Show Video

The story of the Boules

Our sticking team is busy in the yard putting together some gorgeous fresh sawn T&T boules, all sourced from sustainable managed British woodlands.

logs waiting to be cut fresh cut waney edge boules ashboules to be sticked

We’ve got air dried Oak, Elm (both pippy!) Chestnut, Ash, Cedar of Lebanon, Scots Pine, Wellingtonia, & Yew with Sycamore, Plane & Beech jumping th e queue straight to the kiln & into Peter’s shed ready for use. They’re a cabinetmaker’s dream!


The Great Pancake Day TIMBER SALE!!!


Here it is Folks… and all is revealed!

You’re looking at the TIMBER SALE PRICE LIST as it stands today (we’re not promising we won’t add more stock between now and Pancake Day!) all ready to go for

Tuesday 4th March at 9am, running until Friday 7th March at 4.30pm.

So you can get the pricelist as a PDF  and keep it on your desktop or you can browse it here in bite size chunks and then cross check it with Timber Sale stock and make yourself a nice, long picking list (+ signs) to bring Peter when you come for Pancakes‘n’Coffee!!  (Peter won’t read this so I’m safe)

Let’s start with a mix of ye olde English stock… the waney edge of waney edges.


Now, don’t tell me you’re not getting excited? Lime at £11.03/ft3!

Next is English Oak. It comes in it’s own section because there’s always SO much of it…


80mm!!!!! Seriously? Get in line people…

Now for something a little on the exotic side for all you wild adventurous types

TIMBER SALE The exotic

It’s not alot. But it’s there…

P.S. We’ve got panels too by the way (see pics below) but they’ve not been listed yet

Ok. Oooh la la!! Here’s a little Francais, Deutsche & Hrvatska for you Europhiles

TIMBER SALE The EU species

I feel sorry for the unsorted softwood stock, it doesn’t even make it to double figures!!

Watch out, here come the Americans!

TIMBER SALE The Americans

How, you might well ask, does Oak end up at £8.50/ft3???  You can’t afford not to really can you…

So there it is…

it’s all yours, sitting there ready to be loaded into your van whilst you sit and enjoy a delicious pancake and a nice hot fresh coffee for breakfast (or lunch, or tea).

But that is not all.. not by a long chalk.

Tom is keen to  squaeeze as many bargains as possible into this 4 day Sale so he was out in the yard yesterday knocking big chunks off prices of really nice stock.

Standby Ash fans…

PROMOTIONS everything

Ok woodfans. That’s all for now…

but if you have any questions call 01730 816941 or email or use our enquiry form and we’ll try and help as soon as we can.

Don’t forget you can download the whole price list here and keep it to drool over!

See you on Pancake Day!

Thanks for listening, Sarah


Less than two weeks to go now and Peter’s Shed is really taking shape. Sorting stock for the sale has really inspired Tom & Peter to pull out some nice stock.

the new rack will be fille Englsh oak 3inch and the Croatian square edge next to it English Oak 3inch Tom says these boards are in  the english walnut will ll be present and correct lovely waney edge thick oak boards Packs of waney edge and square edge all for the sale Walnut waney edge boards the leaning tower of panels the walnut stack looks tidy

Not too shabby huh?

And remember your pancakes & coffee on Timber Sale day…

the french revolution in pancake form parklife coffee extravaganza

It’s going to be pancakes for breakfast, lunch and tea!


The PANCAKE DAY TIMBER SALE is inching closer and we’re scurrying around the yard, gathering together all the timber goodies we can get our mitts on especially for your delight and pleasure.

So I’m sitting here after everyone’s gone home and I have the Timber Sale Stock Book on my desk… naughty me huh??!!

And I thought I’d share a few of these SHOCK -ingly stupid prices the guys are intending to surprise you with on the Pancake Day…  because I didn’t hear anyone tell me not to 😉


So far (and don’t tell anyone I told you this)…

so far, I can see Maple ( I know I already told you that one before, but I have more info) It’s the No.2 colour Maple & the big hint is  ‘think 5 0 per cent’ (!!!)

I am not even kidding.

Next, Sycamore (Maple related.. why not mix them??) selected into packs at £500/m3 (£14.16/ft3 to you imperialists). I thought that was wrong when I looked it up just now, but it is   the absolute TRUTH!! There are boards too but I don’t have a price on them yet. Doesn’t take a genius to work out they might be similar though…

Anyway. Let us continue.

A few pages on and it looks like we’ve got French character grade waney edge Oak at … well… if I say it’s the same as some of our Fresh Sawn Structural Oak and it’s cheaper than the Air Dried Structural Oak you’ll get the picture. There’s tonnes of it too. I’m just reading down the list… 54mm, 45mm, 41mm, 34mm, more 54mm, more 34mm and then…

Well looky here!

We have Parana PIne! You didn’t know we did that did you?? No. That’s because we don’t usually, and we won’t do again after you’ve bought this little lot at some ridiculous bargain price that I don’t even know because Tom hasn’t done that sheet yet. Sorry. But it’s there, nonetheless. Being Piney.

Speaking of which. Softwood. Unsorted. You know the stuff. I have no idea about the price but that stuff is horrendously cheap in the first place so goodness what’ll be once Tom’s decided it’s going. Bound to be a bargain. And actually, I used it for loads of stuff at home and it’s perfectly nice.

Ok, next page and we have… American Ash. Yup. That’s not usual English Woodlands Timber fayre either so that’ll have a bargain bucket price on it. Just 6 boards at 41 x 200 x 2.3m. Nice table top!

Where are we now then?

Hhmm. More American. Red & White Oak. It’s not alot, 6 pc’s of this, 20 pc’s of that. Pretty much all 2.4’s  or 3.2’s and in 26, 34, 41& 50mm thick. Still, a decent little selection and probably worth having in the store cupboard if you use American Oak.

These two are in the same vein too, Meranti & Iroko. I don’t want to mean here people but please, come and take them away. It’s a few pieces, like the American Oak (but longer!) and we won’t want to keep them after the sale day so you’re onto a winner here. Mind you, I can’t see a price yet but this is not the stuff we want to be hugging and caressing for the next however long. Please take it away and leave us to our English waney edge lovelies. PLEASE!!

So just incase you’ve been mesmerised by the bargains and have forgotten what all the fuss is about… we’re talking about the PANCAKE DAY TIMBER SALE!!!

WHERE? Our place of course!

WHEN? Shrove Tuesday (that’s Pancake Day to us heathens) which is March 4th this year.

WHAT? Wood, silly…

Back soon with more sneaky sale updates.

Night night people. Wishing you sweet, wood-filled dreams!

Your faithful woodblogger, Sarah

P.S. I’ll be back with pictures any day so don’t you go anywhere…


The Great PANCAKE DAY TIMBER SALE is officially  ON!!!!

So woodfans, the cat is finally out of the bag.

We’ve booked the Pancakes (yum!)

french revolution crepes NutellaCrepe

And we’ve booked the Coffee (caffeinated yum!)

parklife coffee for pancake day timber sale

And we’ve even booked the Maple* (the wood not the syrup)

the maple

Now you definitely want to come don’t you?!?


Well folks, that’s just the beginning.

Stay tuned for more from the PANCAKE DAY TIMBER SALE list of goodies‘.

What’s that you say? Maple’s not your flavour?

Ok, then, what would you, seasoned connoisseur of all things wood and good, like to take home on your roofracks after a hard day of  sugar fuelled wood shopping at the Pancake Day Timber Sale, hhmmm?

Go on, heckle us, you know you want to…

01730 816941

Talk to you soon!

From Sarah & the  slightly peckish English Woodlands Timber gang

* So, I happen to know that we have No.2 colour Maple (N.American) in the sale, and I mean really in the sale! And I heard the words Norway Maple (homegrown)  too as a little accompaniement to the main course Mapleif  Maple’s your flavour be here on the 4th of March!!



Did we mention Maple and Norway Maple?

What wikipedia says about Shrove Tuesday

Perfect pancake the BBC way

Nigella’s american pancakes (we can personally vouch for these)

A history of pancake racing in Olney, where ever that is

Got a question? We’re only a call away on 01730 816941 or  email us on

Thanks for listening lumber lovers

The Timber SALE…


Hey Woodfans!

There’s a new  TIMBER SALE in town folks, and it’s happening on the Tuesday 4th March, that’s PANCAKE DAY!!!

So, we know you love this page but don’t spend too much time wandering down memory lane with it’s bargains past.. we have bargains present and future to think about!

Find out more here,

Sign up for alerts here

Register for a pancake here!!



Well folks, that was the SALE that was. If you missed it don’t be disappointed, there’s plenty more where all that came from.

Just sign up to the mailing list on the contacts page and be the first to get the inside scoop the next time around…

and there will be a next time.. we promise!


It had to end sometime people, and that time is this Friday, the 15th of March…  but until then? … the wood world’s your oyster!


Here’s a recap on PRICES:

                 Species                        Th mm                       Price                               Grade
KD.WE  English Ash                  54mm              £18/ft3 (£635.67/m3)          Prime
KD.WE  English Cherry           27mm              £15/ft3 (£529.67/m3)          ungraded
KD.WE  English Cherry           34mm              £15/ft3 (£529.67/m3)          ungraded
KD.WE  English Cherry           41mm               £15/ft3 (£529.67/m3)          ungraded
KD.WE  English Cherry           54mm               £15/ft3 (£529.67/m3)          ungraded
KD.WE  English Cherry           65mm               £15/ft3 (£529.67/m3)          ungraded
KD.WE  English Walnut          27mm               £30/ft3 (£1059.44/m3)        ungraded
KD.WE  English Walnut          34mm               £30/ft3 (£1059.44/m3)        ungraded
KD.WE  English Walnut          41mm               £30/ft3 (£1059.44 /m3)       ungraded
KD.WE  English Oak                 27mm               £20/ft3 (£706.29/m3)          Brown/Tiger
KD.WE  English Oak                 80mm               £24/ft3 (£847.55/m3)          Character
KD.WE  French  Oak                 20mm               £28/ft3 (£988.81/m3)         Prime depareille
KD.WE  French  Oak                 27mm               £28/ft3 (£988.81/m3)          l.pip + char
KD.WE  French  Oak                 100mm             £30/ft3 (£1059.44/m3)        Character
KD.WE  French  Oak                 120mm             £30/ft3 (£1059.44/m3)        Character
KD.WE  English Yew                 27mm               £20/ft3 (£706.29/m3)          ungraded
KD.WE  English Yew                34mm                £20/ft3 (£706.29/m3)          ungraded
KD.WE  English Yew                 41mm               £20/ft3 (£706.29/m3)          ungraded
KD.WE  English Yew                 54mm               £20/ft3 (£706.29/m3)          ungraded

Now, keep calm and pick up the phone…  01730 816941

P.S. KD.WE means kiln dried waney edge…


English OAK at £20/ft3 (£706.291/m3)

Kiln dried waney edge (T&T) English Oak 27mm in brown and tiger stripe!! Yes really!

English Oak 27mm stack of brown and tiger  English Oak 27mm brown and tiger  English Oak 27mm stack of brown n tiger

What do we know about the Brown Oak?

Well, look at this picture it is a real WOW! The thing that really strikes me is the scale… these must have been giant trees to produce this scale of grain. It’s going to be hard to let these boards go, but go they must. So they’re what you’d expect from English Oak really, a smooth, caramelly colour  but with a generous helping of chocolatey brown grain, some drama in the tiger stripe, and some outsize dimension.

There’s not a massive amount of it as you can see, but there’s certainly enough timber there to have fun selecting your boards.. I can see it now “I want this one…  no I want this one…  and I want this one”

So, 27mm brown English Oak for £20/ft3…  I’ll say it again….  £20/ft3!!!!!!!

See our Packs & Boards STOCKLIST for more info on stock or our species page for more info on Oak 

Timber sales 01730 816941 or  Contact Us


French OAK at £28/ft3 (£980.81/m3) ungraded

Kiln dried waney edge (T&T) French Oak in Prime depareille.

kiln dried oak french 18mm depareille detail kiln dried French waney edge Oa 18mm depareille kiln dried oak french 18mm depareille through and through kiln dried Oak 18mm depareille

So what do we know about the Oak depareille?

Well, it’s through & through Prime French Oak, boards selected from boules (hence the name) for cleanness, flatness and widths (200-500mm) specifically for panel-making. Door panels, kitchen cupboards, wall panelling and furniture work… take your pick. It is at 18mm but it’s so flat you could probably get away with 15 or even 14mm at a squeeze and if you want to go lower you’ll be more likely to keep the stability because it’s been sawn and dried so thin.

We love it because it doesn’t have alot of drama going on knot-wise or heart crack -wise so it’s really easy to use…  just take the first board off the top of the stack, and it’s the kind of stuff you can square edge and go…  soooooo little waste.

So, 18mm Prime French Oak for £28/ft3… with a waste factor to warm the cockles of your heart on a chilly February morning.

Oh! I nearly forgot to say… the packs we have in are at 2.2 – 3.1m ish with the majority at about 3.0m. I’m thinking a big pair of double layered panelled Oak front doors… mmmmm yummy!

See our Packs & Boards STOCKLIST for more info on stock or our species page for more info on Oak 

Timber sales 01730 816941 or  Contact Us


English CHERRY at £15/ft3 (£529.67/m3) ungraded

This is our kiln dried waney edge (T&T) English Cherry in what we’re calling ‘ungraded’ because we know it’s a real ‘liquorice-allsort’ of a stack.

KILN DRIED WANEY EDGE ENGLISH CHERRY STOCK  english cherry board detail  english cherry board detail for timber sale english cherry stack

So what do we know about the Cherry?

We know that, like the Walnut, there’s a good chance it’s been picked through for the good widths, but having said that they’re not the smallest boards I’ve ever seen….   and we know some boards have that typical Chery warp (the propeller syndrome) but we also know there is some beautiful timber in there too… how do we know? Because we saw a table made out of it the other day that nearly made Peter fall off his forklift in shock..

So 27mm, 34mm, 41mm 54mm & 65mm Cherry at £15/ft3… ???!!!!! Well, it’s not going to be here for long, but for today…  it’s s yours if you want it… so come and get it!

See our Packs & Boards STOCKLIST for more info on stock or our species page for more info on Cherry

Timber sales 01730 816941 or  Contact Us


English YEW at £20/ft3 (£635.67/m3) ungraded

This is our kiln dried waney edge (T&T) English Yew in 27mm, 34mm, 41mm &54mm  in what we’re calling ‘ungraded’ (example in pic)

Cute little waney edge yew board  Kiln dried Yew stack
So what do we know about the Yew?

We know there’s some very aged stock in there (fave of the cabinet makers – we know), so you might find boards over 10 years old. If we’re really honest we haven’t looked through this stack properly for months (although Chris had a look through last week with super duper furniture maker Nathan from Rams Design & came in from the yard slightly over excited at how great it was). Knowing our stock  it’s bound to contain some treasures… but there will be alot more of the ‘unique’ than the ‘standard’… and I suppose that’s why Peter & Tom want it shifted… so it’s all yours!

Stock available? 27mm, 34mm, 41mm 54mm Yew at £20/ft3 instead of £35/ft3…  that’s gotta be worth a trip surely??!!

See our Packs & Boards STOCKLIST  for more info on stock or our species page for more info on Yew

Timber sales 01730 816941 or Contact Us


English WALNUT at £30/ft3 (£1059/m3) ungraded

This is our kiln dried waney edge (T&T) English Walnut in what we’re calling ‘ungraded’ because we know we’re not going to have time to sort this stack and we need the space urgently. You could say it’s graded to sell!

english walnut stack in sale

So what do we know about the Walnut?

We know it’s been picked through for all the good widths (really… all? hmm… I’ll get back to you about that) we know it’s not long,  but there are some sizable boards in the stack (pictures to follow) and the stack is 4m3 (140ft3) so not nothing by any means. You likes your Walnut you takes your pick…

So 27mm, 34mm & 41mm Walnut at £30/ft3… need we say more??!!

See our Packs & Boards STOCKLIST  for more info on available stock and out species page for more info on Walnut

Timber sales 01730 816941 or  Contact Us


English OAK at £24/ft3 (£847.55/m3) Character

This is our kiln dried waney edge (T&T) English Oak, 80mm  Character grade (example in pic – big LHS board)

kiln dried waney edge english Oak 80mm board
So what do we know about the Oak?

The good old English Oak. We know you don’t really need to be told anything about everyone’s favourite wood, the Oak. But we do know that this reduced price stock is not long. It’s lengths up to 2.2 m to be precise.

We had a few boules back in the day that were short… or actually some long boules that were too long and got cut down… and that’s where these little cuties came from. Not that little though are they?! Some of these boards weigh in at over 100kg each… Yikes! But if you want nice chunky table tops or worktops these boards are your man…

See our Packs & Boards STOCKLIST  for more info on available stock and out species page for more info on Oak

Timber sales 01730 816941 or  Contact Us


Air Dried Boules

See our Air Dried Boule Stock         

Our English logs are sawn through & through, sticked and stacked, in boule form, in our yard for air drying (for a year per inch!) every autumn, winter and spring until dry enough to be kilned.

Until that time they are available for exterior joinery, furniture making, cladding projects and structural work.

We keep boule stock in as many species as we can, usually Ash, Oak, Chestnut, Elm, Cedar of Lebanon, Walnut & Yew as a minimum. Inthose species we keep as many thicknesses as we can to be able to supply full cutting lists for joinery and furniture making i.e. 18 – 100mm if poss.

We also offer a bespoke sourcing and sawmilling service to makers that want to season their own stock boules or have a requirement in atypical dimensions.

Click on the image below to download a pdf with more information about Boules

Product Info

Product Info BL.Boules of waney edge timber



  Tom inspecting Brian Harman's round timber lorry delivering in fresh sawn boules boules logs are cut into boules of waney edge boards left to season for a year per inch inthe yard boards being taken off the bandsaw at helmdon sawmill to make waney edge boules of english oak for Cocking sawmill the first cut of an english oak log at helmdon sawmill   


Browse our air dried Boule stock

For more on timber Species & Grades download  Making the Grade

For more on timber certification:  Grown in Britain, FSC & PEFC

Tell us about your project or submit your cutting list and project documents in the space below for Chris, Grant & Nick to fettle with

  • Tell us about you and what you need on the form below and we'll get back to you quickly with a price & availability on your timber. If you're unsure of some of the words we use to describe timber here's our Glossary & if you get really stuck give us a call on 01730 816941.

  • About You

  • About your project

  • Tell us what you need

  • Timber Spec.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.




Kiln Dried Waney Edge Boards


Waney edge boards are our undeniable treasure trove. They’re the staple of our woodyard, the largest range of all the board stocks and the basis for nearly all of our timber products.

As professional as we try to be here at Cocking, we all go a little weak at the knees when it comes to the kiln dried waney edge boards (Through & Through sawn boards). The T&T boule is the traditional method of timber production, the conversion from the log as it has been for decades, if not centuries.

Our waney edge stocks are varied and extensive and they change every day. See our current stocks of  Ash, Beech, Cedar of Lebanon,  Cherry, Chestnut, Elm, Maple, Oak, Plane,  Sycamore, Walnut

Whether you are a bespoke furniture maker, a specialist joiner, a kitchen maker or you just want a plank of raw wood for a table top, our waney edge boards stock is fabulous and will give your project the edge over a more standardised source of timber.

You will have the whole intact boards to work with, to get maximum use out of. With T&T boards you can utilise the  characteristics of the species that may otherwise have been discarded in the grading and selection process of pack timber.

We’re always very happy for our customers to come sightseeing, to look through the sheds and to select your own timber. We’re also more than happy to pick the timber to your specifications and to send it anywhere in the world that you would like.

Here in the yard we joke about the trials and tribulations of our work but one thing remains true and is worth remembering… there will never be another of the board you are looking now.

T&T boards are individuals, they are unique and will never be repeated. It makes sense for us to treasure them, so we can pass them on to you to create your treasures.

We’re happy for you to visit the woodyard to select your own boards and to get an idea of what you’ll find when you get here search our online stock to in the comfort of your own home or send us your  list requirements on the form below

If you have a questions, don’t hesitate to talk to us.


english woodlands timber explore the stock button



See the Kiln Dried Waney Edge Board stock

Looking for something very special? See the Super Thick, Super Wide, Super Long or Super Wild stock

Read about timber grades & species in Making the Grade

See Boards by Species Ash, Beech, Cedar of Lebanon,  Cherry, Chestnut, Elm, Maple, Oak, Plane,  Sycamore, Walnut

For a list of Joinery, Flooring, Cladding & Decking profiles visit our PROFILE LIBRARY

Download the PROFILE LIBRARY pdf


Submit your cutting list or upload your documents in the space below for Chris, Grant & Nick to fettle with

  • Tell us about you and what you need on the form below and we'll get back to you quickly with a price & availability on your timber. If you're unsure of some of the words we use to describe timber here's our Glossary & if you get really stuck give us a call on 01730 816941.

  • About You

  • About your project

  • Tell us what you need

  • Timber Spec.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.







For more information on furniture designed and made by Boxheart contact Jennifer Low

1 Chart Cottages, Green Lane, Stanmore, Harrow London HA7 3AB

T. 07791 394272  E.
What Jennifer at Boxheartsays about us;

” The project I had lined up was a small occasional table which required waney edged quarter sawn Oak.
I had tried so many places to find the Oak and had only located it with one company … who could deliver but the cost was far beyond what I was willing to pay. I remember that another cabinetmaker had mentioned that he had gone to you for the same timber so I gave you a call. You were half the price of the other company and as I didn’t need long lengths I could easily drive and collect the timber myself.
After a drive through some of the most beautiful countryside, I was directed to the warehouse (so well organised and stocked it was a pleasure) where I met two chaps who were fantastic and helpful beyond my expectation, I hand picked and purchased two planks of Oak and one plank of American Black Walnut which were all cut to length to fit in my car. I couldn’t be more pleased.
The timber was brilliantly stable and the quartering was plentiful. I have plans for the remaining timber so I’ll keep you posted.”
We hope she will!

Solid Wood Flooring

See our Solid Flooring Stock 

There are many solid Oak flooring options we can offer to order, but we also keep real honest-to-goodness stock of our most popular floor, the French Character Oak.

So once you’ve decided it’s the floor for you, there’s no waiting. No lead times. It’s yours for the taking!

We keep three widths – 150mm, 180mm, 200mm – which can be mixed together (which looks great in older properties) or used alone.

The flooring comes sealed in a pack of 1 to 1.5m2, with a mix of lengths within. Board lengths are between 1.5m to 2.4m with the majority at around 1.5 to 1.8m.

Boards are 21mm thick with tongue and groove on all 4 edges with a tiny (just 1 or 2mm) microbevel (some people call it a ‘v’ as in TGV) on the long edges.

The point of the microbevel is two-fold. The first utterly brilliant reason it that it means you don’t have to sand the floor once it’s fitted. Halleluja!.

The second reason is a really nice little visual trick. The microbevel creates a shadow which gives a nice directional ‘look’ to room and stops the floor looking so ‘monolithic’.

This floor can be fitted over joists, concrete, ply boards of existing floorboards.

Our French Oak Flooring is Certified PEFC

P.S. If you’re wondering what to do about finishes we keep good stocks of Osmo products and can order any that we don’t keep! We’re not floor-finsh experts but we do LOVE our Osmo. So user friendly, and there’s always a right product for whatever job you need to do. Browse Osmo in our webshop

*We can custom order our French Character Oak floor machined without the microbevel if you need, with a lead time of 2 – 6 weeks.




Read about timber grades & species in Making the Grade

See available stock Boards by Species Ash, Beech, Cedar of Lebanon,  Cherry, Chestnut, Elm, Maple, Oak, Plane,  Sycamore, Walnut

For a list of Joinery, Flooring, Cladding & Decking profiles visit our PROFILE LIBRARY

Download the PROFILE LIBRARY pdf


Submit your cutting list or upload your documents in the space below for Chris, Grant & Nick to fettle with

  • Tell us about you and what you need on the form below and we'll get back to you quickly with a price & availability on your timber. If you're unsure of some of the words we use to describe timber here's our Glossary & if you get really stuck give us a call on 01730 816941.

  • About You

  • About your project

  • Tell us what you need

  • Timber Spec.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.





See our Sycamore stock

Sycamore is one of our favourite English timber species. We treasure it for it’s delicate lustred colouring and fine grain. The trees are sizeable so board size can be fantastic and it’s relatively easy to source good quality logs so it’s a big hit with furniture makers and manufacturers. 

What’s in a name?

Acer pseudoplantanus is Sycamore’s botanical name but it’s also known as Great Maple, European Sycamore, Sycamore Plane, and Sycamore Maple. Confused? Well Sycamore & Maple are both Acers and as trees not so very different, plus Plane (Platanus) has similar qualities and appearance as a tree so it’s understandable they’ve all been mistaken for each other in the past. For us wood people they’re actually 3 quite identifiably different timbers, which of course means more choice for you if you’re a furniture maker or an interior designer or specialist joinery!



Sycamore trees are native to the UK, deciduous and fairly commonly found from well managed, sustainable woodland sources. The trees can grow to enormous dimensions  of 50m height and 1.5m diameter or more and so it follows that Sycamore logs are substantial in size too. As a timber its hardwood, pale white wood. The sap and heartwood are the same colour size and visual qualities. It’s grain is broad, strong and vibrant because the annual growth rings of the tree are very marked. The overall colouring is creamy yellow with the marked growth rings a rich reddy-brown. We think SYP is a very handsome looking timber and have found that it’s graphic ‘woodgrain’ look means it’s growing in popularity all the time.


Basic Info

The European Sycamore is know to be the hardest, strongest pine in existence and it’s is fairly durable and resistant to decay.

For us the striking characteristics of this timber are it’s big, distinctive grain pattern, the large dimensions and durability. An interesting combination of qualities for a creative designer maker or joiner to work with.

This is a timber species that’s not exactly common, we have cut and dried it for the last… oh uh um….   at least 3o years. It’s been a staple on our stock but a niche timber in the great scheme of things, sought out by traditional furniture makers and turners who knew their stuff.  Interestingly we’ve seen an increase in demand recently, perhaps because homegrown timber use is increasing but we think it’s a reflection on a revival of interest in the knowledge base of wood and wood culture and we’re thrilled this is the case, not least of all because Sycamore timber deserves to be treasured!

For projects that require a clean, white colouring or a crisp, strong contrast or an almost stoney hardness then it’s a popular option. For use with food, kitchen workshops, chopping boards, turning for platters and serving dishes or even rolling pins not least of all because it is inert  i.e. it doesn’t taint or leach tannin.

The only snag with this particular Acer is is perishability. Not something most people know but it’s something we understand having handled it for so long. Basically it doesn’t keep when it’s wet so it’s not a species we can air dry. Once it’s been cut it’s necessary to  kiln it almost immediately. A few days for a bit of initial drying but then it needs to be vacuum kilned to extract water to bring down moisture levels. You can tell timber that hasn’t been cared for as it should because it often has stick marks (no air drying no stick marks!) and a grey coloration rather then nice, pristine white. As we understand it he greying and stick marks are stains due to the active bacteria that begins to degrade the cells once the timber has been exposed to the air. 

As for workability, this species is a dream. It cuts and planes well with hand or machine tools, it has good bending strength so is good for steaming and it takes stains and finishes well.

So it’s a sensitive little soul with a heart of gold, our Sycamore… and a bit of TLC tis all it asks!

The proper Technical Info from TRADA

Wood Type: Hardwood

Mechanical Strength: High strength properties similar to those of Oak

Durability: Not durable (without further processing e.g. thermal modification)

Treatability: Easy

Moisture movement: Medium

Texture: Fine

Density (Kg/m3 at 12% moisture): 630 but varies by up to 20% +/-



Sycamore trees can grow to enormous dimensions  of 30m or more in height and 1.5m or more diameter  so it follows that Sycamore logs are substantial in size too.  Sadly it’s more often the timber handling equipment that determines the size of available boards. We aim to seek out and facilitate the drying of long and wide boards in homegrown timbers and Sycamore is included in that spec.



If you took the lack of durability of Sycamore as it’s bottom line, that keeps in within the interior realms. flooring, furniture making, kitchen worktops, interior joinery and variations along those themes. With thermal modification it’s possible to change that spec to use it for cladding and exterior furniture making too. 

Do you use Sycamore in your work or do you won some Sycamore furniture? We’d love to see it! 



Sycamore is pretty much always in stock as boules and waney edge (through and through) boards. We can machine it to order to but the raw wood is pretty raw! So in through & through we cut and keep thicknesses 27, 34, 41, 54, 65, 80 & 100mm thick. 

Typical boards widths go from as small as 150mm on a crown board up to 1.0m or more sometimes for a centre board. The majority are 300-400mm and, as you can imagine, the super wide boards sell very quickly*.  Lengths can actually be quite short, starting at around 2.0m and going up to 4 to 4.5m in length. Longer is harder to come by, but we’re working on it !

The boards are likely to encompass all the grades although Sycamore is a classic straight fine grain timber. It’s harder to come bu lots of character within Sycamore boards, in fact the prized rippled grain Sycamore might even be more common than a gnarled, burred, knotty board. Them the breaks we guess… horses for courses… that’s what Oak, Elm and Yew are for! 

See current Sycamore Stock in order of thickness

See current Sycamore Stock in order of width

See current Sycamore Stock in order of length


Alternative & Mixer Species

Ok, well here’s where you could have some fun. Sycamore’s so strikingly pale that you could have fun mixing it with any other species, but if you wanted to stay on the pale side, some white Ash boards would go,  and if you want serious contrasting strip pick Black Walnut maybe. If you want to match in hardness or strength the Ash and Walnut are good but prime Oak will give you matching strength almost like for like and if it comes to it and you really can’t find what you need with a Sycamore spec you might find something in sister species, N.Am Maple


MORE about Sycamore

See what people are doing with #Sycamore on Instagram

Sycamore timber images on google & the trees too

Thermal Modification? Why, where what and how by Wikipedia

Wikipedia says


 See all our Oak Stock


Oak is a timber species revered in British culture.

Associated with history, tradition, longevity, steadfastness, durability, toughness, and strength; across centuries we’ve anthropomorphised the ‘great Oak’ tree and it’s timber believing it represents us and that our lives are inextricably linked.

For us here at Cocking Sawmills this is only too true. Even today Oak is our bread and butter. We know, from the last 3o odd years of sawmilling, that the same goes for many of you joiners, framers, foresters and furniture makers too.

It’s a timber species we all know so well that we don’t stop to question or ponder on it’s qualities, it’s properties, it’s potential and it’s limitations (does it really have any?!). We eat, sleep and dream in Oak and yet, more often than not, we take it for granted.

Well not today.

Today we’re going back to wood school to talk about our beloved Oak, starting with names…

What’s in a name?

Meet Quercus. In Britain we have woodlands full of Quercus robur (pedunculate Oak) but it’s also native across Europe. We also come across Quercus petraea (sessile Oak). Both species are talked about as European Oak, but that includes French Oak, English Oak or Eastern European Oak. There are many (so many) variations in the Quercus gang it would be a waste of ether for us to list them when Wikipedia are doing such a good job but it’s worth remembering that although they all share a name they certainly don’t all share their timber properties.

NB We separate our origins so we can source specifically and from a single origin. In the British timbers we also document provenance, including woodland.



Oak trees are deciduous (at least our Quercus species are). They’re commonly found across the country and the rest of Europe from well managed, sustainable woodland sources.  Oak timber has pale yellow brown heartwood with medium coarse grain, tending to be straight and uniform. Exceptions are when quarter sawn, brown/yellow streaked, or pippy/burry. Workable with machine or hand tools depending on grain pattern but very difficult totreat (moisture & acid content). Takes glue, stain and polish well. Strong durable timber with medium moisture movement.


The proper Technical Info from TRADA

Wood Type: Hardwood

Mechanical Strength: High  

Durability: Durable 

Treatability: Extremely difficult

Moisture movement: Medium

Texture: Medium to coarse

Density (Kg/m3 at 12% moisture): 720 but varies by up to 20% +/-


In timber form Oak is of course a hardwood. It is known for it’s golden yellowy brown colouring but this has variations depending on origin and grade. The sap and heartwood are contrasting colours. The sap’s easy to see but is also a nice creamy colour and can be incorporated into projects if appropriate. The annual growth is strongly marked and the quarter sawn boards show a glistening flame pattern through the grain called Medullary Ray. Oak grain actually has an enormous range although technically documented as medium coarse. It is possible to find tight, narrow, straight, fairly smooth grain but also broad coarse and wild grain. Origin, age, soil properties, weather conditions… all these things contribute to the visual and mechanical properties of Oak.



Oak trees can grow to substantial dimensions of 30m or more in height and up to 1.5m diameter. Naturally it follows that Oak logs are substantial in size too.

Our British Oak is often short in bole (trunk). It is longer when grown in managed woodlands rather than open Estate land. Diameters however can be enormous as long lived estate Oaks survive in situ for centuries and produce great widths.By contrast, the deep European forests can produce incredible lengths and great straightness common with well managed forests. The straightness allows for maximum sawn width yields.

In the past we have been limited by timber handling equipment (kilns, cranes, lorries, even doorways) which determined the sizes of available timber but in recent years, as part of our aim to grow the market for homegrown timber, we have made the decision to seek out and facilitate the drying of long and wide boards in local timer but also when we buy and import logs and timber from Europe or N.America.



Oak stock is represented in every product area. We produce fresh sawn beams and cladding every week. We saw logs into boules which become our waney edge board stock after drying and there is always large square edge stock to select from, sourced from France, from Croatia, from Serbia and from other places we can find excellent certified sources.

The stock grades cover all normal Oak grades. We keep large volumes of Character, Prime and Super Prime square edge. We always have English & French waney edge. We select for quarter sawn and we keep Pippy Oak in light, medium and heavy Pip as well as Burr when we can find it. We rely on Tom’s log buying expertise to surprise us with the rarer feature grades for furniture and cabinetmaking timber.

In terms of available thicknesses, Stock Kiln dried boards range 18,2o, 27, 34, 41, 54, 65, 80, 100, 120mm thick with squares stocked up to 150mm. Typical board widths go from as small as 150mm on a crown board up to 1.0m or more sometimes for a centre board. The majority are 300-500mm and, as you can imagine, the wide boards sell very quickly. Homegrown Oak lengths can actually start quite short at around 2.0m but go up to 8m or more. Longer is harder to come by, but we’re working on it !

Download our OAK pdf which gives a good overview of the Oak we stock


When you look at Oak, it’s durability, it’s strength, it’s aesthetic qualities, it’s technical qualities, it’s extensive and ready availability in a wide range of products, not to mention the inherent knowledge base around Oak it won’t surprise you to know Oak can be used for almost anything.

Popular among green Oak framers & builders, joiners, furniture makers, carvers, turners, garden designers & groundworkers and anyone else that uses wood for anything at all. Oak can be applied to almost any interior or exterior purpose and is the strongest, most naturally durable timber option in homegrown timber due to Tannin content and density. Fresh sawn, it’s yellow brown colouring can take an exterior finishes once surface dry, otherwise it will silver down very respectfully.

It’s about the most popular and widely used timber in Europe. Use it round, use it green, use it riven, use it sawn, planed, profiled, air dried, kilned, English, French, Croatian, German, quartersawn, crowncut, pippy, burry, with bark or de-barked, use it through and through or square edge, super prime, prime, character rustic or downright downgrade. Oak is a great non-toxic option for use in children’s playgrounds and school landscaping and needs no additional chemical perservatives.

How are you going to use your Oak?


Alternative & Mixer Species

For alternatives to European Oak swap continents to America and you find Quercus rubra (red Oak) Quercus alba (white Oak) both usable and available for furniture and joinery. We don’t keep a lot of N.America stock but we offer the option for joinery and furniture customer preferences. Other alternatives for hard tough internal timber could be Beech or Sweet Chestnut. For structural purposes Sweet Chestnut or Douglas Fir could work.

In truth there’s endless fun with combining species but for good visual mixers we like Ash for nice grain patterns and gentle, cool contrast colouring and we like Walnut as a deep, warm contrast colouring.


Oak & Tannin

Tannic acid, also known as Quercittanic acid, is part of the chemical make up of Oak. Tannin contributes to the inherent durability of Oak and is present all forms of the timber. The reason it should be noted is that although it is fixed within dry, aged wood, in oak with high moisture content or in oak that’s exposed to external weathering the tannin can leach and stain.

Fresh sawn timber, boards that are still high in moisture, external cladding and structural timber for framing may show tannin leaching. It can leave a brown stain (like a tea stain funnily enough!) on the wood surface, on the ground if it’s been standing or underneath if water has run and dripped over it in situ.

If you’re using Oak externally ask us about tannin in your project.

Got a question about Oak? Don’t be shy, get in touch 

MORE about OAK



For simplicity’s sake we talk about most of our stock in terms of Character, Prime or Super Prime to reflect our customer’s general project requirements.

The specific scientific timber grades have been documented to make visual identification of grades universal. One great reference for this is the publication Making the Grade, well worth a read if you want to build your wood knowledge and understanding.




Technically, as documented by Making the Grade, this refers to a relatively low grade of timber that exhibits a mix of inter-grown knots, pin knots, heart shake, or colour variations.

english woodlands timber character oak sqAt English Woodlands Timber we use the term Character Oak to describe a very broad grade that includes anything that falls below Prime, 1st grade Oak standards with exceptions only for our feature grades

This then means under the term Character our boards include 2nd Grade Oak and incorporated sub grades plus may include pin knots, splits, cracks, heart shake, insect attack, bark pockets, areas of rot, sapwood and colour variation.

As an overview we don’t put restrictions on boards in this grade providing the appearance and mechanical properties of the particular timber are suitable for its intended purpose.

Our actual stock then incorporates particular selections within the grade of Character Oak.

Waney Edge Character Oak stock will generally sit in original boules and we select and measure from the stack depending on each customers requirements, preferences and the particular use for the board.

Square Edge Character Oak stock is a different thing altogether.Here a more sophisticated, applied grade selection has been carried out and boards are stocked in packs of similar grade qualities.

These packs tend to contain the higher qualities of Character Oak, the 2nd grades which exclude more rustic features and in terms of appearance are more representative of real Oak with good grain patterns, sound knots, lovely honey colouring… everything one normally expects from real Oak.

This means by selecting from packs it’s possible to get a consistent grade and overall ‘look’. This speeds up selection and is useful for flooring projects, cladding projects, bespoke kitchens, door manufacture, furniture range manufacture etc  where all boards need to have similar colouring, knot sizing and grain pattern. By selecting from graded packs of Square Edge Oak you get a reassuring  consistency, even in Character grades.



The term Prime has always been used to indicate the top grade of  timber.

It’s criteria is used to verify the mechanical properties of a board by visual means and seeks to differentiate Prime graded boards as boards that are fit for specific purpose, namely joinery, cladding, cabinetry, furniture making or highly machined timber products.

english woodlands timber prime oak sqIn this way, the grading of Prime timber is about what is allowed within a board outside of straight grain, even colouring and good quality wood husbandry.

In Prime Oak we allow one inter-grown knot* up to 20mm diameter or several small knots up to a 20mm combined diameter**. One small bark pocket is allowed. Small sap bands are allowed – we follow the French convention of ‘one in, one out’, the underlying principle being to provide a ‘fair measure’.

In selecting from Prime Waney Edge Oak boards to a cutting list or customer requirement we would measure out the waney edges (re:sap), the heart cracks, large knots, shakes and other typical board features that are not allowed within the grade so the board measure (the bit you pay for) would only include what comes within Prime grade, although you may receive a whole waney edge board.

Prime Oak colouring is relatively even but for particular consistency of colour the best method of selection is to choose boards absolutely from the same origin, and ideally from the same boule.

In this way Prime timber does waste more wood than other grades but it is how a single, unique waney edge board can be used to select for a multitude of grades and purposes and is one reason we love our waney edge timber.

Our Square Edge Prime Oak timber has been pre-selected into grades at the milling stage and is an easy, reliable, fast way to buy Prime Oak, especially if you are self-selecting. These boards can be just taken straight from a timber stack and each board measure meets the stated grade on at least one face, if not both.

For homegrown waney edge Oak take a look at Making the Grade – Oak grade 1 for illustrations of Prime Oak



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

It’s a grade that has been normalised as a timber grade in the UK for high grade imported square edge Oak. It’s a description we use of a grade that goes above and beyond normal Prime Oak timber qualities and requirements.

english woodlands timber super prime oak sqSuper Prime is a selection of the most pristine, the most clear, the most pale and evenly honey coloured, usually Eastern European, Prime Oak you will ever see. In most mills it’s edged after kilning in a re-grading process. More labour intensive but definitely serves to refine the grade. 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 a small pin knot and only visible on one face. The other face will undoubtedly be clear. The same applies to sap. In Super Prime Oak there will not be a lot of grain pattern. There will not be a lot of variation of anything. There will be no dark colouring. No bark pockets. No wild grain. No splits, no cracks, no shakes. There may be a high proportion of Quarter Sawn boards. There may be a lot of very flat boards. There may be a lot of very straight boards.

If you have a large run of Oak doors and you need them all to look and behave the same, use Super Prime. If you need a quiet, understated solid wood for an interior surface use Super Prime. If you need 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.




This is a very popular feature in Oak resulting from the presence of frequent small pin knots. The can appear singly, in  2’s or 3’s (cats paw) or in groups of growing density which we describe as llight, medium or heavy pip depending on number of knots in a group.


This describes an attractive colouration caused by the beef steak fungus Fistulina hepatica. We see it in Oak and it produces two different effects.

The first is a narrow brown streak going down through the grain that can hit and miss to produce a variable stripe. This is the Tiger Oak, surprise surprise! Super jazzy, it’s a wonderful vibrant alternative to an exotic species therefore prized by sustainable minded, conscientious designers and makers.

The Brown Oak is where the whole whole cross section of the heartwood is affected, leaving a solid brown colouring known, funnily enough as Brown oak. This may not sound too special but the colouring is so deep and chocolatey and different to anything else that it’s a joy to see and an absolute gift to cabinetmaker looking for that something special.



Burr describes what appears to be dense area of pin knots covering more than 50% of a board. It’s a spectacular visual effect, much sought after and is actually a feature caused by irregular grain growth around groups of epicormic buds.

Although Burring does change the mechanical properties of a board by interfering in the growth of the grain as the knots are so tiny and woven into the grain the board stays intact. Burr boards take more care to dry. They retain moisture differently to a straight grain board. They dry differentially in thickness and hold onto moisture in little pockets. This can produce undulations in the sawn surface but they can be worked very successfully for furniture making, box making, cabinetry etc

We have normal Burr boards but we also keep the actual burrs (big lumpy things) taken from the outer log prior to sawing. These are for special projects, wood turning, one off furniture pieces and the like. If you’re a Burr fan you’ll love these pieces.


This is the term for boards sawn on the radial plane to reveal the very decorative figuring known as medullary ray. A visible medullary ray (shiny flame pattern) and vertical growth rings in the end grain indicate quarter sawn timber.

This vertical grain means that boards will have maximum potential for stability. This is due to an absence or relative absence of curve/growth ring in the thickness therefore the absence of tension and/or compression inherent in the growth rings that act on boards to cause cupping.

We select particular logs to saw by the traditional quarter sawn method and of course our T&T*** sawmilling produces a number of quarter sawn boards near the centre of every boule. Sawing both methods allows us to select for the super wide quarter sawn boards that occur in boules whilst maintaining the ability to select for varying strengths of the fabulous grain pattern that occurs in outer and crown boards.

The best of both worlds!


*inter-grown knot, alternatively know as sound knot = a knot that the grain has grown through/into rather than around/against so that it is integral in the body of the timber. An unsound knot has grown separately to the flow of grain and can move separately, can be dislodged or even fall out.

**E.g. 1 knot at 6mm diameter + 1 knot at 5mm diameter + 1 knot at 7 mm diameter = a total 18mm diameter and therefore is allowed within Prime grade

***T&T Through & through sawing produces the same boards as plain sawn or also rift sawn




MAKING THE GRADE is an excellent timber grading reference (if we do say so ourselves) and is worth having to hand. Download a copy here by clicking on the book


Our TIMBER SPECIES FEATURE on OAK is a great overview of our Oak stock, what we hold, grades, origins, dimensions, machining and how to buy. Download by clicking on the page.

oak species feature about our oak stock









For a quick fire route to selected Oak stock use the links below

structural oak stocksquare edge oak board stockwaney edge oak board stockoak flooring stock



Our Timber Services are extensive and thorough.

They begin with timber selection. We’re happy for you to come to the woodyard to select your own timber but we’re equally happy to pick timber on your behalf.

Further to selection, we can parallel rip, cut to size and manufacture components to order. Just give us a cutting list to work from and in a few days your timber will be ready.

If you need architectural joinery, mouldings, cladding profiles, flooring or decking components we have WEINIG 6 side moulders to machine whatever you need. Bespoke profiles are no problem.

When you’ve selected your waney edge or natural edge boards and all you want is thicknessing or smooth surface planing we have options that go up to 800mm wide in a single pass. Yup, that whole waney edge boards can become your dream table top in a single pass through the planer!

Browse Timber Services or send us a cutting list…  or both!



Sawing English Oak Logs in  A Day in the Life of a Sawmill

Tom’s decodes Oak log buying Tom Talks Round  Timber

Tom’s decodes Oak log buying Tom Talks Round  Timber

An old school Oak post in The answer to Life the Universe and Everything 

An insight into Pippy Oak grading Pippy Oak? No Burr-oblem

Read about French Character & Prime Oak

Read about Super Prime Oak



the weals and downland museum built with fresh swank structural timber PK.KD.SE.Oak packs grain and colour par and sawn kiln dried waney edge oak boards stock at cocking sawmills kiln dried square edge oak stock in prime and super prime boards english woodlands timber character oak sq English Oak 27mm brown and tiger Tom checking colour in oak logs.englishwoodlandstimber. Tidal Bespoke interior oak panelling and joinery english oak stack in the kiln dried timber shed JUST OAK square edge in the woodsheds at cocking sawmills oakland vale timber framed house building Englsh oak 3inch and the Croatian square edge next to it pippy oak logs to stick english woodlands timber super prime oak sq french oak square edge packs Structural oak beam stock croatian OAK super prime square edge stock in the kiln dried shed fresh sawn oak featheredge cladding JF.kiln dried prime oak squares fresh sawn oak strip cladding  english woodlands timber prime oak sq Downland Workshops fresh sawn oak frame structural oak beams in stock in the woodyard T&T Oak long and FS Oak featheredge +cladding air dried boule of through and through Oak at Cocking Waney edge light pippy oak boule with nice colour 2




They’re the reason we open our doors in the morning.

The woodworkers. The woodthinkers. The people who design, who make, who craft & who build. Who bring timber to life in all it’s forms.

Our woodworking customers are a diverse bunch with an astounding range of skills and expertise.

Browse the myriad timber framers, furniture makers, joiners and carpenters, traditional builders, landscaping companies, flooring specialists and every other kind of woodworker you can imagine.

Find a woodworker with the expertise to match your requirement and bring your project to life…

The Woodworkers





See what people are doing with #Oak on Instagram

Oak waney edge timber images , Oak square edge images on google & the trees

What Wikipedia says about Quercus Robur

Here’s an extensive list of all the Quercus species

Download a copy of MAKING THE GRADE and grow your knowledge of wood and timber grading

Find more Wood Species data on TRADA’s website

Read about Tannin on good old Wikipedia








Oh, that’s what that word means…


AD  or Air Dried

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.



Horizontal load bearing timbers.



The useable (usually the lower& branchless) part of a log


BTM or Boards to make

Is a term used to refer to a way of supplying timber. ‘Boards to make’ is short for boards to make a cutting list and describes a method of supply where intact boards, waney or square edged, are selected and provided against a cutting list, rather than cut to match the cutting list nominal sizes or planed all round to match cutting list finished sizes. For experienced woodworkers it can be preferable as the choice of cut is theirs and any waste is kept but conversely it takes more work and space to store. It’s



The French term for a log butt that has been cut through and through



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 our TIMBER GRADES page for more info



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



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.



The colour 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 the process of taking one raw material eg. log and converting it to another material for use eg. beam or T&T board



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.


CTS  or 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



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 Lebanon, Chestnut, Oak, Yew
Class 3 Moderately Durable Western Red Cedar, Walnut, Cherry
Class 4 Slightly Durable Elm, Larch (3-4), Douglas Fir (3-4), Scots Pine
Class 5 Not Durable Ash, Beech, Sycamore


External use

A few species of wood are suitable for use externally. The timber can generally can be higher in moisture content. Fresh sawn timber is fine outdoors and as air dried timber which has already lost moisture, shrunk and stabilised. Changing conditions will continue to impact timber used externally. The key is intelligent application i.e. using the right timber for the job with good detailing, good fixings and if any, good finishes.

Face dimensions

Face dimensions are the specific measurement – usually width in mm – of individual boards that are used for decking, cladding and flooring where the profile includes an overlap and the total width of the board is larger than the width of the face.


FE or Feather Edge

Feather edge is a simple 4 sided overlapping profile, usually cut from Fresh Sawn timber, for cladding and fencing use. It has one thin edge and one thicker edge, one overlaps the other.



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.

Finished sizes

Finished sizes are exactly that, the sizes the piece of timber is machined to finish at. It’s used a lot in cutting list quoting where a customer provides a list of sizes of timber they require. The finished sizes have to be less (8mm) than the origin timber dimensions, what we call nominal dimensions.  So if the required finished size is 45mm thick, then the raw timber must be from 54mm thick to allow for 9mm of timber to be machined away to finish at the 45mm. It’s hard to talk about wasting so much but that’s the nature of requirements, need timber to be perfectly smooth, flat and to specific dimensions.


Fire resistance

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



Also known as Woodland Management. The management of land and trees with regard to protecting the natural woodland environment whilst facilitating forestry based industries.


FS or Fresh Sawn

Fresh Sawn timber, also known as Green, is timber newly cut from the log. It is timber still in a soft state, it’s is high in moisture but evaporates most of that off as it dried,  hardening at the same time.


General Info

Descriptive. timber colour and grain pattern, whether it can be treated, painted etc and how it works. eg. prone to split when nailed etc


Timber Grade / Grading

Timber grades vary depending on the qualities within the wood and standards set for assessment for purpose. Structural timbers are graded depending on their use and fitness for purpose. Joinery (inc furniture, flooring etc) timbers are graded on their visual qualities and signs of stability. See our TIMBER GRADES page for more info. and or see Structural Grades and Joinery Grades

Grain pattern

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 inner zone of wood that, in the growing tree, has ceased to contain living cells or conduct sap.



Grown in the UK.


Internal use

Most species of wood are suitable for use internally. Wood for internal use generally requires to be kiln drying but air dried can sometimes be dried enough. Using timber internally always depends on ambient moisture content and is all about managing moisture movement.



Assembly of worked timber components and panel products other than structural timber or cladding. Generally Joinery refers to finely worked carpentry like doors, windows, frames, skirting, architrtaves and mouldings. It requires skilled wood working and a good understanding of wood. The deeper the understanding the better the joiner.


Joinery Grades

BS5756 Hardwoods
See our TIMBER GRADES page for more info


Jointed Wood

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


KD or Kiln Dried

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.



Layer wood glued to make a solid thickness, width or length



Horizontal load bearing timber supported on brick/blockwork over an aperture (window or door to you and me!)


Moisture content

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%


Moisture movement

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.



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.


Nominal sizes

Nominal sizes are the raw timber sizes.
When we use nominal sizes to pick on a cutting list we supply the original thicknesses – the ones we cut the logs at on the bandsaw, reduced due to shrinkage over time but pretty much predictable – and widths that allow for waste material in machining. When it comes to length we just aim for the least waste possible.

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:


PAR or Planed all Round

Meaning planed on each surface apart from ends (4 sides), usually to specified dimensions i.e. the required finished sizes


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!



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.



Vertical load bearing timbers


Prime Grade

Timber that is mostly knot free, clear and straight grained. See our TIMBER GRADES page for more info.



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.



The sectional outline of the timber i.e. the shape you see if you sliced across the grain. It’s mostly use to talk about machined shaped mouldings. These are the detailed, shaped profiles cut with a moulder – a machine with 6 or more heads (cutting blades) – often used in architectural joinery as part of interior finishes.



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.


RT or Round Timber

The term for trees that have been felled and are now large diameter felled logs



The outer zone of wood that, in the growing tree contains living cells and conducts sap.



Section is short for cross-section, a 90 degree slice across a width – as opposed to down a length.
Sections are the way we talk about structural timber – structural sections – because the inherent strength is a factor of the surface area of that cross section and the ratios of dimensions. Further info on STRUCTURAL TIMBER via TRADA


Service Life

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.


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



Also know as moisture movement. Can be estimated depending on species Re: Trada data.


Silver down

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.



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.


Given as the Common Name and the Biological name of the tree



Separation of fibres along the grain forming a crack or fissure that extends through timber or veneer from one surface to the other


SE or Square Edge

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.



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.


Structural Grades

BS4976 Softwoods

BS5756 Hardwoods

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. Further info on STRUCTURAL TIMBER via TRADA


Super Prime Grade

Super Prime grade really only applies to our Croatian Oak square edge boards that have been selected out from Prime grade stock as they achieve over and above the requirements. This grade of Oak is of a consistent pale oak colour,  it has very little variation in grain, it does include a fairly high percentage of quarter sawn boards, in appearance it is the ‘cleanest’ Oak it is possible to buy and in function it is very stable and as such is highly sought after for joinery. See our TIMBER GRADES page for more info

Tannic Acid

Some timber species contain Tannin, Quertannic 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.


Thermal properties

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

T&T or Through & Through

A T&T 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.


Timber Type

Given as Hardwood or Softwood depending on species


Timber properties

More technical info – on movement/stability, durability, strengths, density, particular values that are relevant to the appropriate uses. Fixings and metal components & tannin



The ease with which a wood can be penetrated by a liquid eg. a preservative. There are classes for which species are rated.



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 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 or Waney Edge

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



Western Red Cedar



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.


Working Sawmill

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



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.


Visual grading

Our resident Visual Strength Grader Steve (TRADA will be glad to grade your structural Oak to BS5756 if required. Call and ask him for advice on 01730 816941.



Got a question about the glossary of wood words? Get in touch…

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