The Wood Awards: get inspired then get to work


04.BishopEdwardKingChapel  05-BishopEdwardKingChapel-we_612 wood awards 2013

Presenting the exquisitely beautiful  glulam structure of Bishop Edward King Chapel,Ripon College, Oxford by Niall McLaughlin Architects with structural engineers  Price & Myers and main contractor/builder Beard and joinery company D Smith Joinery Ltd. The timber was  European oak and American ash for fitted furniture and internal doors, with spruce glue laminated timber supplied by Cowley Timberwork, Lincolnshire.

This building isn’t about traditional timber structures as we know them.

It’s an approach to structure that utilises innovative engineered timber products and CAD design capabilites (something that has had far more influence over the way buildings can look and the way they can be built than any individual architect or engineer ever has). The collective work that brought about this building is incredibly inspiring.

I have to rein myself in at this point…  but you know wood right?

Well  look at what these guys did with it. It’s pretty special isn’t it?


A month ago I was invited by the lovely  Wood Awards people to Carpenters Hall (my first ever visit to the home of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters) to be there when they annouced this years winners and gave out the prizes… you know.. the actual  Wood Awards ceremony, celebrating the pinnacle of designing and working with wood… our favourite subject!

I was hardly going to say ‘No’ now was I?

So I went. On the train (less said about that the better).

As I arrived at the front door of  No.1 Throgmorton Avenue I found a little A4 printed sign inside a plastic sleeve for weatherproofing (excellent use of a plastic sleeve) that told me to go wait  outside the side door.

As it turned out, that was no bad thing.

the entrance to carpenter's hall

The real Throgmorton Avenue is quite grand, full of that giant Nash style architecture that regency London was so fond of. And the doors! This avenue must have the most enormous doors in London (with the possible exception of Drury Lane).

Throgmorton Avenue, home of carpenters hall has big doors

The reading of plaques and the studying of this stained glass window (which I didn’t manage to find from the inside) kept me and the other gathering woodfans occupied for the duration of our wait, which in all honesty, I really didn’t mind. I was too busy savouring the occasion and wondering if we’d eventually be ushered in through creaking doors by liveried lurchlike footmen or something.

stained glass at carpenters hall

Once inside, it was a little hard to concetrate on meeting and greeting friends, old and new, because as many of you can attest, I just can’t concentrate when there’s wood around.  It was wall to wood and I should have anticipated this (schoolgirl error). It took me a few minutes to regain my composure but then of course I was off…  it was a license to talk wood.. so I did!! Which is one of the nice things about going to a wood-centric event, for once I wasn’t the biggest woodgeek at the party.

the wood awards 2013 get underway

Once the ceremony was underway however we all shut up pretty sharpish.

I can’t overstate how excited I was to be there and to watch the evening unfold. You have to admire all of the designers and architects and structural engineers and furniture makers who go out on a limb  to enter themselves into one of the award categories , prepared to be judged on what they do & how they do it, constantly being  compared to their peers . You have to be a bit brave to do it surely? To take the risk you’re not going to win, or even make the shortlist. That’s some serious belief and confidence don’t you reckon? (But that’s gonna be you next year right?)

So those in the audience who made it to the shortlist were  holding their breath and crossing their fingers until their knuckles went white whilst the annoucements were made for each category.


And the list went tlike this…


Shortlisted:  The Colyer-Fergusson Building (Tim Ronalds Architects) Abbotsford Visitor Reception Building (LDN Architects) Festival House – ‘Tower of Love’ (dRMM Architects) Mary Rose Museum (Wilkinson Eyre Architects)

Winner:  The Colyer-Fergusson Building 

colyer fergusson building

& Highly Commended: Festival House ‘The Tower of Love’



Shortlisted:  The Dune House (Mole Architects)  Church Walk (David Mikhail Architects) Crowbrook (Knox Bhavan Architects) Rigg Beck (Knox Bhavan Architects) Trewarren (John Pardey Architects)

Winner: Church Walk

church walk

& Highly Commended: Trewarren



Shortlist:  Abraham Darby Sports and Learning Community (BDP) Bishop Edward King Chapel (Niall McLaughlin Architects) The Living Link (Smith and Wallwork) Future Affordable (David Blaikie)

Winner:  Bishop Edward King Chapel

bishop edward king chapel



Shorlist:  Bells Farm (Nick Joyce Architects) The RSA – The Royal Society of Arts (Matthew Lloyd Architects) Magheralin Parish Church (Waddington-McClure Architects)

Winner: Magheralin Parish Church

magheralin parish church



Shortlist:  The Exbury Egg (PAD Studio) Expandable Surface System (Architectural Association) Alex Monroe Studio, Snowfields (DSDHA) RoominaRoom (Atmos Studio)

Winner: RoominaRoom

room in a room atmosstudtio

Highly Commended: Alex Monroe Studio, Snowsfields



Shortlist:  Holland park Chair (Ercol Furniture) Joyce Cabinet (Pinch Design) Clyde Side Table (Pinch Design) HAN by Mark Gabbertas for Lyndon (Gabbertas Studio) Theo Chair (Pengellydesign) The Storyboard (Otter Surfboards) Otter x The National Trust (Otter Surfboards)

Winner: Theo Chair

theo chair by simon pengelly

& Highly Commended: The Storyboard Highly Commended:  Otter X The National Trust



Shorlist: Ripples (EJ Bespoke Furniture)  Nimm Rae (Chaircreative) Tay Bench (Angus Ross Ltd) Worldscape (Atmos Studio)

Winner: Ripples



Then there was a little suprise as Mr Sutcliffe announced a JUDGES SPECIAL AWARD for AtmosStudio’s Worldscape and quite rightly so.

worldscape by atmosstudio

This project is a departure from so many conventional ideas of furniture, woodworking, landscaping, exhibition installation… so sit on it yourself and you’ll see what I mean! P.S. take a picnic…


And now.. drumroll please..  last but not at all the least…

The very super special and lifechangingly meaningful GOLD AWARD went to Niall Mclaughlin’s Bishop Edward King Chapel .

nial mclaughlin architects get gold and structural at wood awards

What more can I say?

So there it was. Done.

Now what are you all going to do? I know, they’re hard acts to follow but… but… you knew there would be a ‘but’ didn’t you??!!

Here’s the thing…

Competition is good.

The Wood Awards is a competition that any of you woodworking geniuses can and should be entering with your best projects.

Competition is good if it means you steel yourself to push a design through, work even harder or longer or smarter when you really aren’t sure you have it in you but you try anyway. It stretches you and gives you deadlines and helps ideas become reality and encourages you to do your best work because it provides  the reason.

wood awards supplement for TTJ & RIBA journal

Let’s face it, sometimes we all need a reason.

Well this one is yours. And in 2014, 0r 2015 or whenever the moment is for you… your best work could be featured in every design publication in the world, and your name could be the name on everybody’s lips. It’s not about fame… but it is about credibility and exposure and profile. I don’t want to say it but it’s effectively X-factor for the unknown designer/maker. You don’t want to admit it but you know you know who JLS are… and they didn’t even win x-factor!

See what I mean? You could be be the JLS of the wood world.

You want this, don’t you?! (said in the voice of the emperor from Star Wars)

So what next?

Click all those links above. Browse through all these projects. Get inspired…  and then for goodness sake get to work!

The 2013 awards had 314 entries. That seems like alot but I know it’s not.  We have more than 314 customers in one month  that have what it takes to enter next years wood awards, let alone one year. We know you’re out there!

If you get stuck just get in touch!

We’ll gladly talk you  into entering!

P.S. I have to give credit to Carpenters hall at this point who really spoiled us,  providing really great canapes and the fastest refills in the west … Thanks Company of Carpenters, you were wonderful hosts!


THE Wood Awards – the ceremony is in November but the shortlist is announced at Timber Expo

Wood Awards Sponsors

Enter the Wood Awards – the entries are normally open mid March time at Ecobuild and close around June.


Structural Timber


Our stock made up of over 500 green, semi-seasoned & seasoned stock beams available for selection from our yard or online. Sections from 100 x 100mm’s to 350 x 350mm’s in regular & irregular sizes and in lengths from 1.0 to 7.0m standard and longer, including 75, 150 & 200mm thick waney edge curves for bracing.

fresn sawn oak tagged beam stock Structural oak beam stock fresh sawn and seasoned beam stock in Oak PEFC


Most of structural beam Oak is milled in France by our partner sawmills from French PEFC logs, to our specification. The semi-seasoned & seasoned stock is srouced from the same mills, who lay down stock year on year for French customers (who will only use air dried!) which means that beyond our own stock, we have a vast structural timber resource to draw from. our curve stock is  75, 150 & 200mm waney edge naturally grown in fresh sawn and seasoned.

structural beam oak stock all tagged  green and seasoned structural oak beams seasoned structural oak beam stock all tagged and online


Our structural Oak stocks are graded on request to TH2 (strength class D18) and TH1 (D24) for small sections* or THB (D24) and THA (D30) for large* sections which are standard structural grades that cover service class 2&3 (TRADA  WIS 1-17). We have two qualified graders on hand to grade timber if required. If you’re unsure about grading, call us to speak to a grader on 01730 816941.

structural oak beam stock structural seasoned and semi-seasoned beams

*Small = section area smaller than 20,000mm2 & thickness less that 100mm (Grades TH1 & TH2 apply) with the minimum for grading being an area 2000mm2 and  thickness 20mm.  Large = section area larger than 20,000mm2 & thickness of 100mm or more (Grades THA & THB apply)


Every piece of structural timber has been measured, tagged and listed on our stock system with dimensions, grade and price £/m3. This means you can select beams online without ever having to leave the comfort of your desk, your workshop or cosy van.

Use the picking list on the stock search tool (the +signs on the right) to make your choices, and then let Graham do all the hard work (good old Graham!) whilst you get on with something more pressing instead.

fresh sawn and black beams

We’ll call as soon as your beams are ready to collect or we’ll arrange delivery to site, it’s up to you.


If it’s in stock, our structural Oak is cut to order based on specific requirements and delivered on a weekly basis. We work closely with our partner sawmills to achieve the highest quality timber. this means that if we don’t have what you need in stock, you won’t be twiddling yout thumbs for long! Your order will be ready to be collected or delivered the following week**

fresh sawn structural oak

**Notwithstanding ferry strikes, blizzards, flu epidemics & the ever plentiful French Bank holiday ( & a couple of our own thrown in for good measure) our haulier is pretty good at getting your timber to us quick-sharpish on a Monday morning (thanks Alain, Sandrine & Tomasz!)


Need a quote? No problem… send us your cutting list and we’ll get back to you pronto with price and availability. If you’re just pricing, that’s fine. We’ll leave your quotes on file and we’ll call you in a month to check the project’s still live. You can come back to it anytime, and when you do need to order we’ll be bringing in a lorry every Monday morning** so as long as you’ve placed your order before the previous Wednesday pm we can usually squeeze you in!

Don’t need a quote?! Then get the Product Info

Or  how about trying the Stock Search for structural stock… or email a cutting list to

Failing that you could call us on 01730 816941 or just turn up at the yard  to  select your own beams from the yard with Graham & JCB at your beck and to do the heavy lifting…  that’s surely an offer no one resist!

If there’s anything else you need you know where to find us!

Take a look at what structural timber can do in some of our previous projects

THE ROTHSCHILD FOUNDATION with Green Oak Carpentry Co & Stephen Marshall Architects using glulam Oak for main structural gridshell

Rothschil glulam oak veneered structural grid rothschild foundation structural timber joint rothschild foundation gridshell ceiling

See the TRADA case study


THE SAVILLE GARDEN VISITOR CENTRE with Green Oak Carpentry Co, the Crown Estate & Glenn Howells Architects using homegrown Larch for the main structural gridshell

larch gridhshell for crown estate saville gardens saville gardens gridshell in homegrown larch saville gardens homegrown larch gridshell

See our Case Study


THE GRIDSHELL WORKSHOP at Singleton Open Air Museum with Green Oak Carpentry Co & Edward Cullinan Architects  using finger jointed French Oak

fresh sawn oak grdishell structural oak gridshell joint by green oak carpentry co interior of oak gridshell from green oak carpentry

See our Case Study


MORE Structural Stuff

A Google find of Structural timber building images

The Tamedia office in Zurich, a very unusual & innovative structural timber building by Shigeru Ban at

A special Google find of Shingeru Ban structural timber buildings

Time to get an education in Timber EngineeringNapier University, Edinburgh is offering scholarships for 13 MSC ‘s!

Winner of the 2013 Wood Awards Gold Prize – Bishop Edward King Chapel by Niall Mclaughlin Architects for this beautiful glulam structure

See the 2013 Wood Awards Shortlist

I could go on but you’re going to get RSI if you keep clicking these links so let’s cut to the chase….

TRADA the leading authority on wood & wood resources  & generally seen as the centre of the universe for structural timber information

There are TRADA books: Timber Frame Construction , External TImber CladdingGreen Oak in ConstructionEurocode Span Tables

There are useful TRADA Resources like: Case studies ,   Technical documents , and the  Bookshop,

For timber grading from TRADA in Timber Strength Grading & Strength ClassesStructural Use of Hardwoods

Thanks for reading, come back soon!

Got any structual timber stories you want to share? Get in touch!


French Square Edge Oak Timber Packs

So what are we talking about here?

This is French Oak square edge stock with PEFC certification. It comes to us in packs, dried, kilned, graded and selected by mills we have worked with for decades and whose quality and consistency we depend upon for our everyday production.

french square edge oak packs

We could wax lyrical about this Oak all day long (and often do!) but we know we don’t need to. French Oak doesn’t need any ‘flannel’ from us to get your attention and anyway, you’ve probably heard it all before.

You know what you need and you know what you buy and you’ll know at a glance if these timber packs are in the right ball park or not.


From Tree to Table… the movie

Today was special for lots of reasons.

It was the first day of Grown in Britain week… that’s special in and of itself.

We ‘got out’ of the office. That’s special. Because it’s rare. We say we’ll do it… and then we don’t. We end up staying close to the wood… and to the woods. But today we got out.

To Heal’s HQ on Tottenham Court Road in London.

For the launch of Cranborne, an English Ash furniture range by Benchmark in collaboration with Grown in Britain, Will Hobhouse & his team of visionaries at Heal’s. Also very special.

Heal's building Tottenham Court Road Cranborne table & benches in English Ash by Benchmark Dr Peter Bonfield OBE talks Grown in Britain Real Ash with raw surface finish at Heal'sEnvironment Minister Dan Rogerson at Heal's for Grown in Britain furniture launch Peter Bonfield & Dan Rogerson cranborne furniture grown in britain in the Heal's window

And the culmination of all the specialness… the Grown in Britain sponsored film telling the story of a tree and a table and all the people and places and processes and crafts and knowledge and experience in-between.

Isn’t this what it’s all about wood fans?



Get more Grown in Britain

Get inspired at Heal’s  (and you really need to get food at the Heal’s cafe… SOOOO good!! but also mellow, calm and stylish in teh midst of Tottenham Court Road craziness)


Tell the Grown in Britain gang what you think so far by email  or on Twitter @growninbritain

Say a big ‘Thank You’ to the lovely people at Heal’s for walking the walk @Heals_Furniture

Learn more about wood with Wood For Good


And don’t forget to come over for Friday cake and celebrate Grown in Britain Week with us this Friday (3pm, 18th October 2013)!! We’ll put the kettle on! RSVP to be sure of a slice..

It’s Grown in Britain Week!

What does that mean to you and me?

It means Grown in Britain has officially landed and is here to stay. Full stop.

It means it’s time for Dr Peter Bonfield OBE, Chief Executive of the Building Research Establishment to present THE report to the Owen Patterson, Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. It means that in woodlands & offices & workshops round the country there are people making connections, organising events, raising awareness of this very new but very welcome initiative.

It means the culmination of endeavours we hope will deliver positive and lasting benefits (in fact it already is!) for a Forestry and Timber industry that we can all be proud of.

We’re being a little cryptic here, we know, but BIG  news is on the way that affects us all so stay tuned… even better get connected !

Steve Cook spend a day at the first school to start Grown in Britain weekTimber-Study-cover_sized Grown in Britain Logo0

What does Grown in Britain Week mean for English Woodlands Timber?

It means we get to talk incessantly to anyone who’ll listen for a whole week about where wood comes from, why it matters, how we can do it better, how we can do more of it.

And it’s not all about trees, it’s about people too.

It’s about how we can support the people that work in forestry and saw milling and tree growing and timber construction and furniture making and joinery and and and…

Theres no end to what we can talk about… but this week it begins & ends with Grown in Britain.

So we’d like to offer our heartfelt ‘CONGRATULATIONS’ to Peter Bonfield, Stuart Goodall, Dougal Driver, Ed Suttie, Ian Tubby, and all of the amazing GiB gang.

You really did it!!!!

Now have a fun week…

But wait, there’s more!!

They’ve been busy bees!!

Follow the gang on Twitter @GrowninBritain

Read their blog

Find an event near you

What the TTJ are saying

Talk to Grown in Britain or @growninbritain

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