Timbers - their properties and uses

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This sheet sets out the properties of 140 timber species commonly used in the UK. A brief overview of the properties a specifier should consider is followed by a reference table that can be used to help with species selection or to determine species with comparable properties when alternatives are required.


The table includes data for timber type and colour, texture, density, moisture movement, durability (fungi), treatability (heartwood), working qualities, availability. Notable features and an indication of common uses are also shown where applicable.

Suggested Reading

Moisture in timbernavigation-arrow

One of the most important factors affecting the performance and properties of wood is its moisture content. The amount of water present in wood can affect its weight, strength, workability, susceptibility to biological attack and dimensional stability in a particular end use.

We estimate that over 80% of...

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Making the grade - A guide to appearance grading UK grown hardwood timbernavigation-arrow

This guide details appearance grades applicable to hardwood planks and boards from trees grown in the UK. It broadly follows the grading criteria set out in EN 975 - 1 but with modifications to take account of the timber availability, species, characteristics and production methods found in the UK.

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Structural use of hardwoodsnavigation-arrow

Although the vast majority of structural timber in the UK is softwood, there is a significant interest in hardwoods from both temperate and tropical regions for structural applications. When using hardwoods in structures, the specifier may need to take more interest in the species, its origin and its moisture condition...

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