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Connecting wood products  to procurement: case studies from The Timber Trade Federation

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Featured on television’s ‘Grand Designs’ Channel 4 programme in 2017, The Tree House in Dursley, rural Gloucestershire

The owner wished to have Britishgrown wood featuring in the building.  Nicks Timber advised on and sourced relatively local British-grown Larch, and used their knowledge and experience to keep a careful eye on timber quality.

Timber sourcing
Nicks Timber has over 160 years’ experience as a timber merchant and processor in Gloucestershire. From engineered wood products to bespoke materials for projects and joinery, Nicks Timber sources and processes legally-harvested and sustainably-grown timbers under the Timber Trade Federation’s Responsible Purchacing Policy due diligence system. From British Larch to African Sapele, staff advising specificers at Nicks Timber collectively have over 200 years’ expertise to offer, proving that knowledge underpins the supply of Timber You Can Trust.


was designed by Millar Howard Workshop and owner Jon Martin to  merge discretely with
its landscape and cause no damage to surrounding protected trees or their root systems, and enable projected natural growth by the trees to continue unhindered.

For the full story please click here

UK home-grown timber prices on the up and up!

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Timber prices in the UK have soared by almost 30% in a year, according to newly-released figures. This report from TTJ online via the TTF newsletter.

Forestry Commission statistics showed a surge in the price of standing timber (trees not yet harvested) – up by 28.2% from March 2017 to March 2018.

The price of softwood saw-logs went up by 20.8% in the six months to March 2018. Confor, which represents 1,500 forestry and wood-using businesses, said the price spikes reflected a booming wood processing industry and highlighted the need to increase tree planting significantly – to deliver more timber into markets and avoid reliance on imports.

It also said there were real opportunities for farmers to diversify and plant a portion of their land with trees to create a more sustainable business model after Brexit.

“We are already the world’s second largest net importer of timber after China but the UK Government is still missing its modest tree planting targets,” said Andrew Heald, Confor’s technical director.

“Confor is working with members and with governments across the UK to identify ways to bring more timber to market. It is vital that the major growers, including the Forestry Commission and Natural Resources Wales, maximise all opportunities to do this.”

Mr Heald said prices were even higher in some regional hotspots, including Wales and Dumfries & Galloway in southern Scotland – and called for a long-term approach to forestry to secure future supply.

He says,”This is a complex issue for the industry. While high timber prices are good news for the UK’s forest owners, these are tough times for saw-millers who are also having to compete with cheap imports of sawn timber.

A steady supply of round timber is essential for saw-millers and processors to plan their operations and to have the confidence to continue to invest in their mills and factories.”

What’s the Difference? MDF vs. Plywood!

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As you know, whatever your timber needs, here at Nicks we can always deliver! That’s not all, we also always pride ourselves on giving our customers all the useful advice and guidance they may need for every kind of successful DIY project however challenging. 

So, a little bit of ‘intel’ here from the team here at Nicks, via an expert we are aware of  online – So please read on …… we hope you find the information useful in some small way for any up and coming DIY project you may be planning right now.

Though they may be side-by-side in the same aisle at most home improvement stores, MDF and Plywood aren’t interchangeable. Determine which works better in your project by weighing up these key differences perhaps .

While it’s hard to match the natural beauty of solid wood, it’s an undeniably pricey option.

Fortunately, for many projects, the two main substitutes—medium-density fibreboard (MDF)and plywood—are less expensive, yet perform just as well or better than solid wood for a wide range of projects, including furniture, cabinets, shelves, and decorative accents such as wainscoting.

Still, choosing the right material—MDF vs. plywood—for your project can be a puzzle.

On the surface, both MDF and plywood contain real wood but are highly engineered into their finished forms. MDF starts off with hardwood and softwood fibres, which are glued together with various resins, and then subjected to high heat and pressure to form panels.

Plywood undergoes a similar process, but instead of wood fibres, starts off with very thin layers of wood from peeler logs. At a big-box home improvement store, you’ll find both in sheet forms of different thicknesses and grades—the higher the grade, the higher the price.

While they may appear similar, these two popular wood composites are not interchangeable. Both have their strengths and weaknesses based on their construction. To help you decide between them, we’ve addressed their primary differences in the categories that matter most to the average DIY-er

In general, MDF is cheaper than plywood.

While the price depends on the thickness and grade of the material, in general, MDF costs less than plywood. If there are zero other factors pushing you to one material over another, and you’re watching the bottom line, MDF wins the price wars.

Plywood looks more like real wood.

Since plywood is made with wood strips, its surfaces take on the solid-wood appearance better than MDF. Higher grades of plywood are smooth and quite attractive, with plenty of grain, yet none of the knotholes that can mar solid wood. MDF, in contrast, has no grain, isn’t as smooth as plywood, and looks like what it is: pressed wood fibres.

MDF weighs more than plywood.

As it’s quite a bit denser than plywood, MDF weighs considerably more. This can be a major issue if you’ll need to lift, hold, or clamp panels in place or construct something that requires an overhead reach, such as elevated shelves.

When it comes to strength, plywood is the winner.

MDF is a softer material than plywood and tends to sag or split under pressure. That’s why it’s important to reinforce it if you’re going to using it to build shelves or other weight-bearing furniture. Plywood also has more flex than MDF, so you can gently bend it to create curves; plus, plywood won’t expand, contract, or warp, even under temperature extremes.

MDF creates more dust when cut.

Due to its construction, MDF creates far more sawdust when cut than plywood does, so you’ll need to be extra cautious about working in a well-ventilated area and wearing a respirator or other protective mask and goggles.

MDF is easy to cut, even along the edges.

Planning to make a piece of furniture, frame, or cabinet door with elaborately scrolled trim?

Then you’ll be happiest with MDF. Because of its lack of grain and its softness, MDF is easy to cut and won’t splinter or crack along the edges, even if you carve in curves, sharp angles, or ridges.

By contrast, due to its stacked construction, the edges of plywood are rough and not well-suited to fancy curves or cuts. Even straight cuts can turn out ragged edges, but our tips for cutting plywood can spare you those imperfections.

You’ll need to finish the edges of plywood.

Look at the edge of a piece of plywood, and you’ll see the thin layers used to create it. That means you’ll need to finish any exposed edges of your project if it’s made with plywood, usually either with edge banding or moulding. This isn’t an issue with MDF, which doesn’t show layers at the edges.

MDF takes well to paint, while plywood is great for stains.

This is one of the primary questions when weighing MDF vs. plywood: Do you plan on painting the finished project or staining it? MDF, with its smooth surface and lack of grain,takes paint like a champ—although for the best finish, start with a coat of oil-based primer. While you can paint plywood, higher-grade plywood looks great with a stain, due to its solid-wood-like grain and finish.

Screws anchor better in plywood.

Because it’s soft, MDF doesn’t anchor screws very well. So if your project involves many screws or nails, plywood may be the better choice. However, if you’ll be screwing or nailing fasteners into the edge of the wood, be aware that plywood is more prone to splintering or splitting at the edges than MDF is.

Plywood is the best choice for outdoor projects.

If you’re constructing furniture for your yard or planning any type of outdoor project, plywood is the better choice. MDF tends to soak up water far more easily than plywood, then warps and swells once wet. While water can eventually damage plywood, in general, you’ll find that plywood holds up quite well outdoors.

Both plywood and MDF tend to emit VOCs and formaldehyde.

Both materials off-gas formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are lung and nervous system irritants. Formaldehyde-free plywood is available, however, although it’s more expensive than regular plywood. Painting, priming, sealing, or staining the MDF or plywood does help reduce the problem, but will not entirely eliminate it.

The bottom line: The type of project will guide your decision, MDF vs. plywood.

Plywood and MDF are useful materials for many DIY projects around the home. As a general rule, however, MDF is the better choice for indoor furniture or decorative use, especially if you want to cut intricately carved trim or designs, and plan on painting the finished project. Plywood is excellent for outdoor use, for framing walls or building floors, for crafting kitchen or bathroom cabinets, and for projects that require a curve.

Thriving UK forestry market increases demand for farmland

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Forest owners continue to get impressive financial returns as they have done for the past decade and so the demand for still more low value unproductive farmland to plant up with trees continues. There was yet another high-performing successful year in the sector in 2017    

A latest UK report ‘Forestry Spotlight’ shows forest owners have seen average annual returns of 8% over the decade since the financial crash. The appeal to plant up land with trees is showing no sign of waning, mainly because it is perceived to be a straightforward, long-term and low-risk asset.

Reports Farmers Weekly magazine, “Favourable tax treatment used to be a significant driver too, but an increasing demand for wood – led by the construction and renewable energy sectors – has left foresters scrambling for land to secure long-term supply.

Unproductive and marginal farmland is one option. But in England and Wales particularly, buyers are hitting barriers. High average land values are a big hurdle to overcome, as are environmental constraints placed on designated land that would otherwise suit tree planting.”

James Adamson, Savills’ head of forestry investment, says: “In Scotland there is a strong demand for land for planting trees and we’re getting close to hitting our national annual tree planting target of 24,700 acres. In England we have had the best year for tree planting for a while but the real issue in England and Wales is the land value gap.”

He says the average value of low-quality grazing land in England suitable for planting is about £5,000/acre. “I have just completed a deal in Scotland for 1,000 acres at £600/acre to plant trees on. The land successfully planted with trees in Scotland last year was all under £2,000/acre. Even with the best political will in the world, unless one of these barriers is removed from the market, it’s going to be difficult to plant trees and meet targets in England and Wales.”

Mike Tustin, partner at John Clegg & Co, says landowners who are considering selling poor farmland could seek permission to plant trees to entice forestry buyers. He says there are very few farms available with planting permission secured,

It’s a struggle to find land for forestry investors because £3,000 to £4000/acre is a lot of money to pay when you can’t be certain you’re going to be able to plant trees on the land.

However, if the same land has permission already granted, you are removing all that risk and you would be exposing the sale to an overheated market where millions of pounds are waiting to be invested.”

Mr Tustin says unproductive or wet grassland farms of more than 100 acres are typically well-suited to tree planting. Houses and buildings attached to the sale are not usually a problem for forestry buyers, who will dispose of them separately.

A straightforward application to plant trees can cost as little as £2,000 and be completed in a matter of months. However, a more complicated process can see costs spiral to more than £20,000 and if an environmental impact assessment is required the process can take years, Mr Tustin says.

Woodland Creation Planning Grants are available from the Forestry Commission to cover the costs of successful applications, capped at £30,000.

Wood Wool – have you heard of it before?

In Blog by Trevor


Have you ever heard of a product called Wood Wool?  – It is a versatile, environmentally-aware product that is making its mark it seems in the world of home interior design!

The website reports that Wood Wool, also referred to as ‘Excelsior’ in North America, is in fact soft wood shavings that are bound together by water and cement. This creates a highly versatile material that can be found in packaging, cushioning, insulation, and can even be used stuffing teddy bears.

Wood wool apparently also has a wide variety of features, that make it ideal for also layering walls. Its natural and eco-friendly, and has a low emission footprint. 

A company called ‘Form Us With Love’ has used Wood Wool and produced a range of designer 3D tiles  – and the word is that these tiles apparently do indeed have a great interior décor effect.

The Form Us With Love business, teamed up with the only Swedish manufacturer of wood wool, Traullit, to created an eye-catching, unique hexagonal tile for the design firm Baux.

Available in an absolute variety of colors, the Baux tiles – we are told – make for beautiful visual patterns on walls – as above. Aside from that they regulate moisture as well as temperature, resisting termites and other vermin, and are known to be fireproof/flame-retardant, thanks to a specialized paint coating.

Made from a product that one would normally perceive as waste, Baux employs the Wood Wool in a manner that elevates the aesthetic of a property interior decor, making it a great tool for designers.

There you go – now you know – that’s Wood Wool for you! If you like the idea of your own Wood Wool tiles Click Here to Place an Order

Click here to for more on Form Us With Love and Design firm Baux

Wood Wool – a new designer wall material …apparently!

In Blog by Trevor

Do you know what Wood Wool is? It is we are informed by a product that is apparently making its mark on the designer home interiors front 

Wood Wool, also referred to as ‘Excelsior’ in North America, is a product of soft wood shavings that are bound together by water and cement, creating a highly versatile material that can be found in packaging, cushioning, insulation, and can even be used stuffing teddy bears! 

Wood wool apparently also has a wide variety of features that make it ideal for also layering walls with. It’s natural, eco-friendly, and has a low emission footprint. Aside from that in certain formats it have great sound dampening qualities and can regulate moisture as well as temperature. As a product it resists termites and other vermin, and with a specialized paint coating applied can be fireproof and flame-retardant too.

A company called Form Us With Love (well it’s different!) has used Wood Wool to produce a series of designer 3D tiles  – and the word is that these tiles apparently create a unique and stylish very ‘now’ interior décor effect.

The Form Us With Love business teamed up with the only Swedish manufacturer of wood wool, Traullit, to create an eye-catching unique hexagonal tile for the design firm Baux.

Available in an absolute variety of colors, the Baux tiles – we are told – make for beautiful visual patterns and effects on walls. Made from a product that one would normally perceive as waste, Baux employs the wood shavings and wood wool to produce a tile which aims to elevate the aesthetic of a household.

These tiles say Baux are  a great ‘tool’ for designers keen to decorate with originality and style – and with an eye to a building’s carbon footprint too! There you go – now you know – that’s Wood Wool for you!

If you like the idea of your own Wood Wool tiles Click Here to Place an OrderClick here to see Form Us With Love and Design firm Baux


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Out with the old !

In Blog, Nicks Timber Information by Nicks Timber

In with the new at Nicks Timber

As part of the ‘Back to Black’ change of image at Nicks we are starting to put up our new signage New Hi-AB wagon due at the end of the month !

We won’t know ourselves what with the new black uniforms as well !! 😊 . Nicks Timber continues to invest in the future








Young Ryan’s ‘designs’ on a towering wooden skyscraper in Cardiff one day!

In Blog by Trevor

There’s news of a possible unique Timber Tower in the future quite close to us here at Nicks Timber, in the Welsh capital of Cardiff.

Aspiring architect Ryan Gormley thinks wooden towers could be built in the city in the next decade. He says that Cardiff’s skyline could be transformed with wooden skyscrapers that breathe in pollution over the next decade.

Ryan has designed a 25-story skyscraper which comes with office space, residential apartments and scenic gardens – but it is made entirely using Welsh timber.

The 24-year-old from Newport works for Foster and Partners – the company behind the iconic Gherkin in London – and came up with the futuristic design while studying architecture at Cardiff University .

It’s not a relatively new concept, but it’s never been done on this scale before,” adds Ryan.

Over the past 50 years large areas of woodland in Wales have become infected with diseases, meaning thousands of trees will be chopped down by 2020.

Ryan hopes his innovative design could put the timber to good use while also reducing pollution in the city. I came up with the idea while in my fifth year at university. I wanted to look at how we could use this wood and create more sustainable designs.”

The Urban Lung is a bio-climatic tower that would be capable of absorbing carbon and other pollution. The designer says using timber would be more sustainable than other materials such as concrete or steel.

Says Ryan, “I know a lot of people would be thinking about fire risks and health and safety, especially after what happened with Grenfell Tower. But using timber can actually be safer. When steel heats up, it melts almost straight away but with timber you can easily work out how long it would take for the fire to spread. We also don’t know how long we will be able to continue using concrete for.”

Ryan, who finished his master’s degree in architecture last year, received an honourable mention in the 2018 eVolo Skyscraper competition, which saw more than 500 designs submitted by architects across the globe

But Ryan thinks it’s more realistic that timber skyscrapers would be built in Cardiff in the coming years.

Timber is already being used to construct buildings in parts of London and in other countries, but they’re only two or three stories high.I think we could start seeing them being built in Cardiff and around the globe in the next 10 or 20 years.”

Forests themed photo contest launches

In Blog by Trevor


Following on from the successful 2017 competition, PEFC UK and PEFC Ireland have launched the 2018 photographic competition with the theme of Forests, our Home, Workplace and Playground.

As the CTI explains, the contest – to close on World Environment Day on 5th June – aims to highlight the importance of caring for our forests and why sustainable forest management and certification are such important element of this.

The PEFC is looking for exciting and inspiring images showing how people use the forests for a range of key reasons – from commercial purposes to relaxation as well as examples of how wildlife including birds, animals and insects rely on them for food and shelter.

There are three national cash prizes to be won and the winners will be announced by the end of June. The winning photos will then be entered into an international competition to find a worldwide winner and the chance to win a further special prize. 

Entrants are invited to submit their photographs through Instagram using the hashtag #forestplaywork. Further details and terms and conditions can be found at

About PEFC

PEFC, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, is the world’s leading forest certification system. We were founded by small- and family forest owners to demonstrate excellence in sustainable forest management.

More than 300 million hectares of forests are certified to our internationally recognized Sustainability Benchmarks. Certification ensures that forests are managed responsibly, and enables all of us to make responsible choices when buying wood- and forest-based products.

In fact, you might already have seen us – next time you are in the supermarket, shopping for furniture or reading a magazine, check if you can see our PEFC logo! Thanks to this logo, you know that it comes from a sustainably managed forest that will be around for generations to come.

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After 162 years we had our first ever noise complaint

In Blog, Nicks Timber Information by Nicks Timber

After 162 years and for the last 15 years with houses being built on the other side of the canal we had our FIRST EVER noise complaint from a single recently moved in individual who lives several hundred yards up stream from us , as have a number of other businesses on this INDUSTRIAL side of the canal . We are 2db above the background noise at his address ? Result a lot of money to be spent to satisfy the needs of one when the houses directly opposite continue to have no issue ? So my thanks to Air plants for servicing the extraction and fitting new bits to bring the drone down , now we start to build it in so it is totally encased and then hope the individual is pacified ? The seagull that came and landed on the top clearly thinks it’s quiet enough 😊