What is sawn finished timber?


All of our timber is locally sourced from various locations,  therefore the quality and look tends to vary considerably. This is not saying we use poor quality timber, just the grain and knot variation is higher than European oak. The sawmill uses a combination of band saws and circular saws, so cuts across the grain and subtle curves through the grain are possible finishes. We always visually inspect our timber as part of the framing process, orientating accordingly for it’s role in the structure.


Standard, if not slightly rough, band sawn finish



Circular sawn finish (not common)



Very rough sawing from timber suppliers re-saw. This would be planed out or oriented to a non-visible face.


The variation in grain may mean small amounts of sapwood, or even lower bark layers are visible in the finished product. Frankly, we love this type of detail, after all it is wood! Even better, why not ask us to source some extra barky stuff so you can really get some character in your building! For the majority of cases we will try to blend in any small defects.


Waney edge and bark on seasoned oak (200mm x 250mm section)


Oak and Sweet Chestnut have high concentrations of tannic acid, which on contact with steel (i.e. fork lift tines) will react making a purple/brown hue into the surface of the timber. The effect is emphasised if the timber is wet. Any bad staining is orientated to hidden surfaces of the timber. This can be removed by blast or chemical cleaning. On occasion we get timber that has come from a domestic location which may have grown around a steel object (nail, fence, old plough etc!), the purple staining can be extreme, we will reject timber if this is the case.


Purple staining from a large iron nail enveloped within a branch (rejected)

Handling damage

Other possible minor surface damage include timber lorry grab dents, roller scuffs, stone dents. Some of which will be removed when chamfers are cut, but if you are not happy seeing these types of details in the finished product, then planing the timber is a serious consideration.


Fungal / Beetle attack

Sometimes the timber comes to us with evidence of either historic or current fungal and/or beetle attack. Our locally sourced timber is quite often the thinning  or clearing of dead or dying trees. The commonest evidence of fungal attack is that of Fistulina Hepatica, commonly know as ‘beef steak fungus‘.  The result is ‘Brown oak’ which is either streaked or solid brown/reddish colouring. This tends blend in time as the timber dries. Other fungal species may have temporarily colonised the surface if kept damp, but will soon disappear when in a dry environment.

Varying degrees of active woodworm may be present in timber when it comes to us, though as a rule we will reject any timbers that are highly active. Some historic evidence of woodworm may be present, particularly if the cambium or bark layers are visible. You may wish to locally treat the timber, though in time the timber will dry an become unattractive to worm attack.


 And from a more positive perspective..

Because our timber is pretty much randomly selected, sometimes there will be some beautiful patterning such as pippy or burr oak. You will rarely find this kind of detail from a main stream framing firm as generally their suppliers will keep this type of timber aside and have it dried for high quality joinery.


Pippy or Burr oak.

It is also worth noting that we always clean up our timbers before the frame is delivered. The finish is unified, to match the overall finish of the frame, whether sawn or planed.  Many other framing companies do not do this time consuming process!  If the raising process goes well and the wet weather kept at bay, your frame may not need cleaning when the job is complete.

Please look at the FAQ page for further details on finishes.