Timber species

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Wood is a natural material, and is sourced from many different tree species. Each species produces timber which varies in colour, density and performance properties, all of which will influence that species' suitability for a particular job.

Tree species are broadly divided into two main groups: softwood and hardwood. Softwood comes from cone-bearing, coniferous trees, while hardwood comes from deciduous trees which shed their leaves at the end of growing season or during a dry season.

Hardwoods are also further divided based on where they grow, into tropical and temperate.

This Choose and Use sheet contains a species table which details the species, origin, colour, density, texture, moisture movement, working qualities, durability, treatability of Heartwood and uses of a number of common softwoods and temperate and tropical hardwoods.

Contents:

  • Softwoods
  • Hardwoods
  • Which species of wood do I choose?
  • Table of species and uses
  • Table 1: Softwoods
  • Table 2: Temperate hardwoods
  • Table 3: Tropical hardwoods

Suggested Reading

Principles of green oak constructionnavigation-arrow

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This Wood Information Sheet (WIS) is an overview of the design and construction principles that specifiers should consider in order to ensure...

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Specifying timber species in marine and freshwater constructionnavigation-arrow

Historically, the UK construction industry has favoured a narrow range of tried and tested hardwood timbers for use in marine and freshwater applications.

 

Over-reliance on a small number of species is not compatible within sustainable forest management, as certain species are being over-exploited. This is likely to reduce the...

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Structural use of hardwoodsnavigation-arrow

Although the vast majority of structural timber in the UK is softwood, there is a significant interest in hardwoods from both temperate and tropical regions for structural applications. When using hardwoods in structures, the specifier may need to take more interest in the species, its origin and its moisture condition...

07/05/2019 |  Wood Information Sheet