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Oak – Beyond Prime there is Super Prime

Super Prime is a term that indicates a grade ‘above’ Prime.

In truth, technically Super Prime hasn’t been documented or normalised as a timber grade in the UK and isn’t a scientifically recognised term. It’s a description we use of a grade that goes above and beyond normal Prime Oak timber qualities and requirements.

What to expect:

Super Prime is a selection of the most pristine, most clear and evenly honey coloured, usually Eastern European, Prime Oak you will ever see. I think we’ve called it ‘relentlessly clean’ before and that about sums it up.

Knots aren’t strictly excluded but if you see one it’ll be small and only visible on one face. The other face will undoubtedly be clear. In Super Prime Oak there will not be a lot of grain pattern. There will not be a lot of variation of anything. No dark colouring, bark pockets, wild grain, splits, cracks or shakes. A higher proportion of Quarter Sawn boards. There may be a lot of very flat, very straight boards.

Suggested uses:

If you have a large run of Oak doors and you need them all to look and behave the same, use Super Prime. A quiet, understated solid wood for an interior surface use Super Prime. Simple elegance with embodied strength and durability for a feature staircase use Super Prime.

Although it’s a little hard for us to admit,  Super Prime Oak has superior qualities that cannot be replicated by other grades or timber species. For this we are grateful as it is a pleasure to work with, a pleasure to select from and a thrill to see it in situ in a customer project.

Our Stocks:

Our packs are stocked in thicknesses of 27, 32, 40, 50, 65, 80 and 100mm. They are usually mixed width and mixed length but this is dependent on stocks at the time of enquiry! Boards can be self-selected both individually or in bulk.

Burr Oak – Tree to board to….tree?!

Burr Oak always offers an abundance of extravagant swirls and cats paw clusters of small pin knots. Our latest batch of Burr Oak has an even more unique feature… They look like a tree! When the doors of our most recent kiln opened we uncovered an abundance of Pippy Oak Boules. Below is our favourite boards from the kiln!

Burr Oak

These striking boards of English Oak feature clusters of heavy pip which have dramatically altered the shape and profile of the wood. The unique outline of the boards here evoke the tall silhouettes of a group of Cypress trees, trees within trees.

Burr Oak

A full boule of Burr Oak


We have even given one of these boards the Hillgrove Timber treatment, here is a sneak peak straight from our new planer/ sander!!

Talk about Tannin


OR How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Tannin.


There aren’t many certainties in this life but the presence of Tannin in Oak and Chestnut is definitely one of them.

Both of these popular timber species have high levels of Tannic acid (it’s actually Quertannic acid but let’s call it Tannin for short). In fact, most tree and plant species contain tannin in varying levels and strengths. We’re mostly concerned with Oak and Chestnut because these two beloved timber species have high levels of tannin and we use them for just about everything. (more…)

TTJ Feature: Oak Passion

TTJ Timber Trades Journal  May 2018 feature by Stepehn Powney

English Woodlands has carved out a reputation as a passionate hardwood timber merchant on a growth trajectory. Stephen Powney visited its Cocking site

TTJ Markets Website

English Woodlands director Ian McNally says the hardwood business should be much akin to selling quality wine.

Meeting him at the company’s site in Cocking, deep in the Sussex countryside, he says a quality bottle of wine could cost a buyer £230.

To pay that, he added, you’d want to know a lot of information about the product, where it came from and that it had been properly stored and looked after.

“Why do we not do the same thing for a piece of wood at the same price?” he added.



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