Choosing Types of Wood
The type of wood you choose determines the beauty and strength of the finished piece. Many types of wood are available, from Oxford Wood Recycling, and each has its own properties. Here weíve tried to explain the wood product making and buying process and what you can expect from some common types of species.
The way that the original log has been cut at the saw mill determines the strength and use of the final product. The main 3 types of milling processes are Plain , Quarter and Rift sawn.
Hardwoods are usually Plain or Quarter sawn and construction softwoods are generally Rift sawn. In a modern computer driven saw mill a softwood log will be processed in many different ways to maximise the yield from the log.
Plain sawn is for the large wide slabs that can be used for tables and furniture and flooring. Quarter sawn is the daddy of milling techniques and is expensive therefore usually used for furniture.
Quarter Sawn hardwood timber is the most stable and has attractive patterning. the growth rings are generally at 60 to 90 degrees to the face of the board.
Rift sawn softwood is used in construction for decks, framing, posts, flooring, fencing, beams , landscaping and barn timbers. The linear grain pattern is achieved by milling perpendicular to the logs growth rings on angles between 45 and 75 deg.
Construction softwood is mainly sourced from cold countries such as Canada, Nordics, Baltics and Russia, to keep the growth rings tight for strength and stability. Several other species of tree such as spruce and hemlock are also used but rarer. It this wood is intended for first fix use i.e. domestic woodwork that will not be seen when the project is complete such as timber frames and stud work. Scaffold boards and the majority of pallets are also made from whitewood. It may have some splits & stains and some warp.
The big DIY sheds sell a lot of whitewood that has been planed all round (PAR) so it is uniform and graded therefore being easy to transport, minimal splinters and gentle to the eye when buying.
Timber is still widely bought in imperial sizes, while being sold in metric. For example 4◊2 means 4 inches by 2 inches. Retailers will supply 48mmx90mm, which is near enough identical. Metric sizes are also sold that donít correspond to the popular imperial sizes but close enough!
In DIY sheds timber is sold in various lengths, common are 1.8m, 2.4m & 3m (apx 6′, 8′ & 10′). At OWR we stock a wider range of lengths including very short pieces. Please come and see us as we can cut to length and match your cutting list more accurately than a high st retailer.
Grading is an assessment of the structural strength of the timber. Key features assessed in grading are splits and knots, especially large knots at the edge of the wood. Graded wood is stamped with the grading details. For new floor joists and roofing requires use of graded timber To comply with building control. For most diy shed, decking planters etc there is no need to use graded timber.