Lumber Costs

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RGZoro

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Hello,

I just moved to the UK (Scotland) from the USA and was wondering if anyone here could tell me if I can expect lumber to be expensive over here. My friends stationed in Germany always complained about the prices there so I thought it may apply to here also. If so what kind of lumber is pretty common here? Such as when I was in California I had never really done anything with mesquite, but when I got to Texas it was really easy to get my hands on that particular type of wood.

I am new to this forum but would like to become regular and hopefully pick up some tools in the "For Sale" section if I can ever get PMs to work.

Thank you for any assistance.
 

RobinBHM

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Hi RGZoro

welcome to the forum :D

Sadly timber (lumber is an American term :lol: ) is quite expensive and range is limited.

Local timber merchants will only stock timber for construction, so you will only see softwood, whitewood for joists etc and some hardwood trims.

For hardwood like oak, cherry, mapke etc you need to go a specialist hardwood merchant. If you say what part of Scotland, Im sure some guys on here will suggest places to try.
 

custard

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Welcome!

A significant percentage of the hardwood boards you'll find in the average UK timber yard are actually from the US. American Cherry (£60), American Black Walnut (£80), American Ash (£50), American Oak (£50), and Tulipwood (£40). The prices in brackets are the average cost per cubic foot, however this is trending up as the pound is falling.

The sad fact is that UK timber production is pretty feeble, and we import the vast majority of what we use,

UK Timber.jpg


Having said that, there are a couple of local gems that you should look out for. Scotland is one of the last hold outs for European Elm, and if you hunt around you'll find some astonishing boards,

This is from an Elm that was felled in the grounds of Hollyrood Palace in Edinburgh,

Elm-1.jpg


Elm-2.jpg


Elm-3.jpg


There are still boards from this particular source out in the market (the palace felled a lot of Elms!), and it's great to make furniture from wood with such a back story. Actually, just to the left of the Elm board is a board of Yew, that would be another good timber to find and use in the UK, it's another local speciality!

Another timber to look out for is Beech. It's plentiful in my area, and pretty cheap. Okay, personally I think it's as dull as ditchwater, but maybe that's because we're drowning in it.

Finally, there's a very special timber called Tiger Oak or Brown Oak. It's when an Oak gets attacked by a particular fungi and it's almost unique to the UK. I use it a lot, it may not look like much when you see the sawn boards,

Tiger-Oak.jpg


But made into furniture and properly finished it really is a very special timber,

Tiger-Oak-Table-1.jpg


Tiger-Oak-Side-Table.jpg


Good luck!
 

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custard

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I've thought of a couple of others that you may want to look out for.

Douglas Fir is becoming an extremely fashionable furniture wood, and if you're living in Scotland what better than to source some local timber for a project. The stuff you'll need though is not the Douglas Fir you'll find in most softwood timber yards, you need perfectly clear, quarter sawn boards to get that distinctive striped grain. Maybe try one of the specialist smaller yards around Dunkeld?

English Walnut is an enchanting timber to work with, it fades and ages beautifully. The only American Walnut that can possibly compare is Claro. The problem is English Walnut isn't grown commercially, so it's only a few specialised yards that handle it. Even then most boards are sappy and split, so you'd have to select by hand to find the good stuff.

Eng-Walnut-Rippled.jpg


English-Walnut-Rippled.jpg


English (or Welsh or Scots or Irish) Cherry is worth looking out for. Again it's not a commercial timber so you can't order it up whenever you want. Freshly sawn it looks very dull compared to American Cherry, but let it age in finished furniture for a few years and you'll find there's much more variation in grain colour, it's shot through with slightly yellow and green tinges which makes it increasingly appealing as time goes by.

Douglas Fir, £30-£40 a cubic foot, furniture grade
English Cherry, £40-50 a cubic foot
English Walnut, £80-120 a cubic foot
Brown Oak, £50-80 a cubic foot
Yew, £50-80 a cubic foot
 

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RGZoro

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RobinBHM":26hlldi1 said:
Hi RGZoro

welcome to the forum :D

Sadly timber (lumber is an American term :lol: ) is quite expensive and range is limited.

Local timber merchants will only stock timber for construction, so you will only see softwood, whitewood for joists etc and some hardwood trims.

For hardwood like oak, cherry, mapke etc you need to go a specialist hardwood merchant. If you say what part of Scotland, Im sure some guys on here will suggest places to try.

Apologies, I thought I had mentioned what part of Scotland I was in. I am currently in Edinburgh but will most likely be settling down in Glasgow in the near future. I am always a fan of supporting local business so I will be sure to write down any that people mention.

My daily life these days consists of me learning just how many words I use are an "American term." I still forget and call trousers "pants" on occasion. Appreciate the heads up.
 

RGZoro

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custard":1ogupkhe said:
I've thought of a couple of others that you may want to look out for.

Scots Pine is becoming an extremely fashionable furniture wood, and if you're living in Scotland what better than to source some local timber for a project. The stuff you'll need though is not the Scots Pine you'll find in most softwood timber yards, you need perfectly clear, quarter sawn boards to get that distinctive striped grain. Maybe try one of the specialist smaller yards around Dunkeld?

English Walnut is an enchanting timber to work with, it fades and ages beautifully. The only American Walnut that can possibly compare is Claro. The problem is English Walnut isn't grown commercially, so it's only a few specialised yards that handle it. Even then most boards are sappy and split, so you'd have to select by hand to find the good stuff.

English (or Welsh or Scots or Irish) Cherry is worth looking out for. Again it's not a commercial timber so you can't order it up whenever you want. Freshly sawn it looks very dull compared to American Cherry, but let it age in finished furniture for a few years and you'll find there's much more variation in grain colour, it's shot through with slightly yellow and green tinges which makes it increasingly appealing as time goes by.

Scots Pine, £30-£40 a cubic foot, furniture grade
English Cherry, £40-50 a cubic foot
English Walnut, £80-120 a cubic foot
Brown Oak, £50-80 a cubic foot
Yew, £50-80 a cubic foot

Thank you Custard! I really appreciate the wealth of information you have just provided. Names like "Scots Pine" are exactly what I was hoping to find. I do love it when the timber I am working with has a cool history and I run Arthur's Seat once a week so it would be great to get some that was a part of Holyrood Park.

It looks like timber is a bit costly over here so maybe I will have to try and get my hands on scraps or break down pallets (is that an accepted practice over here?) when I first get settled in again.
 

Droogs

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Friedrich

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I have been in UK only few times and the timber has been really really expensive there and mostly very bad quality, for good quality timber expect to pay A LOT and expect to drive around A LOT to find the quality at the price needed.
German timber is very cheap compared to timber in UK :)
However I have heard from friends that there are some companies in UK which deliver to your door (nationwide) and for no extra charge and their prices are very good but you have to order at least 500gbp worth of timber at once, I don't remember the names but I'm sure someone can list them here. Fairly sure that was the only way to get a decent quality timber at a reasonable price in UK, that is if you have somewhere to store that much timber at once.
 

Droogs

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