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About kelo wood

Kelo wood – grand and unpredictable

A kelo tree is an old, vertically dried tree that has dropped its bark. Its surface is greyish, and the inside is reddish, with growth in the north ending at 300–400 years. Becoming a kelo tree takes a few decades, after which the tree can stand for hundreds more years.

When drying standing up, the tree drops its bark, its surface goes grey, and the heartwood turns into redwood. The features of the wood include cracks and burls that give it a distinctive look. The reddish-brown colour of the heartwood is clearly stronger in northern pine than in southern trees.

Kelo wood is almost always twisted, with the twisting notably stronger on the surface than in the heartwood. The twisted structure improves the tensile and bending strength of the wood. Generally, kelo coils are twisted anticlockwise, i.e. left to right viewed from the bottom. The direction of the twist is assumed by some to be due to the effect of the Coriolis effect, or the direction of the rotation of the sun. As a result, the kelo structure does not twist or warp significantly like a log house made of fresh wood would.

As a furniture material, kelo wood is rough and natural. It is durable but needs to be given space to live. Over the course of time, kelo furniture may develop small cracks, which form part of the nature of the wood.

Acquisition of kelo wood

We acquire kelo wood together with our long-term partners. All our kelo wood comes from normal commercial forests, and its origin can be verified. The kelo wood is acquired by collecting individual trees from large, difficult to access areas, and only about 5–10 m³/ha of kelo can be obtained even from a good forest felling area – kelo wood is a valuable material.

Specialist equipment is used for the processing of kelo wood, including both forest tractors and trucks. The most important piece of the special equipment is the so-called kelo grapple, which prevents damage to the kelo wood when loading. In winter, kelo wood is mainly collected by hand and transported on snowmobiles to the side of the road. In the summer, quad bikes are used.

The supply chain for kelo wood is long and multi-stage. The road network and factors such as frost and snow in the autumn and winter can cause challenges.

Quality and characteristics of kelo

Kelo wood does not have uniform quality criteria. A good quality kelo tree for construction is greyed-out wood with a hard surface, and a small amount of bark and brown surface may be permitted on a short stretch of one side of the log. Kelo wood must not have surface or middle decay or significant handling marks. It is inherent in the nature of kelo wood that it becomes patinated over time and due to the influence of the weather and the light of the sun, and small surface defects disappear. Healthy bumps and burls are natural qualities of kelo wood.

A second-grade coil that is more affordable than one of first quality can be used, for example, in smoke saunas, storage buildings and shelters. Generally, the second-grade material is used as a raw material for sawing. This is the best way to utilise kelo wood’s red-coloured heartwood.

The red pine develops over hundreds of years in the old pine as its thickening slows. When this happens, the heartwood of the pine becomes reddish. Fresh heartwood is difficult to distinguish by colour from the wood on the surface, but when dried, the kelo sawn timber becomes a beautiful red when exposed to light and air.

Kelo sawn timber is used for, among other things, ceilings, weatherboards and eaves, furniture and fittings. The kelo wood surface gives the interior and exterior of buildings a genuine wall reminiscent of round kelo trees. Huliswood processes the cut surfaces into kelo panels in Karstula for this purpose.
The kelo beam, on the other hand, is a tougher product.

Kelo vocabulary

Kelo

  • Dried upright, bark-free and grey, coniferous, usually pine.
  • Usually only pine is used for construction; a fir tree decays while turning into a kelo tree.
  • Most often, the reason for a tree becoming a kelo tree is that something that has damaged the tree, such as lightning, a forest fire, a blow from an axe, or the like.
  • A tree can also become a kelo tree normally as it ages.
  • A kelo tree can be hundreds of years old, for example, ‘Big Tree’, which fell in Saarijärvi in the Pyhä-Häkki National Park in 2004, began growing in 1518, its volume was 8 m³.
  • There are many explanations for the twisting of the kelo tree, but the prevailing view is that it is caused by the direction of the movement of the sun, and that the kelo generally twists anticlockwise, that is, from left to right when viewed from the root of the tree.

Suosto and Niko, Nika

  • A tree that has not fully become a kelo tree, but is partly brown on the surface and has some bark cover but is dry inside.
  • The soft and dark surface layer is much larger than in a genuine kelo tree.
  • A kelo tree can also be a tree that has fallen on its roots, and a tree that has transformed into kelo tree on the ground.
  • The properties of wood that has artificially been turned into kelo wood, so-called artificial kelo wood, can be called ‘suosto’. This wood is not suitable for use as construction kelo wood.

Aihki

  • A very old and slowly growing live pine tree.
  • The trunk is covered by a dry and hard bark – shield bark.
  • The crown has thick branches, short and bushy.
  • The heart is dry, and the surface is still fresh.

Pine

  • The generic name for large old pine trees and normal large logs.