Research into hardwood timber supplies in UK construction

posted on November 9, 2015

Grown in BritainAs part of an Innovate UK-funded project, we are working with Grown in Britain, the Building Research Establishment (BRE), English Woodlands Timber and others in the timber supply chain on a project looking at hardwood timber supplies in UK construction.

Specifically we would like to gather information from processors, suppliers and customers, about what applications hardwood timber is specified for within the construction industry, and where known, what species are being specified/purchased. We would also like to know your thoughts generally on UK-grown hardwood.

The link below will take you to a very short survey that should take you no more than 5 minutes to complete:

If you know anyone else who would be able to answer these questions, please feel free to forward this to them.

Thank you in advance for your time; we appreciate your valuable input into this project.

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Innovative hardwood cladding for the Sylva Wood Centre (2)

posted on March 27, 2015

In our second feature on this story, Sylva’s CEO Gabriel Hemery talks to James Tyler of Tyler Hardwoods Ltd about an exicting new home-grown hardwood product to be installed at the Sylva Wood Centre.

Tyler Hardwoods

Tyler Hardwoods Ltd

The thermally-modified hardwood cladding will be used on the first building at the Sylva Wood Centre. The ash and sycamore cladding has been supplied by Tyler Hardwoods, sourced from woodlands in the south-west of Britain. The development of the product and its installation at the Sylva Wood Centre is supported by Grown in Britain.

Q. What are the technical aspects of the product you are suppling to the Sylva Wood Centre?

The timber supplied to the Sylva Foundation is thermally-modified English ash and sycamore, machined to a weather resistant horizontal T&G cladding board.

Q. How is wood thermally modified?

Thermally-modified timber is produced by heating timber to temperatures between 160 and 210°C in the absence of oxygen.

Thermal modification carbonizes free sugars making it less hospitable to organisms (such as wood-boring insects) that would break the timber down, which in turn makes the material more durable. The cabonizing process also thermally fixes the cell stucture making the timber less hydroscopic. This means that the structure is less likely to change shape as it takes on or looses water, therefore rendering the material more stable.

Q. What are the benefits of TM wood generally?

The technical improvements in the properties of the timber after thermal modification are significant, but there are also definite socio-economic and environmental benefits of the process for UK-grown timber, such as:
1.Providing a high value market for under-utilised hardwoods like beech, ash and sycamore.
2.Provides an economic incentive to woodland owners to bring their woodlands into management.
3.The market that the thermally modified product will create for round timber will in turn create associated jobs across the supply chain.
4.An alternative to less-sustainable tropical timbers.

Q. What is the source of the timber? Is it entirely home-grown and home-produced?

The timber for the cladding was sourced from the south-west and supplied by Tyler Hardwoods Ltd. It is either 100% FSC or FSC-controlled wood. Tyler Hardwoods have a Grown in Britain application approved and we are awaiting our audit by TRADA. The material supplied to the Sylva Wood Centre for the cladding is legally and sustainably sourced in the UK.

Currently the timber is modified in Europe as there is no thermal modification manufacturing plant in the UK. The transport to and from a plant in Europe adds significant cost, but it is important to do in order to adequately test the market, before a plant can be built in the UK.

Q. So there are plans to set up a UK thermal modification plant?

The development of the thermally-modified hardwood product is the result of a collaboration between Grown in Britain, Tyler Hardwoods Ltd, Vastern Timber and others including the BRE. We are currently conducting a feasibility study into the viability of a UK-based plant.

Q. Do you have any more of this material in stock?

Yes, we have just sent a second batch off to be treated. It includes beech and lime, as well as ash and sycamore.

Q. Tell me more about your business.

Tyler Hardwoods Ltd is a family-run business specialising in home-grown and imported hardwoods and specialist softwoods. Tyler Hardwoods also offers a specialist wood machining service including steam bending.

Tyler Hardwoods Ltd
Salisbury Road
Wilts SN8 3NE
Telephone: 01672 871300

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Grown in Britain

Grown In Britain






Sylva Wood Centre

Sylva Wood Centre

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Innovative hardwood cladding for the Sylva Wood Centre

posted on March 11, 2015

This week we took delivery of a brand new product sourced from British forests. The thermally-modified hardwood cladding will be used on the first building at the Sylva Wood Centre. The ash and sycamore cladding was supplied by Tyler Hardwoods, and its application supported by Grown in Britain. We will be following the story of its sourcing, manufacture and application over the next few weeks.

Meanwhile here is a sneak preview of the product. Those who know their timbers will be the first to point out that neither sycamore or ash are durable outdoors, and normally would be unsuitable for cladding. However, the thermal modification process renders their timber durable. This is exciting news for these two timbers especially. Sycamore is one of our fastest growing hardwoods but often goes to low value markets such as firewood. Ash can be high value but has niche markets yet supply is anticipated to increase when ash dieback disease has full impact in our woodlands.

Innovation in timber engineering is an important step towards realising a functional bioeconomy. Watch this space for further details and future updates.


thermally-modified GB hardwood timber cladding for the Sylva Wood Centre

Thermally-modified GB hardwood timber cladding for the Sylva Wood Centre. Left and top, sycamore. Right and bottom, ash.

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