What Is Timber?

Timber is with out doubt one of the most attractive, durable, versatile and dependable constructional material, with performance and environmental credentials to match, any man made alternative.

Timber is perhaps the most sustainable and renewable construction material available. Correctly harvested, the extraction of timber is not detrimental to the global environment. On the contrary, those who buy and sell wood are acting in a ‘green’ manner. Wood is a renewable resource and is organic, non-toxic, re-cyclable and biodegradable. Equally important, manufacturing a component from wood requires less energy than materials such as steel or aluminium. Less energy means less carbon dioxide in the environment and less acid rain damaging our planet.

As a natural product, timber is subject to considerable variation in colour, grain and character. Variations of this sort are to be expected and do not inherently affect the quality of the end product. It is its variability, which provides the inherent visual attraction of the material.

The Structure Of Timber

The characteristics’ of timber are used to distinguish between hardwoods and softwoods and between different species. Characteristics, which can be seen with the naked eye, include:

Knots: the remains of branches, which originate in the centre of the tree and become embedded in the trunk as the tree grows.

Grain: the general direction of the fibres relative to the axis of the tree.

Texture: depends on the structural character of the timber. Timbers with small cells produce fine textured timber; those with large cells produce a coarse texture.

Figure: refers to the markings seen on the cut surface of the timber formed by the structural features of the timber.

World Forest Locations

Roughly 20% of the world’s land surface is covered by forests, both natural and planted. Coniferous forests encircle the world in the Northern Hemisphere and provide the major source of structural timber.

Two types of constructional softwood are predominant in Europe; European redwoods and European whitewoods. The forests of the USA and Canada are important sources of Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock and Western Red Cedar.

Broad leaved trees predominate in the tropical forests and the number of timber producing species run into the many thousands. Some of the more familiar are iroko and opepe from Africa, teak and meranti from south east Asia and greenheart from South America.

Timber Services

At P.O. Joyce Ltd we are able to provide a number of other timber services. They include Stress (strength) Graded timber, Regularised timber, Tanalised (treated) timber and Vac-Vac treated timber.

Tanalised Timber

Tanalised timber is timber pressure treated and impregnated with Tanalith E preservative to provide, clean, bright and long life timber. The preservative is completely fixed within the timber and will not leak out in any environment.

However you must be aware that timber swells when it is pressure treated with a water based preservative, like Tanelith E, in fact as much as 4% of the finished size after machining and it shrinks as it dries.

We therefore advise letting any treated timber, to dry somewhat before fitting, for at least a couple of weeks. This not only helps to achieve a more constant size but also improves their workability. Be aware that climatic changes cause the timber to continually shrink and swell and in turn this movement may vary from piece to piece.

We stock a number of tanalised products including softwood timber and some sheet materials, however if we do not stock it, we may be able to obtain it as a special order.

Stress Graded Timber

Stress grading timber, is a method of determining the strength of a piece of timber destined for structural use. The use of stress-graded timber is for structural use, it is a critical safety element of construction and the use of strength-graded timber is required by Building Regulations. The type of stress graded class we stock and can obtain includes C16/24 to BS EN 338.

We do stock some stress-graded timber, however if we do not meet your requirements from our stock, we can procure this type of timber as a special order. It can take a few days to obtain.

Vac-Vac Treatment

VACSOL Aqua treated timber, is timber, which has been impregnated with VACSOL Aqua timber preservative under rigidly controlled conditions in a double vacuum/low pressure plant (Vac-Vac plant).

Here the timber is placed in a tank and firstly a vac is applied to suck out all excess water from the timber. Then the preservative is added, and finally it is pressurised, forcing the preservative deep into the timber. VACSOL Aqua is a waterborne timber preservative formulation having fungicidal and insecticidal properties.

We are able to procure Vac-Vac treated timber as a special order for nearly any dimensions you require. It can take a few days to obtain.

Regularised Timber

Regularised Timber is a process, so that the thickness and/or depth of timber are uniformed throughout its length. It is used to keep floors, walls and ceilings level and consistent.