As experienced joiners, the team at K&L Joinery Ltd. is skilled and trained in making bespoke “finished” and “permanent” woodwork for a variety of purposes.
So what about the actual timber that we use in our work? There are many different types that can be used in joinery, coming from a variety of different trees all across the world; each with its own distinctive features and characteristics, colour, durability etc.
It’s our job to choose the right timber for each custom-made order, always taking our clients preferences into account.
Here are the main timbers used in our bench joinery workshop:
European Redwood (Softwood)
In the UK, “European redwood” is a trade name for Pinus sylvestris imported from EU countries such as France and Spain – as well as Russia. It is also native to Scotland and referred to “Scots Pine” to distinguish it from its European counterpart. Whilst initially reddish in colour when first cut, with age it settles to a white, cream or silvery shade.
Generally, European Redwood is used is used for internal joinery, such as staircases.
There are various different species of Mahogany, which are tropical hardwoods found in South America, Central America and Africa. Their reddish brown colour darkens with age.
In general, Mahogany is strong, versatile and an excellent timber for carpentry which finishes well and can be polished to a high quality sheen.
As well as being used for the exterior of boats and yachts, musical instruments, furniture and floors, Mahogany makes excellent, durable interior and exterior doors.
Oak (Quercus Robur) is the most widely used hardwood.
European Oak is can be light or dark tan or biscuit colour. It is durable, popular and finishes well – and can be found in stately homes, churches and even the House of Commons.
These days oak wood is commonly used for furniture and flooring, timber frame buildings and for high class internal joinery, skirting & architraves, stairs, conservatory windows and doors.
American White Oak (Quercus alba) is actually usually light grey in colour. It is versatile and – since it is water and rot resistant – is used for barrels of whisky and wine. It’s heavily used for internal joinery and interior finishing of houses but can be used externally e.g. for window frames and for structural use.
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) is a white to light brown colour. It has both strength and flexibility and has been popular since Roman and Greek times, when the timber was used for agricultural tools. It’s the 3rd most common tree species in Great Britain and can be found across Europe, North America and parts of Asia and Africa. Ash is good general purpose joinery timber with various uses such as furniture, sports equipment, and gates.
There are various different types of cedar tree growing in different parts of the world, and with various different uses. Reddish-brown in colour, the cedar tree produces scented wood due to the natural oils in the wood – and these are toxic to insects and fungus. It is lightweight, easy to work with and useful for anything that needs resistance to insects or decay. It is ideal building construction material, suitable for internal joinery and good for beams, windows and doors.
Idigbo is from West Africa and – due to its strength and hardness – can be used as an alternative to Oak; it is cheaper yet similar looking when stained the same colour. It is pale yellow-brown in colour and used in furniture and both internal and external high-class joinery, windows and door frames.
Pine trees grow in most parts of the Northern Hemisphere and there are between 105 and 125 species worldwide. Pine is a versatile timber, soft, white or pale yellow. It is a preferred material for joinery and used in high-value carpentry items such as furniture, window frames, panelling, floors and roofing.
Iroko (Chlorophora excelsa) comes from the west coast of Africa. The wood colour varies from light yellow to golden brown but darkens to a richer brown over time. It is resistant to fungi and is a very durable timber. As well as being used for general interior joinery, it’s natural oils make this a good choice for exterior joinery, outer doors and garden furniture too.