We’re Beaming !!


Structural Oak Beams are another string to our bow. These can range from fresh sawn (Green Oak) to air drying beam. Currently we have sizes 150 x 150mm, 250 x 250mm and 300 x 300mm in Air Drying stock. These vary in length from 3.00m to 6.00m.

These beams move very quickly so give our Sales Team a call 01798 861611. Remember, if your size requirement falls inbetween these sizes, we may be able to re-cut them to your requirement.

We also have a number of older beam stock that is more suited to aesthetic use, mantlepiece’s, decorative Oak etc. These are very grey but can be planed to bring the brightness of the timber back. They generally have a lot of character in them and may well be a little twisted. That doesn’t mean their not beautiful, they are and in the correct place will, undoubtedly enhance the surroundings.

The popularity in using Oak has returned, thankfully, it is stronger than steel, it is stronger than bricks and mortar, and it is certainly more pleasing to the eye. But it is a living material, and it will continue to crack, split and creak well after your builders have finished installing it. That is the Oak continuing to dry out.

But does Oak beam ever really dry out? Well we are sure that it does not. In the 1970’s a small church which nestled under the downs close to Midhurst was deconsecrated and pulled down.  Materials salvaged from the church were sold off and the purchaser of the Oak Beams from the roof brought them into our sawmill at Midhurst to be resawn.  Jim West, who looked after the mill at that time asked what finished sizes were required as he would have to make allowance in the resawing for shrinkage.

The new owner looked aghast at Jim and said “these beams have been in the roof of that church for three hundred years and before that they were in a warship. They are as dry as a bone, they will never shrink.”  Jim said O.K. but I would like you to be here when we saw them and to check the measurements as they come off the saw.  This he did and took the beams away on his lorry a satisfied man.

A number of months later Jim had another visit from the beam man who said that he had come to apologise because he had not believed the “expert”.  All of the beams had now shrunk in their cross-section from the resawn sizes.

We still get asked if we supply “Kiln Dried” Oak Beams  and we are still not believed when we say that it is not possible to kiln dry any thickness greater than 3 inches or 75mm successfully. So you see, we are pretty sure you can’t fully dry Oak Beams!!!

Call our Sales team on 01798 861611 or email:sales@wlwest.co.uk


Contemporary Downland House


In the current times it is very hard to find a building team that is so dedicated to produce a unique building to amazing high standards such as Downley House.

Situated on the South Downs, the owner bought a derelict house and has incorporated the frontage of the original house into a contemporary building for his family.

We had only a small part to play in the build which I am sure Kevin McCloud would have been proud of.

The uniqueness of the project has been realized from a dream, into a home. The owner had a quite specific vision and worked with his Architect to make it happen. Skilled tradesmen ensured that there was a practical and quality outcome.

The site for the home has been excavated from the side of the downs. The building has incorporated many different building materials from concrete, steel and copper to natural stone, timber and glass, all blended expertly to produce a spectacular outcome.

Part of the external walls have been vertically clad with Oak Cladding, with selected 1–2 grade European Oak, which is FSC certificated. The timber has been fixed and allowed to start weathering naturally, using stainless fixing with the drill holes being greater than the shank to allow for movement throughout the seasons.

The Oak was conditioned before sending it to site to ensure the moisture content was approx 16%+-2% to give this the best chance for minimum movement. Some sound small features are permitted to keep costs to below budget and ensure the timber cladding looks real and natural. The lengths are all under 2.50m to ensure perfect vertical alignment with a clever head joint to act as a feature and a practical weather.

The addition of specially selected Oak beams to form a substantial pergola makes this more of a mansion than a house. It is a wonderful example of clever design, expert trades and superb materials being brought together to result in a spectacular property that will stand proudly on the Downs for decades to come.

You can read more on the owners own Blog Site click here to link to it.

01798 861611