Oh, that’s what that word means…
Given as the Common Name and the Biological name of the tree
Given as Hardwood or softwood depending on species
Where it grows/ it’s origins, inc where we source it from eg ‘SE England’ Typical growing sizes of the tree – dependent on growing conditions i.e. soil content, local climate, orientation and prevailing weather. Availability – common or rare/easy to source or not – some species are grown very low numbers, or only ornamentally and are therefore harder to source and available volumes are low and prices can reflect this.
Descriptive. timber colour and grain pattern, whether it can be treated, painted etc and how it works. eg. prone to split when nailed etc
More technical info – on movement/stability, durability, strengths, density, particular values that are relevant to the appropriate uses. Fixings and metal components & tannin
Grown in the UK.
The term for large dimension felled logs
The useable (usually the lower& branchless) part of a log
The French term for a log butt that has been cut through and through
The outer zone of wood that, in the growing tree contains living cells and conducts sap.
The inner zone of wood that, in the growing tree, has ceased to contain living cells or conduct sap.
This the process of taking one raw material eg. log and converting it to another material for use eg. beam or T&T board
Through & Through plank is where a log has been ‘sliced’ right through the length with the bark left on. This is how we mill the majority of our logs and is always done to a specific thickness.
Cut to size, meaning the timber is cut to a nominal width and length in a nominal thickness and sizes indicated are pre-planing dimensions
Planed all round, meaning planed on each surface apart from ends, usually to specified dimensions i.e. the required finished sizes
Fresh Sawn timber, also known as Green, is timber newly cut from the log. It is timber still in a soft state, it hardens as it dries.
Air Dried timber is timber that has been left to season in the open air. Rule of thumb for Hardwood air drying is 1 year per inch of thickness to be fully seasoned. The reason for drying timber is to reduce the moisture content within and therefore reduce the chance of movement once in use. Air dried T&T timber is suitable for external joinery/furniture/cladding/ etc.
Kiln Dried timber is fully seasoned AD timber that can be further dried in the kiln. This takes the moisture level down from that achieved naturally in the open air so that the timber can be used in our very dry, centrally heated homes without risk of extreme movement.
Boards that still have the bark left on the sides, left as T&T or sometimes, e.g. for cladding, one edge is squared and one left waney. Waney edge timber is usually tapered, having the natural shape of the log i.e. the tree is wider at the base and narrows higher up
Square edge, meaning the Waney edges of the boards have been cut off so that the timber is squared and usually rectangular shape rather than tapered. This is usually how imported timbers are supplied. Square edge also refers to a profile cut from Fresh Sawn timber for cladding.
Feather edge is a profile, usually cut from Fresh Sawn timber, for cladding and fencing use. It has one thin edge and one thicker edge.
The sectional outline of the timber i.e. the shape you see if you sliced across the grain
These are the shaped profiles , often called architectural joinery, that will finish off the interior of a property. The door linings and architraves, the scotia, the picture rails, dado rails and skirting boards and any other decorative finishes that might be required.
Western Red Cedar
Timber grades vary depending on the requirement. Structural timbers are graded depending on their use and fitness for purpose. Joinery (inc furniture, flooring etc) timbers are graded on their visual qualities. For more information on grading see Structural Grades or Joinery Grades
This term refers literally to the ‘character’ of the timber species i.e. the typical look, feel, behaviour etc it displays. It can also refer to a grade when talking about Oak, more than any other species, and generally means that the timber has too much ‘character’ to be able to make the plain, clear, knot free grade that some joiners and woodworkers like to use and which we call Prime. See Making the Grade for more information
Timber that is mostly knot free, clear and straight grained. See Making The Grade for more information
Determined by the way a tree grows, different on every species. The main visual quality of a piece of wood is in it’s grain pattern, perhaps second only to Colour.
The colouring of a timber depends on it’s species, age, the soil it was grown on, weathering and many other factors. It is probably the most important visual element in choosing a timber.
This is a term used to describe the way timber cladding, or any timber left unfinished externally, weathers as it dries and hardens whilst exposed to the elements. After a period, averagely 1 to 2 years, the colour will fade to a quite beautiful grey, silvery colour. To prevent this the timber must be protected with an external finish of some kind on a regular basis. To restore timber to it’s original colour would require sanding or planing work and the original colour will be revealed under the silver surface.
The occurance of Pippy knots in a timber is due to a species specific (usually Oak and Elm only) behaviour and results in a very attractive knot and grain pattern, also known as Cats Paw.
Peter the stockman
Peter has worked for us for over 30 years (he won’t thank me for telling you that) and knows all there is to know about the timber in the yard. He manages the stockshed and the kilns and you’ll know him by his hawaiian shirt and cheeky grin!
issues to be considered for use of structural timber : re: loading ; bending, tension, compression, shear, elasticity also :sapwood, knots, slope of grain, deflection, distortion, self-weight of frame
Our resident Visual Strength Grader Steve (TRADA Reg.no.5183) will be glad to grade your structural Oak to BS5756 if required. Call and ask him for advice on 01730 816941.
Also known as Woodland Management. The management of land and trees with regard to protecting the natural woodland environment whilst facilitating forestry based industries.
Forestry practice that involves the harvest of young growth of Ash, Hazel or Chestnut by cutting back stumps to ground level that quickly re-grow. The material harvested has many uses including for thatching, fence making, lath & batten making, and makes very sustainable fuel supply. We use coppice for our lime plaster laths and for fencing.
Likely to be the key factor in choice of species for cladding and external joinery work, the choice coming down to whether to use a preservative, a modified timber or rely on natural durability of a timber species and it’s ability to achieve a desired performance
Natural Durability: The inherent resistance of wood to attack by wood destroying organisms (BS EN 350.1) and in this classification relates to the resistance of the heartwood to attack by wood decaying fungi
|Class 1||Very Durable||–|
|Class 2||Durable||Cedar of Leb, Chestnut, Oak, Yew|
|Class 3||Moderately Durable||WRCedar, Walnut, Cherry|
|Class 4||Slightly Durable||Elm, Larch (3-4), Douglas Fir (3-4), Scots Pine|
|Class 5||Not Durable||Ash, Beech, Sycamore|
The TRADA test for durability class involved timber being buried in the ground and measured the susceptibility to infestation and rot. It is not a measure of durability for typical uses eg: beams and posts, cladding, windows and doors, furniture etc. The actual service life of any species of timber may be a very long time depending on the fixing, design and detailing, orientation and prevailing weather.
TRADA states that timber species rated as durability Class 3 or better can be used without treatment if non-durable sapwood is excluded (BS EN 350 Durability of Wood… statement)
This refers to how well a species works, whether it is easy or difficult with hand tools or machine tools, and is usually related to grain patterns, hardness, acid or resin content etc. Generally with dry hardwoods the more wavy grained and knotty they are, the more tricky they are to work. Fresh sawn timber is always softer and therefore easier to work.
The ease with which a wood can be penetrated by a liquid eg. a preservative. There are classes for which species are rated.
Wood is a good insulator, has good U-values, in that it does not conduct heat well. By the same token it has bad thermal mass, in that it does not store heat well. This makes wood great as an insulator, as a barrier to stop heat getting out or cold getting in, which why it is great as flooring, external cladding and roofing. For this same reason it is not the ideal material to put over underfloor heating but if used, once the floor is up to temperature it will maintain the level of ambient heat required to heat the room but will not be able to store heat and therefore will probably use more energy than a material that has good thermal mass. It is also a good electrical insulator
The u-value (thermal conductivity) information for timber is very generalised and gives the value as 0.14 W/m.k .Not much data is available and what is does not go into individual species, although for construction purposes this figure seems to suffice (NB it is based on data for material 1 metre thickness) Ref.
All solid timber has a moisture content and this is measurable to within a few percent. Moisture meters are available in varying types and accuracies. The moisture content of a timber changes due to a natural rate of drying once sawn, the mechanical drying process and in response to atmospheric conditions.
Guidelines for levels of moisture content are given in BS 1186-3 as follows
|Exterior Joinery – all||13 – 19%|
|Interior Joinery – Buildings with intermittent heating||13 – 17%|
|Interior Joinery – Buildings with continuous heating to room temperatures of 12º-19º||10 – 14%|
|Interior Joinery – Buildings with continuous heating to room temperatures of 20º-24º||8 – 12%|
Also know as moisture movement. Can be estimated depending on species Re: Trada data.
Movement is the dimensional change across the width and thickness of boards when the moisture content of timber changes in response to atmospheric conditions (statement TRADA)
Moisture movement is a relative term and species have been given the broad classes of Small, Medium or Large movement
Rule of Thumb: within the moisture content range 5-30% the across the grain dimensions change by the following classes
|Small||1% movement||for every 5% change in moisture content|
|Medium||1% movement||for every 4% change in moisture content|
|Large||1% movement||for every 3% change in moisture content|
to illustrate: a board of 150mm width Oak (Medium) at 25% moisture content will come down to 148.5mm at 21%, 147mm at 17%, and 145.5mm at 13%. Greater width boards are therefore more liable to larger movement.
Layer wood glued to make a solid thickness, width or length
Piece of wood made up from smaller pieces joined together end to end, such as finger joint or built up with face to face or with edge to edge joints
Assembly of worked timber components and panel products other than structural timber or cladding
Separation of fibres along the grain forming a crack or fissure that does not extend through timber or veneer from one surface to the other
Separation of fibres along the grain forming a crack or fissure that extends through timber or veneer from one surface to the other
Separation of fibres along the grain, irrespective of the extent of penetration, due to stresses developing in a standing tree, or in felling, or in drying of converted timber. ‘Shakes’ also refers to the riven timber tiles made for cladding.
These are WRC, Oak or Chestnut timber tiles, made by hand or machine, to clad walls and roofs
This refers to a traditional method of hand splitting wood down the grain. Used to make laths*, battens, shingles and shakes. *Hand riven laths are always the best kind as the lime plaster can grip to the roughly grooved surface of the timber easily.
Horizontal load bearing timbers
Vertical load bearing timbers
Horizontal load bearing timber supported on brick/blockwork over an aperture (window or door to you and me!)
Metals containing Iron – not many common metals are Ferrous free. For use with our timbers containing Tannin (Oak, Chestnut, Walnut, WRC) Austenitic Stainless Steel is recommended to avoid corrosion and staining issues.
Some timber species contain Tannin, and acid that is corrosive to Ferrous metals, eating into the metal and leaving black blue stain on the timber but ironically (not pun intended) makes the timber species more durable.
This is the term we use to assess the amount timber left after conversion i.e. the ‘unusable’ timber separated from the usable timber. We have established averages for waste for the purpose of measuring and pricing, but it varies depending on species, specification and material.
We still operate as a fully functioning sawmill, sawing T&T plank through the autumn/winter season, beam, making laths, fencing and all our waste goes for firewood or sawdust for the local farm
Logs are felled (generally a winter activity) and extracted (generally a summer activity) from woodlands throughout the UK and transported to our site as Round Timber (the whole log with branches cleaned off). We try to keep a stock of as many species as may be needed to cut plank and beam.
To produce Air Dried and Kiln Dried timber we saw the logs in our bandmill into planks of pre-determined thicknesses in anticipation of the future requirements of stock. These thicknesses are cut slightly larger than the required thickness to allow for shrinkage eg: to be able to supply a 25mm /1″ or nominal 27mm board we will cut a plank to 29mm and it will shrink to 27mm whilst drying. Allowances increase slightly as planks get thicker and shrinkage ratio increases.
The planks are then stacked as a whole log with small sticks of timber (usually Poplar) laid between each plank, evenly spaced to allow for constant air flow. These are then stacked in the yard and left to dry in the open air (Air Dry). The time can vary depending on thickness of board and species of timber. Some timbers are more sensitive and dry rapidly eg; Ash & Sycamore. In general hardwoods dry slowly at one year per inch of thickness. The timbers reach a level of moisture content after this time period that allows them to be kilned. Care is taken to avoid stick marks in sensitive timber species.
Beam timber is always custom cut to order so that it is in optimum condition and the customer can determine the exact size required.
Oldest timber building
…in England, the Stave Church at Greensted in Essex, has timbers dated at 12th century. See:
Oldest timber building
…in the world is the Horiyu – ji Temple in Ikaruga, Japan has timbers dating early 7th century( built 607AD) and possibly late 6th. See: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/indepth/featuredarticles/worldheritage/c_6_horyu-ji.html
Mechanical strength of timber should be assessed in relation to resistance to shock, axial compression & tension, resistance to bending and elasticity /deflection. various data sources are available for reference. Trada and BRE are good authorities on technical information on timber.
Timber has minimal deformation during fire and it’s strength is not compromised by extreme heat, therefore risk of sudden failure is excluded. Timber will only fail mechanically after fire has eaten into the wood, which happens gradually over period of time. Steel by contrast, is affected by extreme heat and is prone to sudden failure
Although it is possible to obtain timber in large width dimensions for cladding there are guidelines for dimensions from TRADA that exclude large dimension widths because the shrinkage and movement that can occur will be greater in wide boards than in narrow boards and the same width long lengths tend to bend or warp very quickly, whether bowing off the saw or in storage. The resulting problems with fixing and wastage are enough for us to advise against use of timber cladding in large dimensions, width or length.
Durability of the timbers has been measured by TRADA** to a degree (we assume you are not going to bury your cladding in the ground), but the service life of your timber cladding will be largely down to the detailing and fixing methods. Water is the element most likely to cause rots and damage and is the element you are managing by purposeful design. TRADA’s book External Timber Cladding has very good information, details, photographs, advice etc.
TRADA and the BRE’s timber density figures are generally given at 12% moisture content – technically a kiln dried product – but all homegrown cladding material will be of higher moisture content than this and therefore will be heavier. As a rule of thumb F/S Oak is 1100kg/m³ at roughly 50% moisture content and A/D will fluctuate depending on the weather with an average moisture content ,once fully dried (1 yr per inch thickness for hardwoods), of around 20%.
Density of the timber is important for cladding in terms of impact resistance, durability, weight (loading), stability etc.
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