The way in which timber is manufactured has a huge impact on the style and outcome of timber products. Generally speaking, timber is constructed from two different types of woods: softwoods, such as European Redwood, or hardwoods like Oak. Each type offers its own advantages and disadvantages, which impacts its performance and durability. Furthermore, the method of construction and the technologies utilized similarly impact the construction of timber products.
In the past, window frames and timber products were essentially only made with softwoods, such as European Redwood or Western Red Cedar. Whilst these windows were often very attractive, they were less durable and would decay and warp over time under adverse conditions, such as rain and frost. This would ultimately lead to increased adoption of plastic-based products, made from materials such as uPvc, which come from unsustainable sources, as well as metals like steel for windows and doors. Many consumers would, however, still desire the beauty of natural, sustainable wooden products. It is for this reason that many firms like us now use hardwoods, such as Oak, which are extremely durable and reliable, as well as engineered softwoods, which remove all the disadvantages of former softwood constructions.
There are typically two reasons for which timber is produced: construction timber, for the use in beams for building construction, and for joinery or furniture. In the UK, these two sources account for the vast majority of timber consumption. In fact, according to data from the UK government, around 80% of UK timber companies employ only around 25 employees, with companies with over 500 employees making up less than 1% of the timber industry. With the small scale of most of the UK timber industry, it becomes very important for woodworkers to have access to the latest, reliable technologies.
Solid timber products begin life in timber plank form, which is often treated with a wood preservative to prevent any risk of fungal decay. Machined components will often be treated and dried in a kiln to an appropriate moisture level depending on the intended use of the product before surface coatings, such as varnish and paint, are applied to finish the components and ensure the finished product looks beautiful. Many woodshops laminate the wood by building cross sections out of timber sheets to prevent warping and strengthen the wood. The wood is often pieced together using a process known as finger jointing, which ensures a high level of strength so that the timber product will last even under the adverse conditions that formerly affected untreated softwoods.
Timber products have been in use as long as people have been constructing buildings. Nowadays, we know exactly what is necessary to produce and build timber frames and doors and other joinery components that will last as long as they are needed. Whilst construction timber has remained much the same, advances in the treatment of timber used for joinery purposes have reinvigorated the timber industry and changed the ways in which small woodshops across the UK build and maintain timber products to a high and ever-increasing standard.