Timber Species

Below is a list of some of the timbers that I use for turning.

I usually the burr of these timbers for special items.

Ash: Fraxinus excelsior. (Hardwood)
One of our native species. A very tough and elastic timber used in the past for wheels. Used today for tool handles and chairs, can be bent easily with the use of steam.
Beech: Fagus sylvatica. (Hardwood)
A hard strong wood but lacks the resilience of Ash. It has an even texture. Very suitable for making chairs. The colour is a pinkish/buff.
This example is of spalted beech which can vary in colour from white through to chocolate brown.
Oak: Quercus robur. (Hardwood)
One of our native species. A very heavy and hard timber. It has been used through the centuries for roof supports, buildings, ships and church furniture.
Elm: Ulmus procera. (Hardwood)
A very durable timber used for chair seats because of it's resistance to splitting. Also used in burr form for high quality turned items.
Sycamore: Acer pseudoplatanus. (Hardwood)
A pale timber usually quite plain but sometimes with wonderful rippled markings across the grain (fiddle-back sycamore).
Walnut: Juglans regia. (Hardwood)
Used for fine cabinet making, varies in colour from pale buff to dark brown. Takes a really good finnish.

Acacia: Robinia pseudoacacia (Hardwood)

Known as false acacia in UK and Black locust in USA

Holly: Aquifolia. (Hardwood)
A plain timber with a cream-white colour. Available in small sizes, Good for boxes and goblets.

Apple: (Hardwood)
A pinkish-buff colour with a very fine texture.

Cherry: Prunus. (Hardwood)
Pale pinkish-brown with a fine even texture. Wild cherry is slightly scented.

Laburnum: (Hardwood)
A very beautiful timber with a rich brown color and pale yellow sapwood.

Yew: Taxus Baccata. (Hardwood)
This is botanically a softwood but with characteristics that are superior to a lot of hardwoods.
Golden orange-brown with purple streaks and a creamy-white sapwood.

Pear: (Hardwood)
A pinkish pale colour with a hard even grain.
Chestnut: (Hardwood)
Very similar to oak but without the silver rays.

Plane tree: Lacewood (Hardwood)
A pinkish pale to reddish colour. It has a fantastic ray figure on the quarter sawn.



Burrs can occur on most trees species, when they are cut into they usually produces spectacular pieces of timber. Some will have an open knotty appearance, others will have a much finer appearance; like mushy peas. Whatever their appearance, they almost always produce wonderful timber and are greatly prized by the Woodturner and customer.

What is a Burr ?

If you are strolling through a wood one-day and happen to come across a tree with what looks like a great big wart growing on the trunk, the chances are that this is a burr.
What causes a burr is not really fully understood. Some think that it is caused by damage to the tree by deer, fencing etc. while others think that they can be caused by parasites attacking the tree.
Whatever the cause, its result is that the tree sprouts a multitude of knots in a small concentrated area, resulting in a remarkably striking natural material.



Contact DT Woodturning Contact