25 Feb 2022

Advice on quality hardwoods for woodland owners

New guidance from the Association of Scottish Hardwood Sawmillers (ASHS) gives woodland owners advice on how to make best use of quality hardwoods that have been brought down in the recent storms.

Much of the hardwood, many of which will have been growing for hundreds of years, will provide small scale businesses with a valuable and beautiful resource.

To make the best use of the fallen hardwood, woodland owners need to recover it and store it in a way that preserves the hardwood for future use.

If stored correctly, good quality hardwoods such as Oak, Elm, Beech, Ash and Sycamore will be useable in the future.  

Jim Birley runs hardwood sawmilling company Scottish Wood and is a member of the Association of Scottish Hardwood Sawmillers (ASHS). He said:

"Thousands of our broad leaved trees have been lost across Scotland as a result of recent exceptional storm damage. Many of these were massive “heritage” trees that have been growing across the landscape for hundreds of years.

“Whilst it is devastating to see them down, these trees can yield beautiful hardwood timber and be preserved for another millennia in the form of fine furniture and other quality wooden products.

“ASHS has produced a very useful guide for woodland owners who may not be familiar with the quality hardwood sector. It gives guidance on how best to save these trees so that they can be put to good use by small local businesses.”

The new guide covers issues such as identifying which hardwoods are most marketable, picking the best quality wood, storing the hardwoods and where to get help and advice on marketing them.

ASHS also produce further technical guidance on their website including grading, sawing, seasoning and selling of hardwood timber.

Welcoming the new guide, Scottish Forestry’s forest industries advisor, Ros Wardman added:

“The storms, especially Storm Arwen, have been ferocious events. Their effects have reached many parts of Scotland. The aftermath has left many woodlands devastated and this is very upsetting to see.

“The hardwood industry can use quality timber for their work so if owners follow the guidance it may still be possible to sell storm damaged trees for a good price. I’m pleased to see ASHS taking a proactive role in providing guidance and practical advice to help support this important part of the forest industries.”

Expert woodworkers from the Scottish Furniture Makers Association will take advantage from the fallen hardwoods by making stunning bespoke furniture and other beautiful wooden objects.