Softwood timber is obtained from conifers - trees which have needle like leaves and usually bear cones. Softwoods are the most commonly used timber materials because they are generally less expensive than hardwoods,a re readily available, easy to work with and are less dense than most hardwoods.

  • Of the 650 species of softwoods throughout the world, approximately 50 are in commercial use.
  • Most softwood used in the UK comes from Sweden, UK forests, Finland, Latvia, Germany and Russia.


Which species of wood do I choose?

This depends on a number of factors, but when selecting the timber species consider these points:

  1. The end use - for example, is the wood to be used as a structural material and then covered over with something else, i.e studding covered by plasterboard, or will it be exposed?
  2. What strength is required? Does the timber need to have a high bending strength, such as a joist, or a high tensile strength where the timber is stretched in the application?
  3. Is the wood to be used purely for a decorative effect? Is this to be a dark or light colour?
  4. Is the wood to be machined? Some species are more easily machined than others.
  5. Is the wood from a managed forest source, and certified, (i.e FSC or PEFC)
  6. Cost. It may look nice, but is it worth the additional cost, if another less expensive and more commercially available timber can do the same job?
  7. Durability and treatability: is it necessary to use preservatives?

How timber is graded

Strength grading is a way of assessing the strength of a piece of timber, which depends on its species as well as its grade. A low grade timber from a strong species may be equal in stength to a high
grade timber from a weaker species. Strength grading is needed to ensure timber is strong enough for a particular job, e.g. a floor joist or a roof truss. It also saves money by helping to avoid over-specification.
‚ÄčTo make specifiying easier, species and grades are grouped into stength classes of similar strength. Strength classes range from C14 to C50 for softwood and D30 to D70 for hardwoods. The higher the number the stronger the timber. The most common grade for softwood carcassing is C16.

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Latest Covid News - Monday 26th October

In response to Covid-19 we implemented our new ‘Safe Systems of Work Plan’ and ‘Branch Operating Procedures’. This has been in place since we re-opened our branches to our customers. We do ask however that you show some patience and understanding in that we will not be able to provide the full access that we have always operated previously.

To enable maximum efficiency at all branches, we ask that you phone in advance, or use the website to place click and collect orders which will enable our yard and warehouse staff to pre-pick your order and have it ready in the designated area for collection.

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