On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Austrian Federal Forestry Office, which was taken out of the national budget and re-established as a joint stock company in 1997, Austrian Post has come up with something very unusual for a stamp: a stamp in the shape of an oak tree made from real oak wood.
StampNews.com is glad to present this unique item to collectors’ attention and invites everyone to appreciate the idea of creating such an original stamp!
Oaks (lat. Quercus) are easily recognised even by lay persons thanks to their characteristic lobed leaves and their fruits. In Austria the main native varieties are the common oak and the sessile oak. In the eastern regions of our country, oaks are widespread and play an important economic role. They can reach a height of up to 40 metres and live to an age of around 1,000 years.
The wood of the oak is one of the most valuable native woods for use as a veneer. Oak is also used for parquet flooring, doors, window frames, steps and furniture.
It is also particularly important for the production of wooden barrels for high-quality barrique aged wines. Acorns, the fruit of the oak, have a high starch content and are an important food source for wild animals. Oak bark is also used in medicine.
The oak has a hard, uniform, dense wood, characteristics which are ideal for pro- ducing high-quality veneers since they prevent the wood from breaking easily. Its high strength and ease of processing, together with the uniform structure and colour of the wood, make oak a popular and trendy wood for furniture making.
All of the oak stamps were made from thin sheets of veneer from oak roundwood. For this a single tree trunk was used, originating from the Austrian Federal Forestry Office’s territory in Breitenfurt in the Wienerwald. This noble oak was around 210 years old, 30 metres tall and had a diameter of 75 centimetres at chest height. It was harvested especially to make the stamps.
All of the remaining stages in the production of the first Austrian stamp made of wood were likewise undertaken by Austrian companies. The roundwood was processed by the Vienna based company rausgebrannt in collaboration with partner companies. rausgebrannt specialises in the implementation of unusual ideas and has already produced creative designs in a wide range of materials using the most up-to-date laser technology. Production of the wooden stamps was a technically challenging undertaking – wood is a living material which “works” and also changes according to the air humidity.
The short drying time for the wood meant there was a risk of splitting or deformation, and the fact that the surface of the veneer is not entirely even because of the natural wood grain made full-surface printing difficult. The tree shape was punched out of the oak veneer by means of laser cutting and laser branding. For this an in-house developed process was used to ensure nice clean edges. As a result, each oak stamp is a unique item in the shape of an oak tree and with the special feel of the renewable raw material wood.