The Mighty Oak – The most versatile timber in Europe!

The Mighty Oak

What a grand name for one of our favourite natural species, to give it its full botanical name ‘Quercus Robur’. It has to be one of the most versatile European species, indeed probably one of the most versatile in the world. But then, I am biased – being Oak sawmillers!!

So what can you use Oak for then? Well its quite a long list.

Building – for constructional purposes ….. beams, (Oh! by the way, did you know that in a fire an Oak Beam behaves better that a steel joist? The Oak will charcoal on the outside and give the inner timber a bit of protection whilst still maintaining strength, where steel gets soft in heat and will bend. Of course nothing will survive a severe fire, but it is an interesting point).

Joinery – windows and doors, the heartwood of Oak has good durability even when left untreated, the sapwood will decay and be susceptible to insect attack, the heartwood is not. When treated correctly with a good timber treatment it will last even longer. Untreated it will turn a wonderful silvery grey.

Flooring and second fix items – By second fix we mean skirting’s, architraves, picture rails and much more. Flooring can be strip or parquet. Used internally the sapwood performs as well as the heartwood. The only difference is that visually it can be a quite different colour. We have many discussions with customers on this subject, from our point of view it is not considered a defect and will be measured in when we sell Oak plank. Furniture makers do not always like it. But it can give a stunning contrast in the right place.

Furniture – Of course, furniture has been made from Oak for centuries, and most of it will outlast us. Tables, Chairs, Beds, Dressers the list is only limited by our imagination.

Fencing & Gates – A traditional Oak fence will last years, match it with a beautiful hand made gate, and your garden and property will look amazing. Oak gates are something that we pride ourselves on. Our family has been making gates for decades, I could probably say centuries. Around Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire you can see examples of our craftsmanship that were made 30 or 40 years ago and are still is service.

I’ve probably missed a lot of uses out, so tell me in a comment.

What do we look for when we buy Oak? Well, if we are buying Oak logs we generally prefer to buy when the trees have been felled and are at roadside. This enables you to get a better idea of the quality of the timber.

Is it straight? Does the bark twist in a spiral? This often indicates twist in the timber as well, as the bark will normally grow in the same direction as the grain of the tree.

Has it got ring or star shake? This can sometimes be caused by the type of ground it is grown on and will almost definitely result in stresses in the timber, which will cause problems when cutting or machining it.

Can we get a good length to the first major stop? By this we mean to the first branch, clearly, where the branches are there will be what we term ‘a defect’ inside the log – a knot. Some small knots are acceptable, indeed they can disappear inside of the log. But larger ones cannot be worked around, especially if they are dead knots. Oh, yes, Dead knots are loose and in some cases have fallen out resulting in a hole, live knots are permissible dependant on size – these are ones that are firmly in place and have no chance of falling out.

Has it got good colour or is it patchy? Colour can sometimes run quite a way into the log, and sometimes it will taper out in a few centimetres. On occasion we find a Brown Oak log, this is where a fungus called Fistulina hepatica or more commonly known as beefsteak Fungus. A good consistent colour right through the tree is great and we can do something with it, but all too often it can be seen at the base, but not the top and will only go a few feet in, this then causes a patchiness of colour – which again, not all of our customers will accept.
So, what about sawn Oak? Well we do buy in two different forms, Through & Through (waney edged where we sliced the tree into plank but left the shape of the tree) and Square Edge where the timber has been cut to dimensions. In the main we use much of the criteria used on buying a tree and apply it to both of these methods of buying – is it straight grained, free of unacceptable defects (knots), good colour, minimal splits, minimal surface checking.

We do buy Through & Through already kilned from Europe, but we inspect and reject. Each plank is turned over and inspected and either accepted or rejected. We only buy what we feel meets our customers requirements. With square edge, this is graded more specifically and we can choose the grade to fit our customers needs.

So, what are the benefits? Well, by buying Through & Through that is already kiln dried, we can get it to market immediately. If we had cut it ourselves we would have had to air dry it for 1 year for each 1″ (27mm) thickness. Now, we do still sawmill our own logs but we also purchase kiln dried as well. Its a good mix.
With square edge we have the same benefits as Through & Through, plus we have now reduced the wastage by cutting it to widths. Theses are random widths and we sell ‘as arising’, meaning from the top of the stack. So we have again additional benefits.

Well, I am sure I have missed masses out about The Mighty Oak, but I guess you get the message – it is probably the most versatile European species available!!

Don’t forget, for all of your hardwood and joinery softwood products and requirements…………………

Call our Sales team on 01798 861611 or email:

Water, Water – everywhere!!

Well we have now been on a hosepipe ban by Southern Water since April due to the severe shortages of water in reservoirs. In that time it has hardly stopped raining, it has to be, without doubt, the wettest drought in living history!!

Those of you that have visited us may know that we are located right beside a river, any sign of heavy rain and the river bursts its banks and the road closes to all but either those equipped with tractors, those who are foolhardy or those that really do not know the area and think they will ‘take a chance’. This afternnoon we have witnessed all of the above!! Having said that, it is higher than we have seen it for a good number of years, the water just reaching our main gate.

But when on earth is the sun going to shine? It is almost the Summer Solstice – 21st of June and we have had a week of very hot weather in March??? whats that all about?, a few hot days in May but little else. How will this affect our timber? It will certainly change the air drying stock and slow it down, this could be good as it may let the timber dry a little more gently.

Well lets hope things get more postive both weatherwise and tradingwise towards the end of June and into July. So for those of you slogging away in the workshop working on the next project………

Don’t forget, for all of your hardwood and joinery softwood requirements…………………

Call our Sales team on 01798 861611 or

Oak Diamond Trellis Panels

Oak Diamond Trellis Panels

This is a bit of a different post, but variety is the spice of life so they say.

We have a quantity of 6  Oak Diamond Trellis Panels available . These were bespoke made for a customer who subsequently cancelled the order!!

They are 3.05m long and 1.44m high, so are not a standard size. But, they are still fresh and would grace anyone’s garden (if its big enough!!), but we do not want them hanging around too long, so …….

£95 each +vat. Discounts available for multiple purchases.

Now if you like what you see, but they definately are too big, give our team a call, remember these are bespoke, so we can easily make you other sizes.

Call our shop on 01798 861611 option 3

Don’t forget, for all of your hardwood and joinery softwood requirements…………………

Call our Sales team on 01798 861611 or

What! Yew again?

An amazing avenue of Yew bushes in a local churchyard.

European Yew (taxus baccata), is a native of Western, Central and Southern Europe. It is also found in North Africa and the Middle East. It is a quite remarkable tree with some examples in the UK and Northern France dating back 2000 years or more! One of the oldest uses was for longbows, one of the first documented uses for longbows in England is in 1294. Traditionally Yew trees were planted in Church yards. There are many stories of why this was, from being planted over victims of the plague to purify and protect them to being planted out of the way of cattle, to which they are poisonous.

A great indication of the contrast between sap and heartwood.

The timber itself is almost unique in its appearance, being quite Orangy Red in the heartwood and cream almost white in the sapwood. This gives a dramatic contrast to any products made from this species. Although not a rare species, getting logs with sufficient girth and straightness to be sawmilled is a little rarer.

So….. back to the squares……….

We have a good number of Squares in three sizes and a variety of lengths, all with their own very individual character.

105 x 105mm, 135 x 135mm and 160 x 160mm. For a list of prices including VAT please CLICK HERE to go to our main web site.

In addition……..

We have also cut some Through and Through boards (waney edged) in 27, 41, 54, 65, 75 and 100mm. Can you imaging the contrast of this timber in a floor? How wacky would that be? This is in a mix of Air Drying and Kiln Dried, so a phone call is best to start your enquiry.

Now I said above that the Yew tree had been used for a number of uses over the years, well how about this…. while taking a few pictures of the Yew trees and bushes in a local churchyard, I came across the ultimate in natural garden sheds!!

Don’t forget, for all of your hardwood and joinery softwood requirements…………………

Call our Sales team on 01798 861611 or