Bringing the natural beauty of wood into your everyday life

West Oak Joinery's selection of wood

Selection of woods

Wood types grouped in Native English, European and North American species:

Native English:

Ash - Beech - Brown Oak - Cedar - Cherry - Elm - Hornbeam - Larch - Lime - Oak - Pear - Sweet Chestnut - Sycamore - Walnut - Yew

Species

Description

Uses

ASH
Fraxinus excelsior
Noted for toughness and elasticity. Young straight grained trees were traditionally used for sports goods, where white colour was also important. Older trees tend to have dark hearts. Joinery, furniture, flooring, coach building and tool handles.
BEECH
Fagus sylvatica
A hard wood with fine and even texture. Beech machines and turns well. Colour varies from white on the outside to brown at the heart. Furniture, internal joinery and flooring.
BROWN OAK
Quercus spp
For beauty there are few woods which will compare with the variety known as “English Brown Oak”. It’s knotty, gnarled grain brings out the best variety of shade and colour which may vary from an even mid-brown to a stripey “tigerish” figure. It is comparatively rare.  
CEDAR OF LEBANON
(a softwood)
Cedrus libani
This species is soft and easy to work but brittle and is light to reddish in colour with creamy coloured sapwood. Obtainable in large sizes up to 36” wide but normally very knotty. These can be small black knots or large firm knots which vary from the size of a coin to a cricket ball. Can be a very decorative wood, sweet smelling, with its variety of grain and knots. Garden furniture, paneling and organ building, but supplies are limited.
CHERRY
Prunus avium
Pale, pinkish brown wood which darkens on exposure to light occasionally with green streakings; worked, it gives a smooth rich finish. Not obtainable in large sizes. Brush backs and traditional use for furniture. It is suitable for joinery and paneling providing the design allows narrow widths. It is a fine decorative wood for paneling.
ELM
Ulmus spp
Tough, coarse textured with a tendency to be twisted in the grain conferring resistance to splitting. Heartwood, reddish brown in colour; sapwood can be distinct, but not considered a defect. Wych Elm may exhibit green streaks in the grain. Cabinet and joinery work, flooring
HORNBEAM
carpinus spp

Hard, finely textured and white in colour with little apparent sapwood. Availability is very limited and cutting sizes are usually small.

Pianos, or turnery and butchers’ blocks.
LARCH
(a softwood)
Larix deciduas
This timber has a reddish brown heartwood which is classed as durable. Clean logs free of knots may be used for boat building. Constructional and fencing application
LIME
Tilia vulgaris
Yellowish white incolour, with a fine, firm and close texture. Very easily worked wood which resists splitting. The ideal wood for carvers and modelmakers.  
OAK
Quercus spp
Wood of great strength and durability, much prized for its beautiful appearance. It is the timber of our churches, inns and country houses where Oak beams up to 50ft long may be found. Furniture, joinery, fencing, flooring and applications where its durability is of great advantage, such as cladding and decking.
PEAR
Pyrus communis
Pear is hard, tough and fine grained, and has a tendency to warp in seasoning. Cuts well in all directions of the grain, hence used for carving. Pinkish or yellowish brown in colour. Stocks are not generally available.  
SWEET CHESTNUT
Castanea sativa
It is easy to work; has practically no sapwood: and is a very stable wood with a light honey colour. It should be pre-drilled before screwing or nailing. Chestnut was formerly used in England for large beams. It is often found included in original ‘Oak’ paneling beams in historic buildings. It is wood with a character of it’s own, warmer in colour than White Ash and without the strong figure or medullary rays of Oak. coffin boards, good class furniture, decorative ceilings and paneling.
SYCAMORE
Acer pseudoplatanus
Selected trees are bright white in colour, firm in texture, easy to machine and cut. Sycamore tends to have a dark heart in older trees. Figured logs are in great demand for veneers. It has to be brushed and end racked immediately after cutting to surface dry before sticking. Boards laid together overnight will turn pink. Both Sycamore and Ash are in great demand where a light coloured wood is required. Smaller, younger trees tend to be whiter than larger butts. Sycamore can be cut and vacuum kilned from fresh with good colour retention. Panelling, furniture, joinery, draining boards, turning, especially bobbins and rollers for the cotton trade.
WALNUT
Juglans regia
Pink to purplish brown in colour, often with black veined lines. The sapwood is white. Trees are often of irregular shapes and difficult to obtain in long lengths. Good trees are becoming very scarce owing to the demand from the veneer trade. Heavy, fine grained wood, it is very resitant to splitting. Can be very faulty in the heart. Joinery, furniture, turnery, rifle butts
YEW
(a softwood)
Taxus baccata
A tree that attains a great age but seldom a great height. The butt is often very fluted, colour varies from pale yellow to dark red or purple. Fine close grain, tough and hard, often with small clusters of pips. Very faulty and only yields small cutting sizes. Can show great character if natural faults are included. Small articles of furniture, chair making, and turnery

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European:

Alder - Ash - Beech (unsteamed & steamed) - European Walnut (steamed) - Larch - Oak - Sycamore - Swiss pear (steamed)

Species

Description

Uses

ALDER
Alnus glutinosa/incana
European Alder is lighter and more varied in colour than American Red Alder but generally available in smaller sizes. Furniture and joinery
ASH
Fraxinus excelsior
Similar to Native Ash, it is noted for toughness and elasticity. Young straight grained trees were traditionally used for sports goods, where white colour was also important. Older trees tend to have dark hearts. Joinery, furniture, flooring, coach building and tool handles
BEECH, UNSTEAMED
Fagus sylvatica
Selected prime, white one face and better. Tends to be cleaner, whiter and milder than English. Joinery, furniture and woodware
BEECH, STEAMED Fagus sylvatica Beech is steamed for 48 hours or longer prior to kilning to produce an even mid-pink colour. Steaming also tends to reduce splitting in the boards. Joinery and furniture
EUROPEAN WALNUT, STEAMED
Juglans regia
The steaming process evens the colour between the heart and sapwood. More readily available than English Walnut. Joinery, furniture, turnery, rifle butts
LARCH (as softwood) Larix decidua This timber has a reddish brown heartwood which is classed as durable. Clean logs free of knots may be used for boat building and joinery. Constructional and fencing application, joinery and cladding
OAK Quercus spp Due to the European intensive forest cultivation, European Oak tends to produce longer, cleaner and straighter grained material than English Oak. Furniture, joinery, flooring, cladding, decking and barrel staves
SYCAMORE
Acer pseudoplatanus
This is a non durable timber and is the whitest European timber, needs care in seasoning to retain the white colour. Seasonal log supply (October to April) and limited lengths restricts use. Internal joinery, furniture and woodwork
SWISS PEAR, STEAMED
Pyrus communis
An even pink colour, often with ripple figure. Cutting sizes are small due to frequent defects. Furniture and cabinet making

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North American

Ash - Beech, Canadian - Black Cherry - Black Walnut - Maple, Hard or Rock - Red Elm - Tulipwood - Western Red Alder - White Oak

Species

Description

Uses

ASH
Fraxinus americana
Similar to English Ash in colour and texture but more even appearance as all boards are plain sawn. Furniture, joinery and flooring
BEECH, CANADIAN Fagus grandifolia Similar to European Beech but a little harder and with more light brown heart colour. Available as square-edged boards. Flooring, joinery and furniture
BLACK CHERRY Prunus serotina Warm pink heartwood with a distinct yellow sapwood. Cherry is a fine textured decorative wood which takes a superb finish. It is available wider and longer than Native Cherry. Furniture, joinery and shop-fitting
BLACK WALNUT Juglans nigra The purple brown colour is darker than European Walnut and usually available in longer lengths and wider board than Native or European Walnut. Flooring, furniture, joinery and gun stocks.
MAPLE, HARD OR ROCK
Acer saccharum
Pale cream to white in colour with occasional darker streaks. Dense and wear reisstant, machines well. Worktops, chopping boards, flooring, joinery, furniture, butchers’ blocks and turnery.
RED ELM
Ulmus rubra
Heavily grained, coarse texture with strong red to pinkish brown colour, this is the only Elm available in clear grade. Flooring joinery and furniture
TULIPWOOD Liriodendron tulipifera This is the largest growing hardwood species in North America producing long boards and wide lengths of relatively clear lumber. The sap and heartwood are well differentiated. Joinery. Furniture and carcassing
WESTERN RED ALDER
Alnus rubra
Darker in colour than European Alder and available in slightly wider boards. Often used as a substitute for Black Cherry. Furniture and joinery
WHITE OAK Quercus spp A durable Oak somewhat denser than English. The wood has less character than English Oak largely due to the method of sawing. Furniture, joinery, flooring and barrel staves.

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