Unique properties

Each species of timber has it's own unique character and properties from being clean and non-tainting (an ideal surface for food preparation) to being naturally durable without the need for environmentally damaging chemical treatments. All timbers available from our Sawmill, Timber-shop and online store and can be used to make furniture, crafts or used as building materials plus more. If you would like to discuss your particular requirements further then contact us and we will be happy to help.

Keep reading to find out more about timber properties or click below to choose your preferred species.

Scottish Oak   Elm   Beech   Yew   Sycamore   Lime   Ash   Larch

Scottish Oak

Oak is a hard and decorative wood with a particularly attractive figure in quarter-sawn. It is a remarkable material; strong, extremely durable, heavy and attractive which makes it the ideal wood to use in construction both indoors and outdoors. Scottish Wood has sold Oak for a multiple of purposes, including boat building, construction beams, restoration work, post and rail fencing, bridge-building, signs, waymarkers, mantles, lintels, board-walks, flooring, outdoor and indoor furniture, crafts etc.

Durability - Oak is extremely durable outdoors and does not need any preservative treatment. It is popular for outdoor fencing, gates, furniture and features especially in urban areas - both because there is no painting or maintenance requirements and also because of its high resistance to vandalism (cutting, sawing and burning).

Building material - Traditionally Oak was the main building timber in Europe including posts or beams, boards or roof shingles. It was also the main shipbuilding timber. Oak structures can and do last for centuries and there are churches in Scandinavia whose original Oak timbers are over 1000 years old.

Tannic Acid - Most parts of an Oak tree are full of tannins or tannic acids, Powerful chemicals that have the remarkable property of making skins and hides resistant to decay. Tannins in the wood make the heartwood exceptionally durable out of doors and without treatment. But they react to iron causing "inkstains" Can be ignored in rough outdoor work, but for indoor work Oak should always be secured with wooden pegs, brass screws or other metals containing no iron.

Live edge Burr Scottish Oak


A beautiful warm brown coloured wood, highly grained and with a distinctive “partridge-breast” figure. Today it is most frequently used for furniture and is especially popular for it’s attractive and pleasing natural or waney edge. Elm also has some unique qualities that make it ideally suited for use in variety of specialist circumstances.

 Durable under water – Elm will last almost indefinitely when placed in water or below ground level (although it is not durable at ground level). This makes it ideal for the construction of fish ladders, and sluice gates and other submerged structures. Traditionally this led to Elm being used for coffins. Underground pipes were also constructed beneath large cities by hollowing out large Elm trunks and driving them beneath large trunks and driving them together. Some of these are still dug up today after 250 years below ground.

 Unsplitable – Another unusual quality of Elm is it’s “unsplitability” caused by a stepped pattern of its wood fibres. This makes it ideal for chair seats (when the legs are driven in most other woods would split) and projects that require end-grain nail holding capacity such as the transoms for clinker-built boats. This useful property led to the traditional use of Elm in wheel hubs and sledgehammers.

 We currently have a fair bit of Elm in stock, however supplies of this beautiful wood are dwindling due to the effects of Dutch Elm disease. A lot of our wood came from Trees that have been killed by this disease.

Beautiful Burry Elm board


Beech is a clean, odourless, hard wearing and easily worked timber with a bright clean appearance making it one of the most popular home grown timbers available. It is heavy and strong with a pale pinkish brown colour with numerous small radial flecks (medullar rays) of warm brown. Older trees have lovely colour variations across their wide boards and, if set aside while still in log form, Beech can become “Flamed” and eventually “Spalted”. Flamed Beech has a stronger colour and is especially popular for fine furniture, kitchen cabinets and worktops. Spalted Beech has a spectacular pattern of black lines and is particularly sought after for turnery.

Clean, odourless and non tainting- Beech timber is clean and odourless making it ideally suited for use in areas of food preparation and children’s toys. Traditionally it has been used to make tableware, plates and bowls and is currently popular for worktops.

Hardwearing flooring - Beech is very hardwearing making it ideal for flooring. It meets the British Standards for home grown hardwearing floors (i.e. floors coping with high levels of traffic such as in public buildings) along with Oak and Hornbeam. It is also the traditional wood for the construction of workbenches.

Easily worked Beech is easily worked in any direction, even across or at any angle to the grain. This is due to its even growth and lack of large pores or rays. It is also very stable once seasoned, ideal for steam bending and takes a stain well. This makes beech one of the most favoured woods for furniture.



Yew produces a spectacular chestnut brown timber with streaks of orange and even purple, contrasting richly with the pale cream sapwood. Clusters of tiny very decorative pin knots further enhance this fine textured, smooth and lustrous wood making this a very sought after and prized timber.

Ornamental - The spectacular colouring of Yew makes it popular for all kinds of ornamental turnery or furniture construction.

Oldest trees - Yews are the oldest intact trees in Britain and are very slow growing (the oldest living tree is in Perthshire and is estimated to be over 5000 years old). Often found in Churchyards some predate the churches and probably have ancient religious significance. In Celtic culture Yew came to symbolise death and resurrection, no doubt due to the trees qualities of longevity and regeneration (drooping branches of old Yew trees can root and form new trunks where they touch the ground).

Stunning natural edge Yew board


Sycamore is the largest of the European maples and was introduced into Britain in the Middle Ages. It is a plain but attractive timber with a white to cream colour, which darkens to a gold colour over time.

Excellent working properties - Sycamore is easily worked, can be cut in any direction and produces an excellent finish. It also has excellent bending properties and can be easily stained which makes Sycamore an excellent choice for furniture and internal joinery. Traditionally in Scotland, fine boxes for trinkets and snuff were made from Sycamore wood, sometimes in conjunction with dark laburnum. The spectacular wavy grained or "rippled" Sycamore is generally used for making musical instruments and very fine furniture.

Clean, non-tainting properties – It’s clean white appearance and smooth finish means that Sycamore is ideal for use in food preparation areas like kitchen table tops, work tops and butchers blocks, rolling pins and bread boards (traditionally it was used for turned bowls, platters and tableware). It is also used to make rollers for textile machinery because it is both hardwearing and never stains the cloth

Scottish Sycamore in a variety of dimensions


Lime wood is an even pale yellow colour, which gradually darkens over time. It also has a beautiful natural lustre and is soft and light in weight. Most lime wood sold by Scottish Wood goes for furniture production and carving.

"Tree with a thousand uses" - Lime is native to Britain, and in Roman times was know as the "tree with a thousand uses" from household and agricultural implements to shields. Traditionally the underbark or bast was soaked in water and beaten to produce a coarse fibre to make strong rope, fish nets and rough clothing. It also makes good quality charcoal and is said to be excellent for gunpowder. 

Excellent carving properties- Lime has several properties that make it ideal for shallow chip carving and it was especially favoured for delicate work by master woodcarvers like Grinling Gibbons. Seasoned lime is very stable and is soft enough to be carved and yet firm enough to hold a precisely cut surface well. Its stable properties have also made it the favourite wood for the construction of piano boards and keys and other parts of musical instruments.

Furniture - Lime stains well, has good bending properties and is often used for making indoor furniture

Lime boards and offcuts


Ash is a highly grained pale creamy wood. There is usually no distinction between the sapwood and heartwood except in the prized ‘Black-heart’ or ‘Olive Ash’, where the heartwood takes on a darker or even black appearance. Ash is popular not only for its looks, but also for its ease of working and incredible strength. It is an ideal wood for making furniture.

Tough and flexible - Ash is one of our toughest native timbers and because of its flexibility it can withstand pressure, shock and splintering. Traditionally ash was used for weapons and the word ash comes from the Anglo Saxon word for spear 'Aesc'. In modern times it is used wherever toughness is important as in sports equipment, tool handles, boat fittings, chair making, cabinet making and turnery.

Bending Ash can be readily steam bent into curved outlines without breaking or loosing strength.

King of Trees;­ A tall deep-rooted tree, the Vikings considered Ash the king of trees with "its roots in hell and its branches reaching the heavens"

Ash boards and offcuts


European Larch is a hard strong timber with an attractive warm reddish brown or terracotta colour with gold streaks, which fades to silver after prolonged exposure to sunlight.

Natural strength and durability; Larch heartwood is strong and is durable outside without the use of preservatives. These properties make it an ideal wood for outdoor use such as garden furniture, decking, cladding and fencing. Traditionally boats were planked with European Larch and some timber still finds its way into quality boat building today.

Overlooked beauty; Traditionally valued for its strength and durability the beauty of this wood has often been overlooked. Larch works and finishes well however some care is required to accommodate the frequently changing grain and resin pockets. Once varnished or oiled the finished effect is well worth the effort.

Naturally durable Scottish Larch

To see what's available in these species view in our Shop or Contact us for more information.