneer we use from the UK and make our books to order and by hand. It takes our craftsman four days to make a book from start to finish.”

When the wood arrives in Bark & Rock’s West Molesey studio, it’s very brittle so Luke and head craftsman Tamás Gál, use veneer softener and a special machine to steam the wood to 100 degrees or so, which extracts the moisture from the veneer and enables them to bend it to the desired shape.

Tamas and Luke in their West Molesey studio. Image: Lewis McCarthyTamas and Luke in their West Molesey studio. Image: Lewis McCarthy

With Royal Mail recently reporting one in five Brits were ordering stationery in a bid to be more creative, Luke and Tamás have remained busy throughout lockdown with plenty of orders coming in from people looking for that extra special gift to give to someone in lieu of being able to celebrate special occasions in person.

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The range of refillable notebooks, journals, photograph albums and guestbooks, which each come in their own presentation dust bag and box, can be made from a selection of 40 different woods and dyed to suit personal tastes.

Other materials, such as mother of pearl or precious metals, can also be inlaid into the wood to create completely bespoke designs to suit people’s tastes personal interests. “A golfer might want the design of some golf clubs inlaid into the cover for example,” explains Tamás.

Special editions have included silver and 24-Carat gold personalisation – the latter costing upwards of £12,000. A selection of books made from different stone is also available.

At £300 the company’s latest launch, a B5-sized notebook made from the burr of the Walnut tree (the same wood veneer used in the interior of Bentley cars), is one of the more affordable options.

The walnut veneer is only extracted once the tree has passed its peak nut harvesting when the tree is cut down and replaced with a new one. This veneer is not cut from a log but rather sliced into very thin sheets around 0.6mm thick, so it is more sustainable.

“This wood is full of holes and knots, originally caused by insects and fugal attack, so it can be a challenge to work with,” explains Luke. “The final finish is worth it though because no two books are the same due to the natural nature of the wood.” For more details see barkandrock.com or call 0208 941 3481.

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