United Kingdom Timber Grading – UK Hardwoods

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UK Hardwoods : Timber Information

United Kingdom Wood Grading : New System

23 May 2005

United Kingdom Timber Grading

NEW VISUAL GRADING SYSTEM LAUNCH FOR HOME-GROWN HARDWOODS

A new system of grading the appearance of hardwood timber grown in the United Kingdom has been unveiled.

It is intended to building industry professionals held in Perth in conjunction with the fourth Scottish Wood Fair on 13 May 2005.

Forestry Commission Scotland fill a need for a consistent, unified system that can be applied across UK industries for grading the appearance of planks and boards of hardwoods such as oak, ash, birch, elm, sycamore and beech.

Scottish timber building:
Loch Leven Bird Hide
photograph © Icosis Architects

It was launched at a continuing professional development seminar for business development adviser Derek Nelson explained,

“Many hardwood sawmillers were operating their own, in-house visual grading systems for their products, but we recognised that this could be confusing for customers. There was broad agreement across the industry that we would benefit from having a simple, agreed and commonly understood visual grading system that will allow hardwood boards to be classified into a workable number of quality grades that can be easily understood and applied by sawmillers and their immediate customers.

“We’re very pleased with the result, which we believe has succeeded very well in being simple and easy to understand.”

A key output from the project has been a booklet guide to the new grading
system, entitled “Making The Grade”. It includes colour photographs to provide examples of the appearance of each grade of each species of timber. Oak, for example, is divided into three basic grades and five “special-feature” grades, namely pippy, character, tiger oak and brown oak, quarter-sawn and burr.

Mr Nelson stressed that the new system only graded appearances; it is not a strength grading system.

The new system was designed over the past three years by consultants working in collaboration with industry representatives from all four countries of the UK. The project was co-ordinated by the Scottish Hardwood Timber Market Development Group (SHTMDG).

UK Timber Grading information received 23 May 2005

The booklet is available free by mail order from Forestry Commission Publications, P.O. Box 25, Wetherby, West Yorkshire LS23 7EW; telephone 0870 121 4180; fax: 0870 121 4181; e-mail: forestry(at)twoten.press.net.

The production of the grading system and booklet guide was supported by the Forestry Commission, Scottish Enterprise, the Welsh Development Agency, the Scottish Forestry Trust, the Northern Ireland Forest Service, the England Forest Industries Partnership and the European Union.

The Scottish Hardwood Timber Market Development Group is a partnership of stakeholders that works to increase and develop the market for hardwood timber grown in Scotland.

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