Here's what this environmentally friendly Wiganer is doing with old bits of wood

An eco-conscious Wiganer has found a knack for turning old bits of wood into something quirky and fun.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 10:39 am

Dad-of-two Keith Irwen, from Appley Bridge, has made a big career change, swapping selling and supporting software for businesses, for something more environmentally friendly.

And that is running his own mobile tree milling service called Tree Cycle 2020, which he set up in June last year.

It sees Keith attend people’s homes and businesses across Wigan and the North West with his mobile saw mill and help make valuable timber from what would otherwise be waste. This can then be turned into furniture such as table tops.

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Keith Irwen with reclaimed wood from an old lock gate

Speaking about the inspiration behind his business, Keith, 56, said: “In November 2019, I was selling and supporting software for businesses.

“I’d had enough and wanted to do something outdoors.

“I’d seen that Wigan Council had taken down a big horse chestnut near Wigan Infirmary and that people were taking the wood home as fire wood which I thought was a real waste.

“I thought I could start turning wood into more useable timber but then the lockdown come and I ended up setting Tree Cycle 2020 up in June.

Wood being used by Keith Irwen

“I provide the service to people who may have taken their trees down but they want to keep the timber.

“I’ll then mill the wood into useable timber which they can use for things such as beams and furniture.”

Some of the bits of wood Keith has found have been some old lock gates which the Canal and River Trust had removed from the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

He has sawed that wood and sold it to a timber dealer, Wood Mines on Cricket Street, Wigan.

Furniture produced by Keith Irwen

He said: “The lock gates had been under the canal for 40 years.

“Some of the wood had turned purple as the iron on the gates had reacted with the water which had soaked through it.

“So I decided to sell it to Wood Mines who are a local timber dealer.”

Eight months into his new business, Keith said things were going well and that there is a demand out there.

He said: “It’s getting bigger all the time. I want to stop good timber being used as fire wood or wasted.

“It’s definitely more environmentally friendly and that’s my main aim.”

For more information and to find out more about using Keith’s service, visit Tree Cycle 2020 on Facebook.